The Hunting Ground (a J!-ENT DVD Review)

November 27, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 


Kirby Dick’s “The Hunting Ground” is an eye-opening documentary with a heartbreaking, infuriating and yet powerful message that you will not forget.  Highly recommended!

© 2015 Star Media LLC. All Rights Reserved.

TITLE: The Hunting Ground


DURATION: 104 Minutes

DVD INFORMATION: Anamorphic Widescreen Presentation 1:78:1, 5.1 Dolby Digital, Subtitles: English SDH and Spanish



Released Dated: December 1, 2015

Directed by Kirby Dick

Written by Kirby Dick

Produced by Amy Ziering

Co-Producer: Nicole Ehrlich, Bonnie Greenberg

Executive Produced: Amy Blavin, Paul Blavin, Nicole Boxer, Dan Cogan, Robert A. Compton, Maria Cuomo Cole, Ted Dintersmith, Barbara Dobkin, Geralyn White Dreyfous, Amy Entelis, Barbara Gerson, Mark Gerson, Ruth Ann Harnisch, Elizabeth Hazard, Jason Janego, Sarah E. Johnson, Julie Lepinard, Sebastien Lepinard, Vinnie Malhotra, Sukey Novogratz, Anne O’Shea, Brian Quattrini, Tom Quinn, Wendy Schmidt, Regina Kulik Scully, Jennifer Siebel Newsom, Julie Smolyansky, Jacki Zehner

Associate Producer: Audrey Logan, Ian J. Rose, Chao Thao

Music by Miriam Cutler

Cinematographer: Aaron Kopp, Thaddeus Wadleigh

Edited by Douglas Blush, Derek Boonstra, Kim Roberts


Kirby Dick – Interviewer

Amy Ziering – Interviewer

Amy Herdy – Interviewer

From the makers of The Invisible War comes a startling expose of sexual assault crimes on U.S. college campuses, their institutional cover-ups and the devastating toll they take on students and their families. Weaving together verite footage and first person testimonies, the film follows the lives of several undergraduate assault survivors as they attempt to pursue – despite incredible push back, harassment and traumatic aftermath – both their education and justice.

Imagine as a parent, your daughter or son are accepted to a university that they have dreamed of attending.

Imagine as a new student, so excited about college life, making new friends, having new experiences.

But an instant, a life is shattered when that student is victimized and raped.  But not only facing the shame of being a victim, but to be victimized the college institution who try to brush away anything that relates to the rape.  And for those who try to speak out, they are treated poorly, unfairly by not just the college but also other students who send death threats or harassing messages.

The cover-ups are real and it’s a problem in America at a good number of U.S. college campuses.

These victims never had a voice until these victims joined together, worked together in making sure their voices were heard.

“The Hunting Ground” is a documentary written and directed by Kirby Dick and focuses on victims such as Andrea Pino, Annie E. Clark, two former University of North Carolina students who were raped while enrolled in school.  Victims who came across many other victims and led a campaign to file a Title IX complaint against the college but then took their mission to be the voice of many victims.

The documentary features interviews with victims of rape, interviews with the parents who talk about the anguish their children had lived through and unfortunately, the anguish that have led to others committing suicide.  Interviews with law enforce and even those who worked high level in the institution who tried to fight for women’s rights and found themselves out of a job.

“The Hunting Ground” is one of the most infuriating, heartbreaking documentaries of victims and survivors of college campus rape and how these survivors came together for justice.


“The Hunting Ground” is featured in Anamorphic widescreen (1:78:1) and in Dolby Digital 5.1. The film was shot digitally and picture quality is good, dialogue is crystal clear.

Subtitles are in English SDH.


“The Hunting Ground” comes with Other Stories with Sofie Karasek of UC Berkely and Susan Struble of Dartmouth (7:07) and “Annie & Andrew Answer Questions About Assault” (19:20).


Comes with a slipcover.

“The Hunting Ground” is one of the most shocking, infuriating and heartbreaking documentaries I have watched all year.

But it’s a documentary that also shows a glimmer of hope as victims unite to make sure their voices are heard and that the college institutions they attend, or have attended hear them loud and clear instead of covering up their stories in the name of financial/economic means and also to protect their star athletes.

Director and writer Kirby Dick did an amazing job in making sure the film becomes the voice of many women who were raped on campus and had no voice, as a few college institutions questioned these victims as they were responsible for the rape.

And to make things worse, when these women who were victims try to speak out, their own fellow students turn their back on them, some going as far as sending harassing e-mails or text to death threats.

But you see and hear the anguish from these women, a few who are trying to move on with their lives but a few you can see, who were broken and hurt, because their college did nothing to protect them.

What is even more interesting are the facts of how many female students are victimized on campus, also knowing that men are also victimized on campus.  How the rapes are perpetrated by people they know.  And some schools who go as far as expelling a student after they graduated.  Some who also let those who were expelled, bring the perpetrator back into their college to avoid a law suit.

I was deeply angered by the lack of action of various universities.  I am sickened to see how some of these people leading are schools are doing all they can to protect the school and not protecting those who were raped or victimized?  I am disappointed that many women including men, have suffered through the inaction of the system.

Also, interviews with law enforcement shows the problems they have when going up against a university and some schools that have a rule for campus police that they are not allowed to interview athletes, athletic coaches and staff and I’m just in awe of how people reacted.

You can’t help but feel heartbroken and angry by this documentary.  And despite all these unfortunate and devastating situations, there is a silver lining in that these brave individuals, these victims of the rape and institution inaction, have come together and led a campaign to file a Title IX complain against various universities.

Those who were in college administrative staff at the time, standing up for those who were victimized, but were let go from their job (and as the universities would say, “not for retaliation”).

But to play devil’s advocate, you only hear from one person who was convicted of rape.  Those who were accused, do not speak on camera of why they did what they did.  But the documentary does show that as many reports of actual rape, there are also just as many false reports.

I have read Slate writer Emily Yoffe’s article on one of the victims featured in the documentary and showcasing the other side of the man who was accused and then why his expulsion was dropped.  I have also read the Washington Examiner’s article by Byron York, who also picked holes within the documentary and its victims.  And possibly one of the biggest parts of the film revolves around Erica Kinsman’s story of how she was raped by then star Florida Seminoles QB and I have read the article by National Review writer Stuart Taylor, Jr. showing the other side not shown in the documentary.

While there are two sides of every story, I believe there is a problem nationwide of institutional cover ups of campus rapes and director Kirby Dick also shows not just from the victim, but also law enforcement to those who worked for a college institution discussing the problems that exist as well.

But Kirby Dick has made a documentary with a powerful message.  His way of structuring the film and building upon case after case, but most importantly, have these brave women, brave men who were victims and also the parents of these victims giving their words, sharing their anguish and educating the viewer of what is happening in today’s college campuses.

This is an amazing documentary with a powerful message and all parents of students going to college, should really sit down and watch this film with their kids.

Kirby Dick’s “The Hunting Ground” is an eye-opening documentary with a heartbreaking, infuriating and yet powerful message that you will not forget.  Highly recommended!


Sailor Moon R: Season 2 – Set One (A J!-ENT Anime on DVD Review)

November 21, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 


For those who are new to the “Sailor Moon R” animated series and never owned the DVD releases before, then I can easily recommend “Sailor Moon R” (moreso for the Blu-ray version than the DVD release for the better picture and audio quality). A classic anime series that continues the sailor soldiers battle against evil and a new person that comes into Usagi’s life, definitely give “Sailor Moon R: Season Two – Set One” a chance!

Image courtesy of © Naoko Takeuchi/PNP, Toei Animation Film. All Rights Reserved.

DVD TITLE: Sailor Moon R: Season 2 – Set One


DURATION: (Episodes 47-68) 530 Minutes

DVD INFORMATION: 16:9, English and Japanese 5.1 Dolby Surround Sound, English subtitles

COMPANY: Viz Media


Release Date: July 14, 2015

Originally created by Naoko Takeuchi

Director: Junichi Sato, Kunihiko Ikuhara

Script by Katsuyuki Sumisawa, Megumi Sugihara, Shigeru Yanagawa, Sukehiro Tomita

Storyboard by Junichi Sato

Music by Kazuo Satou, Takanori Arisawa, Tetsuya Komoro

Character Design by Kazuko Tadano

Art Director: Junichi Tanijuchi

Art Design by Tadao Kubota, Takamura Mukuo

Produced by Iriya Azuma, Kenji Oota, Munehisa Higuchi

Voiced by:

Aya Hisakawa/Kate Higgins as Ami Mizuno/Sailor Mercury

Emi Shinohara/Amanda C. Miller as Makoto Kino/Sailor Jupiter

Kotono Mitsuishi/Stephanie Sheh as Princess Serenity/Usagi Tsukino/Sailor Moon

Michie Tomizawa/Cristina Vee as Rei Hino/Sailor Mars

Rica Fukami/Cherami Leigh as Minako Aino/Sailor Venus

Keiko Han/Michelle Ruff as Luna

Mika Doi as Queen Serenity

Tohru Furuya/Robbie Daymond as Mamoru Chiba/Tuxedo Kamen/Prince Endymion

Yasuhiro Takato/Johnny Yong Bosch as Artemis

After their epic battle, the Sailor Guardians are called back to action when some new and a powerful enemies appear! Ail and An are alien siblings bound to the mysterious energy-devouring Makai Tree. And the Black Moon Clan, led by Prince Demande, has the power to destroy all of future Crystal Tokyo! Things get complicated when a mysterious pink-haired girl falls from the sky, demands the Legendary Silver Crystal, and claims Mamoru for her own! Could there also be a new Sailor Guardian?

The second season of “Sailor Moon” has arrived on Blu-ray (and DVD) and is titled “Sailor Moon R”.

After the battle with the Dark Kingdom, Usagi and the Sailor Soldiers are back to their normal selves with no recollection of each other and memories forgotten.  But when a new evil appears in the form of Ail and Ann, Usagi and her friends must come together once again to face off against the new evil that has come to fight them.

Meanwhile, what happens when Usagi confront the Moonlight Knight?  And also, who is this small girl with bright pink that has fallen from the sky and has moved into the home of Usagi?

