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Class of 1999: Vestron Video Collector's Series (1990) - Blu-ray Review

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Class of 1999: Vestron Video Collector's Series

5 beers

Class of 1999 is, of course, the film that reveals the truth behind the magic of Pam Grier's glorious breasts.  The scene, happening in a school hallway after she takes down two gang leaders on their motorbikes with one swift motion, is both awe inspiring and cringeworthy.  The green fluid she leaks from her mechanical boobs oozes and clumps to the floor.  Sexy and gross and so confusing that you just might wet yourself a little.  Who knew that her swinging sisters were so robotic?   

Respect.  Obey.  Learn.  When it comes to our shared murderous future, it seems these three commands are the last remaining pillars of education in director Mark Lester’s futureshock treatment of high school.  And it is dead on.  Class of 1999 doesn’t disappoint with its truth telling as one high school student must go toe-to-toe with a deadly trifecta of teacher robots that want him dead.

As explained in the opening few minutes of Class of 1999, The Department of Education Defense (that’s DED, get it?) has no other choice but to team up with cyber security forces such as MegaTech, represented here by the silver android eyes of Dr. Bob Forrest (Stacy Keach) and his three military robots turned teachers.  RoboCops in school?  Who would dare break any rule?! 

That’s right, these very lifelike robots – John P. Ryan as Mr. Hardin, Pam Grier as Miss Connors (hubba, hubba, hubba), and Patrick Kilpatrick as Mr. Bryles – are the new kickass teachers in Kennedy High School and they are prepared for Day One in the war zone that fills the high school.  They will also stop at nothing to bring about the end of this teenage reign of terror.  And they vignettes of them disciplining their rude students are seriously hilarious.

Class of 1999 is a film where corporal punishment exists solely to keep the children among the living.  Beat them so not to kill them.  And these students – with their thrash styling of punk and new wave, their hoop earrings, and their switchblade knives – are going to fight back. 

And so, too, will the new teachers.  They are, well, more than meets the eye if you catch my drift.

Call it a war game at high noon.  Call it unnecessary.  This is edgy material that is seriously made great by awesome performances and, thanks to Vestron Video’s Collector’s Series, looks remarkably fresh and killer-cool thanks to a solid HD transfer that is seriously on fire with rock and roll.

The science fiction film – a violent follow-up to Lester’s own Class of 1984 – is damn near prophetic in its forecast of deadly school shootings and the militant way in which the police respond to any youth who dares contemplate the criminal.  It’s not over the top.  It’s precisely right in the direction we have headed.  There are actually few films from this era that are so spot-on with their descriptions of the future.

Bang.  Bang.  Shoot.  Shoot.  Welcome to the wild, wild halls of Kennedy High School.  This is the place where the recently paroled Cody Culp (Bradley Gregg, ExplorersStand By Me), a member of the Blackhearts gang, has more than a bit of a crisis on his hands when he decides to go his own way.  He’s swearing off drugs and wants to be a good example for his brother.  He also finds himself digging on Christie (Traci Lind) a bit more than he is used to.  She's polite and so very pure. 

Culp wants to be good, but Miles Langford (Malcolm McDowell), the principal of Kennedy High School and Traci’s father, isn’t going to make it easy for him.  Neither will the out of control members of the rival gang, The Razorheads, who go after Cody’s younger brother only to also become targets for these robotic teachers.           

Drugs.  Shootings.  Guns.  This is what the students prefer to their lessons.  If it sounds familiar, it might because Lester and his team were off merely by a few years because, to me, those things are currently found in every high school in 2018.  Co-starring Darren E. Burrows, Joshua Miller, Sharon Wyatt, James Medina, Jason Oliver, Brent David Fraser, Jill Gatsby, Sean Hagerty, and Sean Sullivan, Class of 1999 is bold in its vision of education in the future and in its wicked methods. Punk attitudes rule the day among the students and, as they are always clinging to them,  so do their dependence upon automatic weapons.         

Class of 1999 is education at its finest. 

Class of 1999: Vestron Video Collector's Series

MPAA Rating: Unrated.
Runtime:
99 mins
Director
: Mark L. Lester
Writer:
Mark L. Lester
Cast:
Bradley Gregg, Traci Lind, Malcolm McDowell
Genre
: Horror
Tagline:
Hired to Teach. Programmed to Kill.
Memorable Movie Quote: "Like I trust a vampire to give me a blow job."
Official Site:
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date: January 30, 2018
Synopsis: Robots who have been programmed to teach and discipline students in a violence-prone school turn homicidal, and the students must fight back to save their lives.

Class of 1999: Vestron Video Collector's Series

Blu-ray

Blu-ray Details:

Home Video Distributor: Lionsgate Films
Available on Blu-ray
- January 30, 2018
Screen Formats: 1.85:1
Subtitles
: English SDH; Spanish
Audio:
English: DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0
Discs: Blu-ray Disc; single disc
Region Encoding: Locked to Region A

Offered courtesy of Lionsgate Films and its new handling of the Vestron Video imprint in 1.85:1, the AVC-encoded 1080p transfer is a relative goldmine of previously unseen details and colors. This is EASILY the best the film has ever (and probably will) look. The details in the school and in the streets are strong. The clothing and some of punked-out items are a reason to appreciate the visual “pop” throughout the high definition transfer, too.  The atmosphere is especially nice. The crisp image quality is the best you’re going to get with a film like this and, admittedly, even a bit better than expected. Some stuff from the same era hasn’t made the HD transition quite as well, but Class of 1999 looks much, much better than expected. Colors are perfect. Blacks are solid. Skin tones are detailed and appropriate. The original 2.0 Stereo Audio is included, as well as DTS-HD Master Audio and Dolby Audio.

Supplements:

Commentary:

  • There is an engaging commentary from Producer/Director Mark L. Lester that goes the distance in describing the backstory of the movie, his take on a sequel, and the production woes. 

Special Features:

Also included are NEW interviews with Lester, Joyner, Allard and Stratton, and Mark Irwin.  Fans also get a trailer, a TV spot, a still gallery, and a video promo.

  • Interviews with Director/Producer Mark L. Lester and Co-Producer Eugene Mazzola
  • Interview with Screenwriter C. Courtney Joyner
  • Interviews with Special Effects Creators Eric Allard and Rick Stratton
  • Interview with Director of Photography Mark Irwin
  • Trailer
  • TV Spot Still Gallery
  • Video Promo

Class of 1999: Vestron Video Collector's Series

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