Find out in “Sailor Moon R: Season 2 – Set One” now available on Blu-ray and DVD.

What is “Sailor Moon”?

Considered as one of the most successful anime franchise in Japan, “Bishojo Senshi Sailor Moon” was a manga and anime series that captivated fans worldwide.

Created by mangaka Naoko Takeuchi, the manga was serialized in Nakayoshi from 1991-1997, received 18 tankobon volumes and ran for 200 episodes on TV Asahi from 1992-1997.  Even receiving an English dubbed adaptation during the mid-90s.

The series would spawn three animated films, musicals, video games, toys, clothing and more!  And to this day, the popularity of “Sailor Moon” continues with a new generation of fans.

With a new series titled “Sailor Moon Crystal” released in Japan and licensed for streaming in the USA by Viz Media on Hulu and Neon Alley in 2014, to make sure voice acting is consistent in the new series, the original series was redubbed in English by the current cast.

And to help promote the new series, Viz Media has released the original first 23 episodes of season one on Blu-ray!

The series revolves around  a Juban Middle School teenager named Usagi Tsukino.  A girl who is not too smart, often seen crying and loves eating.  One day, she encounters a black cat with a crescent-shaped symbol on its forehead.  Meanwhile, there is talk around town of a masked vigilante named Sailor V stopping criminals and becoming popular thanks to the media exposure.

But one day, as she comes into contact with the black cat, the cat begins to talk and introduce herself as Luna.  Luna gives Usagi a brooch which allows her to transform into Sailor Moon, whenever she is in danger.

And as Usagi starts to meet other Sailor Soldiers such as the studious and intelligent Ami Mizuno (Sailor Mercury), the Shinto priestess Rei Hino (Sailor Mars), the strong and tall Makoto Kino (Sailor Jupiter) and the singer Minako Aino (Sailor Venus) along with the mysterious Tuxedo Mask, together they fight any evil that comes their way.

In the second season titled “Sailor Moon R”, a new evil has come to shake things up with the Sailor Soldiers.  Meanwhile, who is the mysterious young girl with pink hair that has fallen from the sky?

The main characters of “Sailor Moon R: Season Two – Set One″ are:

  • Sailor Moon/Usagi Tsukino – The main protagonist. A teenager attending Juban Middle School who is clumsy, not-too-smart, often crying and often hungry.  But she is a person that has a lot of love, compassion and understanding towards people and animals.  She can transform into Sailor Moon, a soldier of love and justice.
  • Tuxedo Mask/Mamoru Chiba – A student at Usagi’s school, he often teases her and drives her mad.  He is a mysterious persona known as Tuxedo Mask and often aids Sailor Moon and the other Sailor senshi.
  • Sailor Mercury/Ami Mizuno –Very intelligent and always studying.  Ami can transform into Sailor Mercury, Soldier of Water and Wisdom.  Appears in episode 8.
  • Sailor Mars/Rei Hino – Rei is a miko (shrine maiden) and works as a Shinto priestess.  She has the power of precognition and uses Shinto scrolls to nullify evil.  Sailor Moon is the Soldier of Fire and Passion.  She is often arguing with Usagi.  Appears in episode 10.
  • Sailor Venus/Minako Aino – A Sailor Soldier known as Sailor V.  She dreams of becoming a famous singer and idol.  Similar to Usagi who has Luna, Minako has a white cat named Artemis.
  • Luna – A black cat in Earth form and companion to Usagi. A former advisor and servant to Queen Serenity, she was sent to Earth to look after the Sailor Soldiers.  She is often giving Usagi advice.
  • Artemis – A white cat in Earth form and companion to Minako.  He cares deeply for Luna.
  • Chibiusa – The future daughter of Neo-Queen Serenity and King Endymion in the 30th century.



It’s important to note that if you want better picture quality, you will definitely want to watch this series on Blu-ray for better picture quality.

As for the DVD release, “Sailor Moon” is presented in its original size ratio of 4:3 standard definition.  It’s important to note that “Sailor Moon” did not receive the same expensive remastering and restoration as “Ranma 1/2” or “Dragon Ball Z”. So, the series does show its age, moreso on DVD.

With that being said, I watched this series when it first came out in Japan and was distributed via Japanese rental video stores via the VHS years and watched the series when it was presented in bad quality video back then and now want to watching the series again, while the series does exhibit its age and wear, it’s probably the best that this series will look.

Subtitles are in English.


There are no special features that came with “Sailor Moon R: Season 2 – Set One”.


“Sailor Moon R: Season 2 – Set One” comes with a slipcover.

During my college years, I was a fan of the “Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon” series.  I watched the original series in Japanese at the time and along with “Dragon Ball Z” and “Dragon Ball GT”, it was one of the few anime series I was watching from Japan during a time when Japanese video rental stores were everywhere in California.

Watching these episodes in not the greatest quality, may it be in Japanese or English fan subtitled, it didn’t matter as I was able to watch the popular hit anime series in America (as a release of the series on video seemed as it was never going to happen in the early ’90s).

I purchased the anime soundtrack to “Sailor Moon R” at the time.  Attended the very early anime conventions in America, in which you would see your few Sailor Moon cosplayers during the early ’90s and I can easily remember playing the “Sailor Moon S” fighting game on the 3DO with a few people who have gone on to be big names in the anime industry and then purchasing “Sailor Moon Super S” for nearly a hundred bucks on PlayStation.

And of course, remembering the U.S. English dub release of “Sailor Moon”.  Reading the Sailor Moon manga series from the old Mixx Zine years and purchasing the Japanese soundtracks of “Sailor Moon”.

So, in some ways, I can easily say that watching “Sailor Moon” was part of young life and possibly my first foray into watching an anime series that featured a cast primarily of strong female characters.

While “Sailor Moon S” will always be my favorite series of all “Sailor Moon” series for its more darker tone, I did enjoy the first season for its lighthearted humor and like all character-building seasons and with the release of “Sailor Moon R” from Viz Media on Blu-ray and DVD, I can say that I enjoyed the series primarily as it focuses on the mysterious girl from the future, Chibiusa.

While I don’t want to get too technical with the series until the second set for “Sailor  Moon R” is released, because I don’t wan to spoil anyone who hasn’t watched the series just yet.  But it’s an interesting take on time trial and how Chibiusa handles herself around Usagi and Mamoru.

With that being said, the series retains its consistency with the first season as the Sailor Soldiers take on various forms of evil in each episode.  The humor and style of the series is carried over from the first season, but the series takes an interesting direction as Mamoru now knows who Usagi is and the two become closer, while a small girl from the future definitely changes Usagi’s life for good.

As for the DVD release, as mentioned, if you want the better quality of the series, the Blu-ray release is the way to go.  But as for the DVD, the series looks good on DVD but the age of the series does show.  The series did not receive the same expensive restoration and remastering as “Ranma 1/2” or “Dragon Ball Z”, so if you owned the older DVD’s, there is no reason to upgrade to this DVD (unless you prefer the newer English voice dub), while I do recommend upgrading to Blu-ray, especially as the Viz Media releases contain more episodes (and are much cheaper than the older DVD releases).

Unfortunately, there are no special features included on this set as well.

Overall, for those who are new to the “Sailor Moon R” animated series and never owned the DVD releases before, then I can easily recommend “Sailor Moon R” (moreso for the Blu-ray version than the DVD release for the better picture and audio quality).  A classic anime series that continues the sailor soldiers battle against evil and a new person that comes into Usagi’s life, definitely give “Sailor Moon R: Season Two – Set One” a chance!


Dragon Ball Z: Resurrection ‘F’ (a J!-ENT Anime on DVD Review)

November 21, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 


“Dragon Ball Z: Resurrection ‘f'” manages to maintain the “Dragon Ball Z” animated film via popcorn action consistency. With a story focused on all-out action and the usual comedy, featuring the return of the Z Warriors taking on a more powerful Frieza, “Dragon Ball Z” fans will be no doubt be excited for this animated film! If you are a DBZ fan, “Dragon Ball Z: Resurrection ‘f'” is recommended!

Image courtesy of © BIRD STUDIO/SHUEISHA, 2015 Dragon Ball Z the movie production committee. All Rights Reserved.

DVD TITLE: Dragon Ball Z: Resurrection ‘F’

DURATION: 95 Minutes

DVD INFORMATION: 16:9, English and Japanese 5.1 Dolby Surround Sound, English subtitles



Release Date: October 20, 2015

Original Creator/Character Design by Akira Toriyama

Directed by Tadashi Yamamuro

Screenplay by Akira Toriyama 

Chief Animation Director: Tadayoshi Yamamuro

Music by Norihito Sumitomo

Art Direction by Shinzo Yuki

Anime Production by TOEI ANIMATION

Voice by:

Masako Nozawa/Sean Schemmel as Son Goku

Ryusei Nakao/Chris Ayres as Frieza

Hikaru Midorikawa/John Burgmeier as Ten Shin Han

Hiromi Tsuru/Monica Rial as Bulma

Kouichi Yamadera/Jason Douglas as Beerus

Masaharu Satou/Mike McFarland as Kame-Sen’nin/Master Roshi

Masakazu Morita/Ian Sinclair as Whis

Masako Nozawa/Kyle Hebert as Son Gohan

Mayumi Tanaka/Sonny Strait as Krillin

Natsuki Hanae/Todd Haberkorn as Jaco

Ryo Horikawa/Christopher R. Sabat as Vegeta

Shiro Saito/Jeremy Schwartz as Sorbet

Toshio Furukawa/Chris Sabat as Piccolo

Dragon Ball Z: Resurrection ‘F’ is the second Dragon Ball film personally supervised by the series creator Akira Toriyama, following Battle of Gods. The new movie showcases the return of Frieza – one of the anime world’s greatest villains. Frieza has been resurrected and plans to take his revenge on the Z-Fighters of Earth. Goku and Vegeta must reach new levels of power in order to protect Earth from their vengeful nemesis.

As the worldwide popularity of “Dragon Ball Z” continues, a 15th film was released in 2015 titled “Dragon Ball Z: Fukkatsu no F” (“Dragon Ball Z: Resurrection “F”).

The animated film did very well in Japan as it took #1 in the Japanese box office earning over $8.1 million (US) and also did very well internationally.  In the US, the film was the first Japanese film to be screened in IMAX 3D and was also screened in Japan at ten 4DX theaters.  The $5 million animated film went on to gross over $62.8 million in the box office making it a major box office success in 2015.

And the film was released on Blu-ray and DVD courtesy of FUNimation.

The film begins with Frieza’s army featuring Commander Sorbet knowing how bad things are without their leader.  But with their Intel which shows that Bulma was not the only human that has the technology to find Dragon Balls, Commander Sorbet and his crew go to Earth in hopes of reviving Frieza by finding Pulaf, Mai and Shu who are in the process of collecting Dragon Balls.

As Sorbet uses the Dragon Ball to revive Frieza, Frieza is briefed on how powerful Son Goku has become, even beating Majin Boo, that he will trained to become even more powerful and will exact his revenge.

As news has traveled throughout space, Jaco the Galactic Patrolman travels to Earth to warn Bulma that Frieza has returned.  But Goku and Vegeta are gone and are training on Beerus’ planet with Whis.  Which leaves Gohan, Piccolo, Krillin, Master Roshi, Tien Shinhan and Jaco to take on Frieza and his soldiers.

As the Z Warriors are not powerful enough to take on Frieza, Bulma sends a distress message to Goku and Vegeta, but are both men ready to take on this newly trained Frieza?


It’s important to note that if you want the best video and audio quality of “Dragon Ball Z: Resurrection ‘f'”, the Blu-ray is the way to go.  As for the DVD, picture quality is very good (as the best it can get on DVD).  Colors are vibrant, the English and Japanese 5.1 Dolby Digital soundtrack features crisp and clear dialogue and music, while there are good use of the surround channels on both soundtracks.

Subtitles are in English.


There are no special features that came with “Dragon Ball Z: Resurrection ‘f'”.

I happened to be in Japan during the promotion of “Dragon Ball Z: Resurrection ‘f'” and there was no doubt, a lot of excitement for the movie.  The battle between Goku and Frieza was one of the biggest anime battles of all time and while there have been many battles showcased on the “Dragon Ball Z” anime series.

I watched the Goku vs. Frieza arc when it first was broadcasted in Japan and was also reading the Japanese “Shonen Jump”, so I was really into these characters and storyline at that time.

So, I have to say that when I found out that Frieza was being revived, while it does make sense, part of me was hoping that the storyline of Frieza’s death would be left alone.  As we saw how the storyline in relation to Frieza was played out with his older brother Cooler, for the fifth and sixth movies, there was part of me that wanted to see the Frieza storyline to be left in the past and new villains to be focused on from here on in.

With “Dragon Ball Z: Resurrection ‘f'”, Frieza has been revived and after hearing of how Goku has gotten popular, Frieza decides to train for the first time in his life and has now become even stronger and can achieve “Golden Frieza” mode.  And now, a more powerful Goku and Vegeta must take on an even more powerful Frieza, but can they do it?

As a “Dragon Ball” fan, one of the positives of this latest film is to see all Z Warriors making their appearance but one of the biggest surprises for me was to see the Galactic Patrolman, JACO in the film.  Having read Akira Toriyama’s JACO one-shot manga (as the manga series shows a relation to Bulma’s family, moreso with her older sister, Tights), it was wonderful to finally seeing this character animated and utilized in a “Dragon Ball Z” film.

But of course, when you have a story that focuses on Frieza, one can expect an intense battle and for the most part, the storyline doesn’t disappoint when it comes to action.  But part of the excitement in the past, is that Goku and friends are often pushed to the extreme because the situation is quite dire and we see an intense buildup with many episodes in order to have the ultimate battle between Goku and an antagonist.  With a film, there is no true buildup, it’s just a fight and then it’s all over in 95 minutes.

Not to say that it’s bad without the buildup but that’s what made the battles between Goku vs. Piccolo, Vegeta, Frieza, Cell, Majin Boo so exciting! Otherwise, the animated “Dragon Ball Z” films are often quick, popcorn action animated films and are not as satisfying as its TV series counterpart.

When it comes to DBZ animated films, my barometer of best story is the fifth film, “Dragon Ball Z: Broly – The Legendary Super Saiyan” and have felt the Broly-related DBZ films were so much fun to watch, as didn’t feel rushed.

With “Dragon Ball Z: Resurrection ‘F'”, the animated film tries to incorporate so many characters and this ongoing bickering between Goku and Vegeta was a bit much.  Nevertheless, I did enjoy the animated film and really, to have Frieza as the main antagonist for a DBZ film is huge.  So, I had no doubt in my mind that with the resurrection of Frieza, Toei Animation were no doubt wanting to go big with an international release.  And for the most part, it paid off as the film did remarkably well in box offices worldwide.

As for the DVD, as mentioned, you will definitely want to go with the Blu-ray release if you want the best video and audio quality.  But on DVD, picture quality is good as it can get on DVD.  Colors are vibrant and the voice acting for both Japanese and English soundtracks are well-done!  The only drag about this DVD release is the lack of special features (aside from FUnimation trailers).

Overall, “Dragon Ball Z: Resurrection ‘f'” manages to maintain the “Dragon Ball Z” animated film via popcorn action consistency.  With a story focused on all-out action and the usual comedy, featuring the return of the Z Warriors taking on a more powerful Frieza, “Dragon Ball Z” fans will be no doubt be excited for this animated film!

If you are a DBZ fan, “Dragon Ball Z: Resurrection ‘f'” is recommended!


A LEGO Brickumentary (a J!-ENT DVD Review)

November 1, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 


“A LEGO Brickumentary” is captivating, inspiring and an enjoyable documentary!  Highly recommended for fans of LEGO of all ages!

© 2015 The LEGO Group. All Rights Reserved.

TITLE: A Lego Brickumentary


DURATION: 93 Minutes

DVD INFORMATION: Anamorphic Widescreen Presentation 1:78:1, 5.1 Dolby Digital, Subtitles: English SDH and Spanish


COMPANY: Anchor Bay Entertainment

Released Dated: November 3, 2015

Directed by Kief Davidson, Daniel Judge

Written by Daniel Junge, Davis Coombe, Kief Davidson

Produced by Chris Brown, Daniel Junge, Brendan Kiernan, Justin Moore-Lewy

Executive Produced: Lee Clay, Jim Packer, Jill Wilfert

Co-Producer: Davis Coombe, Chelsea Matter, Molly Tait

Associate Producer: Ryan Egan, Andrew Oppenheimer

Music by John Jennings Boyd

Cinematographer: Luke Geissbuhler, Robert Muratore

Edited by Davis Coombe, Tiffany Hauck, Chad Herschberger, Marc Jakubowicz, Inbal B. Lessner, Darrin Roberts


Jason Bateman (Narrator)

Jamie Berard

Alice Finch

Bret Harris

G.W. Krauss

Dan Legoff

Nathan Sawaya

Brian Whitaker

Since the birth of their trademark toy in 1958, The LEGO Group has produced over 400 billion bricks. But more and more, LEGO bricks aren’t just for kids, and some take them very seriously. Adult Fans of LEGO around the globe are unashamedly declaring their love of the brick, brick artists are creating stunning and surprising creations, and LEGO master builders are building human scale and larger structures. LEGO bricks are being used educationally, therapeutically, and have provided a universal system for human creativity and our innate desire “to build.” This documentary playfully delves into the extraordinary impact of the LEGO brick, its massive global fan base, and the innovative uses for it that has sprung up around the world.

In 2014, a family-friendly Danish-American documentary titled “A LEGO Brickumentary” was released.

Co-directed by Kief Davidson and Daniel Junge and featuring narration by Jason Bateman (“Arrested Development”, “Juno”, “Horrible Bosses”), the documentary focuses on the popular Danish construction toy that took the world by storm and continues to be the hottest toy product released each year with many different sets and how it has captured the imagination of many people, young and old, for generations.

From the introduction of master creators, enormous projects including the X-Wing Fighter (the largest LEGO project built), those who create LEGO films, those who are LEGO artists and have made a career of building LEGO and of course, the history of LEGO, celebrities who are fans of LEGO’s, LEGO terminology and more.


“A Lego Brickumentary” is featured in Anamorphic widescreen (1:78:1) and in Dolby Digital 5.1.  A pretty cool documentary that features both digital video and also animated LEGO characters.  For the most part, the quality is as one can expected on DVD and audio is clear.  While most of the film is in English, there are scenes which feature people from other countries and the film features English subtitles.  But Jason Bateman’s narration is clear and for the most part, picture quality and audio is good for this documentary.

Subtitles are in English SDH and Spanish.


“A Lego Documentary” comes with three deleted scenes (21:07) which include Bro-LUG, Little Guys and Brick Films and X-Treme Team.


Comes with a LEGOLAND Discovery Center (One Child Free) coupon.

“A LEGO Brickumentary” is a captivating, enjoyable, family-friendly documentary that showcases the love for the popular Danish construction toy.

While the documentary is positive and for the most part focuses on the love of LEGO’s versus showing the positive and negative aspects within a documentary, the subject matter will no doubt be subjective to the viewer.

By venturing to other publication reviews, its understandable that there are those who show disdain because the film doesn’t go into the negative aspects.  Perhaps those who have an addiction problem to LEGO’s, corporate corruption or any negative that one can think on top of their heads.

But this is a film targeted to fans who enjoy LEGO, people of all ages and call me biased, but even I am an AFOL (Adult Fan of LEGO) that purchases and builds LEGO for the sake of creativity but also more of needing moments of serenity to get my mind off other things.  And it seems to work rather well as I found LEGO’s to be a good way to focus my energy and creativity and for the most part, have fun.

After seeing music artists, celebrities and athletes like David Beckham, Brad Pitt, Dwight Howard, Ed Sheeran proclaim their love for LEGO’s, it was my passage of telling myself, it’s OK to venture into LEGO’s once again and to discover that the toy line I was so familiar with long ago, has evolved, to not just for children but for adults and to also learn that there are people who made LEGO’s a career, made LEGO’s an artform and also taking their LEGO creativity to another level.

And that is why I was so captivated by director Daniel Junge and Kief Davidson’s “A LEGO Brickumentary”.  Watching children who have grown to become creative talents thanks to LEGO, watching those who are young at heart, go on to make LEGO as a career or to create something so complex and beautiful as works of art. And also professionals who use LEGO for therapy and helping people for treatment.

Suffice to say, I was inspired watching this film.

While I know there are people who want to see the history of LEGO, there are few books on the subject that go into better detail and also what kind of toys or sets were released during the decades, but the directors do not shy away from showcasing LEGO during its good years and also their bad years.  Interviewing employees who discuss why LEGO went through a rough patch nearly a decade ago.

But that is probably the most negative thing you will find in this film, if you can call that a negative, because it was the major reason for LEGO to get back to its basic roots and continue to become the world’s most popular toy among boys, girls, men and women back then and also today.

Sure, I’m sure there are people who will look at this film as a LEGO corporate video, but there are some, including myself, who look at this video as inspirational but also a wonderful film about the global love for this Danish construction toy that has been part of our lives, may it be when we were younger or continued to captivate us even in our adulthood.

As for the DVD, picture quality and audio quality are very good on DVD.  You get 21 minutes worth of deleted scenes and also information on Disney resorts.  And parents will get a one child free ticket for a LEGOLAND Discovery Center.

Overall, “A LEGO Brickumentary” is captivating, inspiring and an enjoyable documentary!  Highly recommended for fans of LEGO of all ages!


Impractical Jokers: The Complete Third Season (a J!-ENT DVD Review)

October 22, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 


If you love awkward hidden camera pranks, the improv comedy troupe the Tenderloins take things to a new level for “Impractical Jokers: The Complete Third Season”.  More episodes and more crazy, embarrassing and daring situations!  Check it out!

Images courtesy of © 2015 Turner Entertainment Networks, Inc. A Time Warner Company. All rights reserved.

DVD TITLE: Impractical Jokers: The Complete Third Season


DURATION: Episodes 46-77 (704 Minutes)

DVD INFORMATION: Color, Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo, English SDH

COMPANY: Warner Home video/tru tv


RELEASE DATE: October 13, 2015

Created and Executive Produced by Joe Gatto, James Murray, Brain Quinn and Sal Vulcano

Directed by P.J. Morrison

Executive Producer: Charlie DeBevoise, David Wechter, Pete DeLasho

Associate Producer: Mark Christopher, Alyssa Lane Carlee

Senior Producer: Jim Pasquarella

Co-Executive Producer: M. Blaine Hopkins

Line Producer: Allison Lane, Heidi H. Hamelin

Supervising Producer: Steve Melcher, Marina Catala, Peter Fowkes, Christine Walters

Produced by Lou Perez


Joe Gatto

James Murray

Brian Quinn

Sal Vulcano


The Impractical Jokers are back and ready to take on bigger, better, and even more outrageous challenges than ever before! Join lifelong friends Sal, Joe, Murr and Q as they compete to embarrass each other in the craziest and most humiliating ways. This season raises the stakes with three times the pressure, three times the awkwardness and three times the laughs. Find out who had the biggest balls of steel and who got the raw end of the deal, on this season of Impractical Jokers!

The live improve comedy troupe known as the Tenderloins are back!

Featuring Joe Gatto, James Murray, Brian Quinn and Sal Vulcano who would be known for their comedy sketches on YouTube and other social media sites, they are now taking things to a new level with their comedy show “Impractical Jokers”.

For those not familiar with the Tenderloins, back in 2007, the four-man comedy group would win a $100,000 grand prize for NBC’s “It’s Your Show” competition.  Not long after, the group began developing a scripted comedy pilot.  By 2011, the group would have a hidden camera comedy show on TruTV titled “Impractical Jokers” and their first season alone was watched by 32 million fans.

In 2015, as a fourth season is about to conclude in October, “Impractical Jokers: The Complete Third Season” will be released on DVD in October 2015.  Featuring a total of 31 episodes (episodes 46-77), the guys take things even further with their pranks.

“Impractical Jokers” is a series in which a member of the Tenderloins must take on a challenge set up the group. With hidden cameras in the vicinity, and a member wearing an ear piece to receive instructions, that member must do what the group members say. If they succeed, they pass but the one with the most failures by the end of the day, must receive some sort of punishment.

For example, in the first episode of the fourth season titled “Lookout Below”, each member must work as bellhops and listen to what their fellow team members ask them to do (if they resist, they lose out in points, and the person with the worst points must do something very embarrassing or daring).   In a second skit, the guys must work as hot dog vendors and offend people coming up to him.  Meanwhile, the guys must present the weirdest inventions during a focus group.  The loser of the first episode must conquer his fear of heights and go skydiving by himself.

Another example is the fourth episode of the fourth season titled “Nationals Disaster” in which a member must cause trouble at a  grocery story, give away a mystery bag and find “The Chosen One” at a food court.   The loser of the episode must pretend to be a gymnast in front of real gymnasts and perform a routine.

The third season also features an episode shown to a live audience as the group must partake in joker challenges such as participating in a focus group, competing to have their team mascots approved, setting a dancing debate in the mall and presenting their ridiculous book ideas.

And with 31 episodes, this season and this DVD releases has the most episodes yet…which means more fun and more embarrassing situations!



“Impractical Jokers: The Complete Third Season” is presented in Dolby Digital 2.0 with subtitles in English SDH. The series is shot digitally. Lighting is good and you can hear the dialogue clearly.


“Impractical Jokers: The Complete First Season” comes with the following special features:

  • Audio Commentary – Featuring audio commentary for “Toasted” and “The Permanent Punishment” with Brian “Q” Quinn, Joe Gatto and Sal Vulcano.
  • Deleted Scenes – Featuring a total of 13 deleted scenes.
  • Digital Originals – Featuring ten digital originals including “Guide to Summer”, “Official April Fools’ Joke”, “Reactions from the Ranch”, “Sal’s Wedding Crash: Aftermath” and more!



I first discovered “Impractical Jokers” several years ago on television (at that time, I believe it had a different title) but for those who are used to having friends who act stupid for a joke, there is no doubt that the comedy troupe, the Tenderloins and their comedy show will attract you.

Featuring four friends who usually prank each other, why not see how far these four can go with their stupidity and go to embarrass each other in front of people. And to these four people, they have been doing this since they were attending Monsignor Farrell High School in Staten Island. Four guys, always trying to get a laugh and now these four are continuing their hijinks into their adulthood and millions of people continue to watch as the show is in its third season.

When I first saw it and began DVR’ing the show, the first thing that came to my mind about this series was how insane this group was. From being dared to go into a laundromat and take a woman’s panties and put it on your head for 30-seconds in front of them, to going to a buffet and stealing people’s food and putting it on your plate or even going to the grocery store to take someone’s groceries in front of them, that is insane and I often wonder how these unsuspecting people react when they are going to be on television.

The level of hijinks is also quite impressive and with the third season, obviously the guys are doing something right because not only did their episode count get boosted up to 31 episodes but we get to see the guys in a variety of locations and it doesn’t get dull.  There is always something new as the guys really go all out in getting their friends to do something crazy, idiotic or offensive.

But it seems like the guys are used to taking on challenges on what to say and act, but the punishments are going even further in embarrassing or taking the guys to conquer their fears or doing something not expected.   For example, Murr has to eat exotic foods after having Novocaine injected into his gums.  A member must get an embarrassing tattoo, a member must keep yelling “Bingo!” during a Bingo tournament.  A member must go to JFK International Airport and steal people’s luggage and frisking anonymous people.  So, things are taken up a notch when it comes to punishments.

As for the DVD, fans of the show can expect to see all 31 episodes, audio commentary for two episodes, deleted scenes and a good number of digital special features included.

“Impractical Jokers: The Complete Third Season” demonstrates that embarrassing jokes and awkward situations remains popular on television and while there have been shows that have done crazy hidden camera segments before, especially on late night talk shows, the four members of the Tenderloins have no doubt shown they can take things up a notch higher and don’t care if they make a fool of themselves.  And they are much more daring than ever for the third season!

Overall, if you love awkward hidden camera pranks, the improv comedy troupe the Tenderloins take things to a new level for “Impractical Jokers: The Complete Third Season”.  More episodes and more crazy, embarrassing and daring situations!  Check it out!


Regular Show: The Movie (a J!-ENT DVD Review)

October 18, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 


“Regular Show: The Movie” is full of crazy hijinks and it’s an enjoyable, wacky and crazy sci-fi adventure film that fans will love!

© 2015 Cartoon Network. All Rights Reserved.

TITLE: Regular Show: The Movie


DURATION: 68 Minutes

DVD INFORMATION: English 5.1 Dolby Digital, Subtitles: English SDH, French


COMPANY: Cartoon Network/Warner Brothers

Released Dated: October 13, 2015

Created by Pendleton Ward

Directed by J.G. Quintel

Screenplay by J.G. Quintel and Sean Szeles

Story by J.G. Quintel, Matt Price, John Infantino, Mike Roth, Michele Cavin, Sean Szeles

Produced by Ryan Slater

Executive Produced: Mike Roth, Sean Szeles

Music by Mark Mothersbaugh, John Enroth, Albert Fox

Featuring the voices of:

J.G. Quintel as Mordecai

William Salyers as Rigby

Sam Marin as Benson

Mark Hamill as Skips

Jason Mantzoukas as Mr. Ross

David Koechner as Principal Dean

Steve Blum as Techmo

Ali Hillis as Rigby’s mom

Minty Lewis as Eileen

Eddie Pepitone as Sherm

Kurtwood Smith as Gene

Roger Craig Smith as Jablonski/Frank Smith

Fred Tatasciore as Father Time

Janie Haddad Tompkins as Margaret

Paul F. Tompkins as Gino

Mordecai and Rigby are two slackers who work in a city park. When a spaceship from the future crashes in front of them, an intergalactic warrior warns that a Timenado is on the verge of destroying the universe, and they’re the only ones who can stop it. Mordecai and Rigby decide to take on the most epic job of their lives, even though it will mean going up against an evil volleyball coach, a talking space toilet and their even more slacker, high school selves.

In 2010, J.Q. Quintel (“The Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack”, “Camp Lazlo!”) created “Regular Show”, an adult animated sitcom for the Cartoon Network.  Based on characters developed during his years at the California Institute of Arts, Quintel pitched the “Regular Show” to Cartoon Network’s Cartoonstitute project and the show was green-lit.

Quintel recruited a few indie comic book artists as part of staff and “Regular show” became a reality on September 2010 and now is currently on its fifth season.  The series have also done quite well in the ratings, a winner of an Emmy and has been nominated for an “Annie” award.

“Regular Show” is an animated series that revolves around two friends, a Blue Jay named Mordecai and a racoon named Rigby, who tend to get themselves into trouble quite often and work as groundskeepers at a park.

For the “Regular Show: The Movie”, the film begins in the future as Rigby, Benson, Skips, Pops and Muscle Man infiltrate a space base but are soon outnumbered by the enemy and everyone but Rigby and Benson are killed.

The enemy is revealed to be Mordecai and their high school teacher turned baddy, Mr. Ross.  We learn that best friends, Mordecai and Rigby’s relationship was tarnished for something that Rigby had done in the past.

Future Rigby seeing his friends killed is told by Benson, who is about to risk his life in order to have Rigby to time travele to the past and fix whatever he did back in the past.

What did Rigby do so wrong that made Mordecai his ultimate enemy?  And why has Mordecai teamed up with the deranged Ross?

Find out in the DVD release of “Regular Show: The Movie”!


The primary characters of “The Regular Show” are:

  • Mordecai – A 23-year-old, 6’3″ tall Blue Jay that works as a groundskeeper and is best friends with a racoon named Rigby.  The moral character of the two, he always seems to go along with Rigby’s ideas and antics.
  • Rigby – A 23-year-old raccoon who is best friends with Mordecai and works as a groundskeeper.  He is immature and tends to get him and Mordecai into trouble quite often.
  • Benson – A gumball machine and the manager of the park that Mordecai and Rigby work at.  He is often angry at the two because of the trouble they create and has a hot-temper.
  • Skips – A yeti groundskeeper who is immortal and must perform a ceremonial dance on his birthday, if he does not perform it, he will die.  Often saving Mordecai and Rigby when they are in trouble.
  • Pops Maellard – A man with a lollipop shaped head.  He is also a parks manager along with Benson but does groundskeeper work.  He is always happy and gives people lollipops.  His father Mr. Maellard owns the park.
  • Mitch “Muscle Man” Sorenstein – A groundskeeper who looks like an overweight Frankenstein.  He is a prankster.
  • Hi-Five Ghost – A good friend of Mitch and rarely talks.



“Regular Show: The Movie” is presented in widescreen. While I wish the film was released on Blu-ray, the colors are very good as one can expect on DVD. Color palette is colorful and while the character designs may lack incredible detail and shading of other animated series, what makes “Regular Show” work so magnificently are its characters and the predicaments they get themselves into. But picture quality is very good.

The audio for “Regular Show: The Movie” is presented in English Dolby Digital 5.1 with subtitles in English SDH and Spanish.  Dialogue is crystal clear.  Not an immersive soundtrack but the series sounds great!


“Regular Show: The Movie” comes with the following special features:

  • Audio Commentary – Audio commentary featuring director J.G. Quintel and writer Sean Szeles.
  • Deleted Animatics – (27:28) Featuring 13 deleted animatics.
  • Movie Animatics – (28:46) Featuring eight movie animatics.
  • Original Board Pitch – (56:10) Crew delivering their board pitch for seven scenes.
  • Movie Trailer – Movie trailer for “Regular Show: The Movie”
  • Concept Art Gallery – (3:00) Featuring sketches/concept art
  • Movie Art Gallery – (4:05) Featuring the movie art gallery


It’s interesting to see how “Regular Show” has become the popular animated series in our household. My son can’t get enough of the series and I have to also say that with series creator J.G. Quintel coming from the same area where I grew up, it’s great to see people inspired by what Quintel accomplished.

The story of a guy from a small town attending the California Institute of the Arts and then learning to create animated short films which led him to an internship at Cartoon Network to work on “Star Wars: Clone Wars” and to later work on “Camp Lazlo” and later, to move on to “Regular Show” and now the series has its first animated film which is hilarious and a lot of fun.

This time, Rigby has gotten himself in quite a bit of trouble as his actions in the past has altered the future.  And now future Rigby (who is wounded) goes back to the past to warn Rigby to tell the truth, even though it may cost him his friendship with Mordecai and alludes to something bad happened when the two were seniors in high school.  And the future Rigby dies and his time machine is left with present Rigby and Mordecai and friends.

What did Rigby do?

No one seems to know, but everyone heads back to the past to find out what is going on.

As Rigby and Mordecai go to visit their past high school selves and give them a warning, while Muscle Man and Hi-Five ghost are supposed to protect the time machine, the two leave, not knowing that their past high school selves has now stolen the time machine and plan to destroy it.

But what did Rigby do so badly that it ruined his friendship with Mordecai and caused an unstable future?

As for the DVD, the film looks great as one can expect on DVD.  I was hoping for a Blu-ray release but on DVD, the film looks and sounds as good as it can get on DVD.  “Regular Show: The Movie”, also comes with a good amount of special features, including audio commentary and more.

Overall, if you are a fan of the “Regular Show”, you’re more than likely going to enjoy the movie.  “Regular Show: The Movie” is full of crazy hijinks and it’s an enjoyable, wacky and crazy sci-fi adventure film that fans will love!


The Avenging Fist (a J!-ENT DVD Review)

October 11, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 


While me and my friends who loved fighting video games and anime enjoyed this film, watching this film 14 years later, I just don’t feel as strongly for “The Avenging Fist” as I did back in 2001.  The CG looks aged, the acting and various scenes are quite campy, but still, it was a different action film to come out of HK and Andrew Lau and Corey Yuen no doubt made a fun action film at the time.  It’s just that not everyone may find it all that exciting today.

Images courtesy of © 2001 STAREAST. All Rights Reserved.

DVD TITLE: The Avenging Fist


DURATION: 98 Minutes

DVD INFORMATION: Cantones 5.1 Dolby Digital, Subtitles: English

COMPANY: Well Go USA Entertainment


AVAILABLE ON: October 13, 2015

Directed by Andrew Lau, Corey Yuen

Written by Sap Sam Chen

Produced by Wai-keung Lau, Jessinta Liu, Jing Wong

Music by Ken Chan, Kwong Wing Chan

Cinematography by Yiu-Fai Lai

Edited by Curran Pang

Production Design by Kwok-wing Chong, Sung Pong Choo

Costume Design by Pik Kwan Lee


Leehom Wang as Nova/Kong

Stephen Fung as Iron Surfer

Gigi Leung as Erika

Kristy Yang as Belle

Sammo Kam-bo Hung as Inspector Dark

Biao Yuen as Thunder

Ekin Cheng as Young Inspector Dark

 Scientists’ experiments on Power glove are on the verge of success. Power glove is designed to activate the hidden potential in human’s brain to empower the force of human beings. Special agent Dark, Thunder and War 21 are the only survivors in that experiment. Ambitious War 21 gets evil. He captures Thunder with a power glove and disappears… He has become Dark’s fugitive for 20 years. Two decades later, War 21 comes back with brainwashed Thunder and his underground troop aiming to rule the world. Dark is failed to eliminate them but he realizes Thunder has a son who also has the DNA, which enables him to use the power glove to challenge War 21, eventually…


Back in 2001, filmmakers Andrew Lau (“Infernal Affairs” films, “Initial D”) and Corey Yuen (“The Transporter”, “The Legend” films) collaborated on the martial-arts sci-fi film “The Avenging Fist”.

Originally inspired by the “Tekken” video game franchise, the film would go into a different direction and become more of a sci-fi/fighting film.

The film would star pop star Leehom Wang (“List, Caution”, “Blackhat”, “China Strike Force”), Stephen Fung (“Gen X Cops”, “Taichi Zero”, “Badges of Fury”), pop star Gigi Leung (“Contract Killer”, “Tempting Heart”), Kristi Yang (“A Man Called Hero”, “The Storm Riders”, “Comrades: Almost a Love Story”), Sammo Kam-bo Hung (“Martial Law”, “Ip Man 2”), Biao Yen (“Once Upon a Time in China”, “Project A”, “Wheels on Meals”), Kar Lok Chin (“Lust, Caution”, “The Legend of Drunken Master”, “Cold War”) and Roy Cheung (“In the Mood for Love”, “The Mission”, “Exiled”).

“Avenging Fist” will finally be released on DVD in the U.S. courtesy of Well Go USA Entertainment in October 2015.

Thunder was a guy who perfected the martial art of the “Avenging Fist”. As a police officer, he and two others – Dark and Combat 21 were chosen to test the power glove which would allow police officers to tap into the 90% but something went wrong and Thunder ended up dead.

Now it’s twenty years later and Thunder’s twins: Nova and Belle  are twins that have special talents. Nova for fighting and learning his dead father’s “Avenging Fist” technique and Belle with her power for producing heat. Nova never knew what happened to his father, his mother is not saying anything and she does not want him having anything to do with the “Avenging Fist”.

Nova’s goal is to have a “Power Glove” for himself, not knowing what it’s for…just knowing that police officer’s use it to kick butt. The day of his birthday, his mom has a surprise but Nova and Belle are in for a surprise when their long-dead father Thunder reappears.



“Triad” is presented in 16:9 widescreen and Cantonese 5.1 Dolby Digital. Picture quality is good on DVD. Shot digitally, the film does have a cleaner appearance but for the most part, looks good on DVD with no excessive artifacts or any video-related problems. The audio quality does feature moments where music is heard form the surround channels but for the most part, this film is primarily dialogue-driven.

Subtitles are in English.


“Triad” comes with “A Making Of” featurette (8:19) and a theatrical trailer.


NOTE: Because I originally reviewed the HK DVD in 2001, I will update the review to reflect the Well Go USA DVD release:

Back in 2001, when I heard that “Avenging Fist” was going to be out on DVD, I had this grin on my face because of the “Tekken” (the video game) hype surrounding the movie.  The film was pretty much known as “Tekken” but because of copyright, it was expected that the film would have little similarity to the video game.

Anyway, this movie has a lot of people you may have seen from many HK films and a few big names which adds to the allure of the film. Also, the special effects are pretty cool and the futuristic look ala “Blade Runner” was very nice.

This movie is definitely not “Tekken”, it’s more like “Tekken”, “Street Fighter 2” and “Dragon Ball Z” mixed together.

The only thing that “Tekken” has to do with this film is that it’s a fighting movie (ala videogame like fighting movie) and the main character (Leehom Wang, the guy who played Aaron Kwok’s partner on “China Strike Force”) has hair like Kazuya which is pretty cool.

The only thing that “Street Fighter 2” has to do with it is the fighting characters and Combat-21 (think M. Bison, or if you are in East Asia think Vega). The only thing that “DBZ” has to do with this is the ending segment which is reminiscent of how DBZ ended with Goku’s battle with Boo.

Anyway, the plot is humans can only use 10% of their brain. What would happen if humans can tap into the other 90% which is called the “Forbidden Zone”.

Anyway in the past: Thunder was a guy who perfected the martial art of the “Avenging Fist”. As a police officer, he and two others – Dark and Combat 21 were chosen to test the power glove which would allow police officers to tap into the 90% but something went wrong and Thunder ended up dead.

Now it’s twenty years later and Thunder’s twins: Nova and Belle  are twins that have special talents. Nova for fighting and learning his dead father’s “Avenging Fist” technique and Belle with her power for producing heat. Nova never knew what happened to his father, his mother is not saying anything and she does not want him having anything to do with the “Avenging Fist”.

Nova’s goal is to have a “Power Glove” for himself, not knowing what it’s for…just knowing that police officer’s use it to kick butt. The day of his birthday, his mom has a surprise but Nova and Belle are in for a surprise when their long-dead father Thunder reappears.

Back in 2001, I wrote that people who love video games especially fighting video games or anime will love this movie.  But 14 years later, the film has aged a lot since then, the CG is outdated and the video game culture, especially fighting games have changed so much that people will probably not make the connection with the film and “Tekken” video game anymore.

It’s interesting because back in 2001, my friends and I thought this film was so cool!  And I wished for this DVD to be released way back then.  I never imagined it would take this long.  But having watched it again, the film has lost its luster.

As for the DVD, similar to the original HK DVD release, there are no special features and unlike the HK DVD release which came with a Cantonese DTS 6.1 and Digital Dolby EX audio track.  The Well GO USA version comes with a Cantonese 5.1 surround sound soundtrack.

Also, fortunately with this DVD release, the English subtitles are much better and do not have the typos as the HK DVD release.

While me and my friends who loved fighting video games and anime enjoyed this film, watching this film 14 years later, I just don’t feel as strongly for “The Avenging Fist” as I did back in 2001.  The CG looks aged, the acting and various scenes are quite campy, but still, it was a different action film to come out of HK and Andrew Lau and Corey Yuen no doubt made a fun action film at the time.  It’s just that not everyone may find it all that exciting today.


Dead Rising: Watchtower (a J!-ENT DVD Review)

September 27, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 


“Dead Rising: Watchtower” will not only appeal to fans of the video game series but for those who like zombie films in general. I expected the worst but instead, I felt that the film was one of the much better video game to live action film adaptations out there. And I can’t wait for the sequel! “Dead Rising: Watchtower” is a film worth giving a try!

© 2015 Dead Rising Productions Inc. All Rights Reserved.

TITLE: Dead Rising: Watchtower



DVD INFORMATION: Anamorphic Widescreen (2:40:1), English 5.1 Dolby Digital, Subtitles: English, English SDH, French


COMPANY: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

Released Dated: October 6, 2015

Directed by Zach Lipovsky

Written by Tim Carter

Executive Producer: Lorenzo di Bonaventura, Tomas Harlan, Haruhiro Tsujimoto, Kiichiro Urata

Producer:  Tim Carter

Associate Producer: Gary Hawes, Mike Jackson, Andy Levine, Zach Lipovsky, Mahlon Todd Williams

Music by Oleksa Lozowchuk

Cinematography by Mahlon Todd Williams

Edited by Mike Jackson

Casting by Libby Goldstein, Monica Kelly, Junie Lowry-Johnson

Production Design by Tony Devenyi

Art Direction by Carlos Bolbrugge

Set Decoration by Jonathan Lancaster

Costume Design by Barbara Gregusova


Jesse Metcalfe as Chase

Meghan Ory as Crystal

Virginia Madsen as Maggie

Keegan Connor Tracy as Jordan

Aleks Paunovic as Logan

Dennis Haysbert as General Luons

Gary Jones as Norton

Carrie Genzel as Susan

Rob Riggle as Frank West

Based on the videogame created by Capcom. When a mandatory government vaccine fails and a full-scale zombie epidemic ensues, a news reporter and three other survivors are trapped inside a quarantine zone. The team must use everything they can find to fight off the flesh-hungry mob and evade becoming part of the undead horde.

Back in 2006, video game company CAPCOM released their survival horror game “Dead Rising” about a photojournalist named Frank West, who was trapped in a shopping mall in Colorado infested with zombies.

A total of three games have been released since then and now writer Tim Carter (“Sleeping Dogs”, “The Chateau Meroux”) has written a film based on the events of the video game titled “Dead Rising: Watchtower”, which was directed by Zach Lipovsky (“Leprechaun: Origins”, “Sunshine Girl”, “Ingress Obsessed”).

The film would star Jesse Metcalfe (“Dallas”, “Desperate Housewives”, “Beyond a Reasonable Doubt”), Meghan Ory (“Once Upon a Time”, “Vampire High”, “Dark House”), Virginia Madsen (“Sideways”, “The Number 23”, “The Haunting in Connecticut”), Keegan Connor Tracy (“Final Destination 2”, “Chaos”), Alex Paunovic (“This Means War”, “Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters”, “Personal Effects”), Dennis Haysbert (“24”, “The Unit”, “Heat”), Gary Jones (“Stargate SG-1”, “Stargate: Continnum”, “Stargate: The Ark of Truth”), Carrie Genzel (“Watchmen”, “Jennifer’s Body”, “88 Minutes”) and Rob riggle (“21 Jump Street”, “The Hangover”, “Dumb and Dumber To”).

The film would be featured on Crackle and with a sequel to the film being announced (and also a TV series in pre-production), “Dead Rising: Watchtower” will be released on DVD courtesy of Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.

“Dead Rising: Watchtower” is set between the second and third video game.  Online reporter Chase Carter (portrayed by Jesse Metcalfe) and his camerawoman Jordan (portrayed by Keegan Connor Tracy) are trying to make a name for themselves.

As they cover stories in the walled-in quarantined area in Oregon, FEZE (Federal Emergency Zombie Authority) are trying to contain a viral outbreak by injecting people with Zombrex, which should prevent the virus from those infected.

But when Chase films a doctor giving an injection, the person suddenly turns into a zombie and immediately who received the injection have turned into zombies.  While Chase and Jordan are separated during the chaotic melee as innocents are being bitten/eaten by zombies, Jordan makes it to the outside of the wall (the only person to do so), while Chase escapes with a woman named Crystal (portrayed by Meghan Ory) and a mother named Maggie (portrayed by Virginia Madsen) whose daughter has turned to a zombie.

As the three try to survive from the zombie onslaught, Chase notices that Crystal is injecting herself with Zombrex and has not changed.  While he uses his smartphone to send messages to a local news company, outside, a gang of hoodlums led by a man named Logan (portrayed by Aleks Paunovic) is feeding off the chaos by the zombies.

Back in the safe zone, Jordan keeps in contact with Chase and through research, discovers that the Zombrex injected in people, may not be to save lives…but something possibly more sinister.

Will Chase and the others survive in the quarantined zone?


“Dead Rising: Watchtower” is presented in 2:40:1 anamorphic widescreen and English 5.1 Dolby Digital.

Picture quality on DVD is very good as it can get on DVD, but was hoping that Sony Pictures Home Entertainment would have released this film on Blu-ray. Audio quality is good with clear dialogue and music and good surround for the action sequences. I did not notice any significant artifacts or any problematic issues during my viewing of the series.

Subtitles are in English SDH


“Dead Rising: Watchtower” comes with the following special features:

  • Audio Commentary – Audio commentary featuring director Zach Lipovsky and writer/producer Tim Carter.
  • The Epic “One-ER” – (4:03) How the long one-shot segment was created.
  • The Weapons of Dead Rising: Watchtower – (4:02) The weapons of “Dead Rising: Watchtower”.
  • The Making of Bonzo the Zombie Clown – (2:45) The making of the Bonzo the Zombie Clown sequence.
  • Rob Riggle Outtakes – (1:00) Improve sequences featuring Rob Riggle as first video game protagonist, Frank West.

Having watched my fair share of badly done zombie films, let alone indie horror films and to be truthful, bad video game to film adaptations, I watched “Dead Rising: Watchtower” with the lowest expectations.

But expecting the worse, “Dead Rising: Watchtower” was a popcorn action film that wasn’t as horribly acted, nor was the visual effects super lame and surprisingly, this film features noticeable names, rather than people that were brought back from ’80s films.

But I won’t go so far as to proclaim “Dead Rising: Watchtower” as one of the greatest zombie films, but I will say it’s one of the better video game to film adaptations that tries to maintain a connection to the original source material.

For those who have played a “Dead Rising” video game, will know how over-the-top the film is when it comes to weaponry and ways to defeat a zombie.  There is always a survival element and there are no doubt challenges that make the game enjoyable and yet frustrating all at once.

But there is no denying that “Dead Rising” is about survival against zombies and using any type of weapon to beat the enemy and with that second game, the dreaded Zombrex anti-vaccine.

“Dead Rising: Watchtower” features both.  Finding whatever weapon is necessary to beat the zombies but most importantly, trying to survive in an area infested with zombies.  You’re literally outnumbered, trying to survive whichever way you can.

And of course, it helps to have Frank West (portrayed by the over-the-top Rob Riggle) as part of the news commentary.

But it was great to see Jesse Metcalfe playing a character unlike his loverboy characters that we have seen him in “Desperate Housewives” and his earlier soap opera years.  It was also great to see Meghan Ory in a strong kick arse role and both do a great job as two trying to survive by the zombie outbreak.

The film has its veterans such as Dennis Haysbert and Virginia Madsen and aside from zombies and political corruptness against you, the protagonists also have to worry about a crazy gang trying to rule the streets.

As for the DVD, you get an audio commentary and several special features included.  Picture and audio quality is very good but as mentioned, I wish this film released on Blu-ray.

Overall, “Dead Rising: Watchtower” will not only appeal to fans of the video game series but for those who like zombie films in general.  I expected the worst but instead, I felt that the film was one of the much better video game to live action film adaptations out there.  And I can’t wait for the sequel!

“Dead Rising: Watchtower” is a film worth giving a try!




Deutschland 83 (a J!-ENT DVD Review)

September 13, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 


Wonderful writing, awesome performances…”Deutschland 83″ is a riveting series that I highly recommend!

© 2015 Kino Lorber. All Rights Reserved.

TITLE: Deutschland 83


DURATION: 8 Episodes (360 Minutes)

DVD INFORMATION: Widescreen (1:78:1), German 5.1 and 2.0 Dolby Digital, Subtitles: English


COMPANY: Kino Lorber

Released Dated: September 29, 2015

Created by Anna Winger, Joerg Winger

Directed by Edward Berger, Samira Radsi

Written by Steve Bailie, Anna Winger

Executive Producer: Ulrike Leibfried, Sebastian Werninger

Producer: Nico Hofmann, Henriette Lippold, Jorg Winger

Line Producer: Tim Greve

Music by Reinhold Heil

Cinematography by Phillip Haberlandt, Frank Kupper

Edited by Sven Budelmann, Boris Gromatzki

Production Design by Lars Lange

Art Direction by Carsten Woithe

Costume Design by Katrin Schafer


Alexander Beyer as Tischbier

Sonja Gerhardt as Annett

Sylvester Groth as Walter Schweppenstette

Jonas Nay as Martin Rauch

Ulrich Noethen as General Wolfgang Edel

Maria Schrader as Lenora Rauch

Ludwig Trepte as Alex Edel

Lisa Tomaschewsky as Yvonne Edel

Godehard Giese as Karl Kramer

Uew Preuss as Markus Fuchs

Anna von Berg as Ursula Edel

Carina N. Wiese as Ingrid Rauch

Niels Bormann as Fritz Hartmann

Vladimir Burlakov as Thomas Posimski

Errol Trotman-Harewood as General Arnold Jackson

Florian Bartholamai as Felix von Schwerin

Michaela Caspar as Frau Netz

Deutschland 83 is a groundbreaking new series from the producers of the international Emmy award-winning Generation War. It’s 1983. The Cold War is hot. Russian SS20 Missiles in East Germany are already pointed West. American Pershing II Missiles will soon be placed in West Germany, pointing East. The threat of nuclear conflict looms.

Our hero, Martin Rauch (Jonas Nay), is 23. Born and raised in East Germany, he is sent undercover, as Moritz Stamm, to West Germany, to work for a top General in the Bundeswehr. Officially, his job is to gather intelligence on the placement of the Pershing II Missiles. A secondary gig develops, infiltrating youth culture through close relationships with the General’s two children. But nothing and no one are as they seem.

Deutschland 83 is a coming-of-age story within a suspenseful thriller, set against the real events, culture wars and political realities of Germany in the 1980s.

In 2015, the eight episode German television series “Deutschland 83” aired on Sundance TV, becoming the first German-language series to air in the U.S.

Created by husband and wife team, Anna Winger (an American novelist) and Joerg Winger (a German TV producer), the series has received critical acclaim.

The series takes place years before the reunification of Germany (1990), with the East Germany (German Democractic Republic) and West German (Federal Republic of Germany) still within many decades of tension.

“Deutschland 83” is set during the time of Able Archer 83 (a ten-day NATO command post exercise which exercised a simulated period of conflict escalation and thus culminating into a simulated DEFCON 1 coordinated nuclear attack).

Because East Germany and Russian intelligence reports suggested that Able Archer was a ruse of war and was Germany with the help of NATO planning a genuine nuclear first strike in Germany, it was an instance where World War III was almost imminent.

The series begins with the introduction of Martin Rauch (portrayed by Jonas Nay), a border patrol guard from East Germany.  He is also a young man who lives with his mother Ingrid (portrayed by Carina Wiese) who is in badly need of a kidney transplant and dating Annett Schneider (portrayed by Sonja Gerhardt).

Life seems good for Martin until one day, his life would change forever.

His aunt, Lenora Rauch (portrayed by Maria Schrader) is the East German Embassy’s Cultural Attache (a diplomat with a special responsibility of promote the culture of their homeland) and she enlists Martin to be a spy for Walter Schweppenstette (portrayed by Sylvester Groth), Lenora’s boss at the East Germany Embassy.

Martin, against his will, is forced to become a spy for the East Germans (he is told that if he becomes a spy, his mother would be put on top of the list for a kidney transplant).

He must take the name of Moritz Stamm, the name of an actual soldier killed by an East German mercenary and become the aid of General Wolfgang Edel (portrayed by Ulrich Noethen) in Bundeswehr.  General Edel works with the Americans at NATO on the deployment of Pershing II Weapon System missiles and Martin’s mission is to take photos of strategic sites that NATO has planned to strike.

As the East German’s have spies that have infiltrated the West Germany military, Martin works with Tobias Tischbier (portrayed by Alexander Beyer), a professor at the University of Bonn and works in the STASI’s (Ministry for State Security) foreign arm, the Main Directorate for Reconnaisance (HVA).

While Martin succeeds in his first mission, the STASI want Martin to continue his espionage activities in order to find out more about Able Archer and when West Germany and their NATO allies will send a nuclear strike onto East German soil.


“Deutschland 83” is presented in 1:78:1 anamorphic widescreen and German 5.1 Dolby Digital. Picture quality on DVD is very good as the series is broken up in three discs.  I will admit that I wished Kino Lorber released this series on Blu-ray, but picture quality for the most part is very good. I did not notice any artifacts or any problematic issues during my viewing of the series.

Audio quality is good with crystal clear German dialogue.

Subtitles are in English.


“Deutschland 83” comes with the following special features:


  • The Actors – (11:49) Interviews with Jonas Nay, Sonja Gerhardt and Ludwig Trepte who discuss the show and their characters.
  • The Creators – (13:19) Interviews with series creators Anna and Joerg Winger who discuss how the show came to fruition.
  • Q&A with Cast and Creators at the Goethe-Institut – (21:55) Q&A with series creators Anna and Joerg Winger, actors Jonas Nay, Sonja Gerhardt and Ludwig Trepte.

The first words that came out of my wife’s mouth after she watched a few episodes of “Deutschland 83″ on Sundance TV was…”You have to watch this show! It’s so good!”.

I have caught little glimpses of the series from time-to-time and wondered if she may be biased, considering she is German and she was and is still is, a huge Duran Duran fan.

But with Kino Lorber releasing “Deutschland 83” on DVD, I figured it was a very good time to check out the series that she and many people have been raving about this year.

And I have to concur that “Deutschland 83” is a magnificent spy thriller incorporating ’80s pop culture and captivating acting from its large cast.

But also taking one of the most tension-driven situations in Germany’s history and bringing it to television for the world to enjoy.  The fact is a lot of people in America who are not erudites on the history of East and West Germany and how close the world was for another World War, is quite amazing to see how intelligence played a big part in preventing any misdirection leading to war.

The storyline resonates strongly for those who grew up in the ’80s.  The pop culture such as Nena’s “99 Luft Ballons” or Duran Duran’s “Hungry Like the Wolf” and technology such as the Walkman being enjoyed.  Those little bits of pop culture hits home for those of us that enjoyed those things many years ago.

But of course, it’s the well-written storyline of how a young border guard is chosen by force to become a spy for his country, East Germany and transplanted to West Germany.  Not having to say goodbye to his sick mother or girlfriend, he tries in various attempts to contact them and of course, doing so at inopportune moments and risking his identity.

To take on the identity of an aid worker to a General and having to be so close in proximity to an American General and German General with access to highly classified material and is given the task to take photos of those documents and get it into East Germany through spies who infiltrated the West German government or military.

There are also quite a few side stories in play.   From General Edel’s son, Alex, who serves in the military with Martin but is slowly growing into becoming against the military.  And also, his daughter Yvonne, who becomes a member of the Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh cult.

Another story includes Martin’s girlfriend, Annett Schneider moving in with his mother Ingrid.  And Annett discovering a major secret that Ingrid has been hiding.  And also a story about Tobias Tischbier, an East German who works for the STASI but is in the West, working as a professor at the University of Bonn and his relationships with men and the fears, especially during the early ’80s in regards to the AIDS epidemic.

But the primary storyline revolves around Martin with the name of Moritz Stamm having forced to become a spy but is told that his mother would receive medical treatment and will be put on the list for a kidney transplant if he does his job.  So, we watch his journey of several risky missions he must undertake as a spy.

Every episode is thrilling and the acting by Jonas Nay, Maria Schrader, Alexander Beyer, Sonja Gerhardt, Sylvester Groth to name a few is definitely worth mentioning as their performance are fantastic.

But with a wonderful eight episodes making up the first season, can we expect a season two?

To ensure to not leave people hanging after its thrilling season finale, Anna and Joerg Winger have said in an interview (included on this DVD) that the plan is to have three seasons.  That is great news for fans of “Deutschland 83” and one can only hope the quality of the writing and acting remains consistent.

For parents who want to watch this series with their young children, just a little warning that the series does have violence and brief nudity.

As for the DVD, as much as I hoped that Kino Lorber would release “Deutschland 83” on Blu-ray, for now, only a DVD release will be available.  But the good news is that the episodes are broken up to three DVD discs, so picture quality is very good as one can expect on DVD.  Audio is German Dolby Digital 5.1 and English subtitles are easy to read.  Special features include interviews with three members of the cast, series creators and a Q&A which all take place in New York for the screening of the first episode.

Overall, “Deutschland 83″ is a magnificent spy thriller and as the first German television series to air in the United States, this series may open the gates for more international programming to be released in the U.S.

Wonderful writing, awesome performances…”Deutschland 83” is a riveting series that I highly recommend!


Naruto Shippuden DVD Set 23 – Original & Uncut (a J!-ENT Anime DVD Review)

September 8, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 


If you don’t mind filler episodes and are a fan staying with “Naruto Shippuden” for the long haul, the “Naruto Shippuden DVD Set 23 – Original & Uncut” will no doubt entertain you. The episodes are action-packed and have quite a bit of humor. But if you are a purist dedicated to Masashi Kishimoto’s manga series and want to watch the main storyline in regards to the war, then this volume can be skipped over.

Image courtesy of © 2002 Masashi Kishimoto/2007 Shippuden. All Rights Reserved.

DVD TITLE: Naruto Shippuden DVD Set 23 – Original & Uncut

DURATION: Episodes 284-296 (300 Minutes)

DVD INFORMATION: 2.0 Stereo Surround Sound, Bilingual (Japanese & English), English Subtitles

COMPANY: Shonen Jump/Viz Media

RATED: Rated T for Older Teen

Release Date: July 28, 2015

Originally created by Masashi Kishimoto

Series Directed by Hayato Date

Produced by Tomoko Gushima, Ken Hagino

Series Coordinator by Junki Takegami, Satoru Nishizono

Character Design by Tetsuya Nishio, Hirofumi Suzuki

Music by Yasuharu Takanishi, Yaiba

Music Production by Aniplex

Anime Production by TV Tokyo, Pierrot

Featuring the following voice talent:

Junko Takeuchi/Maile Flanagan as Naruto Uzumaki

Chie Nakamura/Kate Higgins as Sakura Haruno

Noriaki Sugiyama/Yuri Lowenthal as Sasuke Uchiha

Akira Ishida/Liam O’Brien as Sabaku no Gaara (Gaara of the Desert)

Hideo Ishikawa/Crispin Freeman as Itachi Uchiha

Houchu Ohtsuka/David Lodge as Jiraiya

Kazuhiko Inoue/Dave Wittenberg as Hatake Kakashi

Kentarou Itou/Robbie Rist as Chouji Akimichi

Kenyuu Horiuchi/Troy Baker as Pain

Kouichi Toochika/Steve Staley as Neji Hyuuga

Kousuke Toriumi/Kyle Hebert as Kiba Inuzuka

Kujira/Steven Blum as Orochimaru

Masako Katsuki/Debi Mae West as Tsunade/Fifth Hokage

Nana Mizuki/Stephanie Sheh as Hinata Hyuuga

Nobutoshi Canna/Henry Dittman as Kabuto Yakushi

Rikiya Koyama/Troy Baker as Yamato

Romi Paku/Tara Platt as Temari

Ryoka Yuzuki/Colleen O’Shaughnessey as Ino Yamanaka

Satoshi Hino/Ben Diskin as Sai

Shinji Kawada/Derek Stephen Prince as Shino Aburame

Yasuyuki Kase/Michael Lindsay as Kankurou

Yoichi Masukawa/Brian Donovan as Rock Lee

The Fourth Great Ninja War rages on, and danger comes from every angle. Old comrades and enemies have risen from the grave under the control of Kabuto to fight the Allied Forces. While some retain their calm, others must wrestle with their emotions. Naruto’s training has made him more powerful, but some believe his possession of the Nine Tails makes him a liability. Can the Allied Forces survive assassins and their reanimated friends to win the war?

The Fourth Great Ninja War continues as Naruto now enters the battlefield and also a side story featuring the Hidden Sand Village and the Hidden Stone Village.

All this and more in “Naruto Shippuden DVD Set 23 – Original & Uncut”.

What is “Naruto”?

Since 1999, “Naruto” created by Masashi Kishimoto (“Karakuri”) has been one of the most popular anime and manga series in Japan and has easily become a favorite best selling anime/manga series among fans all over the world.

For the anime series, since 2002, “Naruto” lasted until 2007 with a total of 220 episodes. The series would follow the adventures of a boy named Naruto Uzamaki, who may not be the brightest ninja from the Konoha Village but he makes it up with heart and also tremendous power as the killer beast known as the nine-tailed fox has been sealed within him.

Earlier in the series, the anime series focused on Naruto and his team members Sasuke Uchida and Sakura Haruno as they would go on adventures and learn to become a team and also honing their ninja abilities. The series would then begin to introduce other young ninjas from the village who Naruto would be paired up with and the young ninjas would take on rival clans to helping people in need. But somehow as the series continued, Sasuke Uchida would then go off on his own personal mission to stop his brother Itaki Uchida, who murdered the whole Uchida clan and his family, only leaving Sasuke alive.

Within those six years, we have seen Naruto and his friends grow as friends and also in their abilities. For Naruto, all he has wanted is to become the next Hokage (the leader of the village) when he grows older and to help his friends accomplish missions. He knows that to be a good leader, he will need to get stronger so he can protect the village once he grows older. Of course, there is so much involved in the “Naruto” anime series and what makes its special is its humor, its action but also how well the series integrates so many characters but yet features a good number of character driven episodes that makes the viewer appreciate many of the characters in the series.

“Naruto”, the first series ended with the young ninja leaving to train with Jiraiya for two-and-a-half years.

What is “Naruto Shippuden”?

Sasuke has aligned with the Akatsuki who wants to destroy the Leaf Village – Konoha. Madara has declared war and thus an Allied Shinobi Force is formed. The elder leaders of all villages, allies to the Leaf Village have realized that the Akatsuki are after Naruto (Nine Tail) and Killer B (Eight Tail Beast). They have since accomplished extracting the beasts (Jinchuriki) from others.

In “Naruto Shippuden DVD Set 20”, the series now returns back to storyline that is featured on the manga series.

As Naruto tries to control the power of the nine tails, Naruto’s mother enter his consciousness to explain the secrets of his birth and learns about heir hopes and renews his vow to be come Hokage!

All is revealed about what transpired during the day of Naruto’s birth and who was responsible for attacking the Leaf Village with the nine tails. And given the final moments to meet and speak with his mother one last time.

And as Naruto has become the prime target of the Akatsuki, Yamato, Guy and a few other Leaf Ninja, including Killer B have convinced Naruto that he is on an S-Ranked Environmental Mission at an island.

In volume 22, Naruto who has trained with Bee, is starting to feel the chakra of the nine-tail fox and now he wants to know why he is being locked up and why his fellow ninja are acting strangely.

Meanwhile, as Sakura and other medics tend to the wounded, someone has infiltrated the medical unit and is slaughtering them. And he’s out to kill Sakura. Will Sakura find out who the culprit truly is?

In volume 23, a special side story features the Hidden Sand Village  and the Hidden Stone Village.  Also, a storyline that takes place after the Kage Summit as Team Kakashi is sent out on a mission to “The Hole” and investigate an incident where people are being killed.  Will Yamato, Sai ,Sakura and Naruto find out who is responsible for the deaths?



“Naruto Shippuden” is an anime series that was never known for having spectacular background art, but it’s know for its action and its characters and how it captures emotion and its intense battles. While in this episode, a lot of episodes are contained in areas near lush green trees, water or dirt, it’s not so much of the background but how the characters are design and how well the battles are portrayed. And I can easily say that with “Naruto Shippuden DVD Set 20- Original Uncut”, the fast-paced action in this volume is great for a TV series and good for what one can expect on DVD.

It’s important to note that in 2014, Viz has went from releasing episodes on three DVD discs to two DVD discs per volume.

As for the audio, the audio for “Naruto Shippuden DVD Set 20” is pretty much Dolby Digital Stereo 2.0 Bilingual (Japanese and English). Similar to a series like “Dragon Ball Z”, with “Naruto”, I have always enjoyed the voice acting of the English dub series. It’s well done and the voices fit the characters very well.

Especially Maile Flanagan’s Naruto Uzumaki. Personally, I didn’t think there would be a voice actor that could capture Junko Takeuchi’s Naruto vocals and sure enough, Flanagan does a great job. But I have watched the series in Japanese and English and for the most part, voice acting for both soundtracks are well-done.

Since the series is front channel driven, for those with a modern home theater receiver probably will enjoy a more immersive soundscape by selecting stereo on all channels.

Subtitles are in English.


“Naruto Shippuden DVD Set 23 – Original & Uncut” comes with the following special features on disc 2:

  • Storyboards
  • Art Gallery
  • Clean Openings/Endings


With the release of “Naruto Shippuden DVD Set 23 – Original & Uncut”, the volume continues with filler episodes, while Masashi Kishimoto was still working on the stories in the manga series.

This tends to happen a lot when the anime series catches up with the manga and in order to give adequate time, a season is spent on filler episodes.

With episodes 284-296, these filler episodes concludes Season 13 (which aired in Japan from October 2012 to January 2013) and fortunately, the filler episodes take place during the Great Ninja War or right after the Great Kage Summit.

This time we get episodes relating to the Hidden Sand Village and Hidden Stone Village, Sai learning why people are dedicated into fighting for their friends, Tsunade on a mission and discussing why she puts her faith in Naruto.  We also get to see Kakashi taking on reanimated Kirigakure shinobi and a battle with Ameyuri Ringo.

The final episodes take place after the Kage Summit and features episodes about Yamato, Naruto, Sakura and Sai sent on a mission to investigate the death of people near “The Hole” and must take on Kabuto’s Hidan clone and the reanimated Hayate Gekou.

As for the DVD set, you get a total of 12 episodes on two DVD’s and special features which include storyboards, art gallery, clean opening and endings.

Overall, “Naruto Shippuden DVD Set 23 – Original & Uncut” is a volume that is more filler-based.  The good news is that the filler stories take place during the Great Ninja War and dealing with reanimated Shinobi, the bad news is that the main storyline of the Great Ninja War doesn’t continue until Season 14 (which will take place in “Naruto Shippuden DVD Set 24 – Original & Uncut”).

But if you don’t mind filler episodes and are a fan staying with “Naruto Shippuden” for the long haul, the “Naruto Shippuden DVD Set 23 – Original & Uncut” will no doubt entertain you.  The episodes are action-packed and have quite a bit of humor. But if you are a purist dedicated to Masashi Kishimoto’s manga series and want to watch the main storyline in regards to the war, then this volume can be skipped over.


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