BADass SINema Unearthed - Blu-ray Review

Devil's Express (1976) - Blu-ray Review

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Devil's Express (1976) - Blu-ray Review

5 beersMutant cats, sabertooth rats, and gold lamé outfits!

Nothing good can ever come from an evil that’s been buried for over 2000 years.  That, my friends, is something that you can take to the bank.  But what if that ancient horror found its way into a Blaxploitation martial arts flick?  On a subway?  In New York City?  Would that make the underground evil a little more palpable?  Oh, you say you want zombies, too?!  Then Devil’s Express (AKA as Gang Wars) is the movie for you.

Starring Force Four’s Warhawk Tanzania and directed by Barry Rosen (Yum Yum Girls), Devil’s Express is one hell of a subway ride straight into the underground.  This low budget genre-hopper begins in 200 BC as the camera goes into soft focus mode and shows us a bunch of Chinese monks disposing of a great evil relic in the woods.  New York’s upper state has never looked this primal!!! 

The monks, after watching this great evil sink deep into a hole in the ground, form a circle in the woods and have their heads lobbed off before the monk responsible for their deaths takes a knife to his own neck.  So much red paint!

And all because of a shiny medallion that one lovable loser, Rodan (Wilfredo Rodan), cannot leave alone.  Rodan is all sorts of trouble.  He picks fights and steals things.  He’s also best friend to Luke Curtis (Warhawk Tanzania) and Luke, always calm and always chill, only wants to make Master level in the martial arts and use his skills to keep the gangs from killing each other.  That’s not what karate is all about, man!

But the evil doesn’t like that the flashy medallion was swiped so it sends a spirit to possess a random dude on vacation in Hong Kong.  We know he is possessed because his eyes get big and white.  Random Dude travels back to America to retrieve the necklace.  This poor guy’s eyes - it looks like eyes were painted on to his eyelids - start bulging out of his head.  They stay like that until he arrives in the sewers of New York City and transforms into something truly wicked because this shapeshifting mutant hates the sunlight.

Meanwhile, up top on the streets, one pissed-off waitress karate chops two fighting gangland creeps in a soul food-serving bar and, as Luke Curtis smiles proudly, her attack is only beginning.  Did he train her?  It certainly seems so.  If only he could live up to his namesake.  The turf gangs have had enough of each other and they are all about busting each other’s ass.  We know this because of the fierce and fuzzy bass-lines used in the funky organ heavy score by Patrick Adams. 

Something deadly is going down and, as a wild war between the gangs in New York City starts on the city blocks, an even wilder creature emerges from the subway in New York City and it might just unite the two gangs in order to bring about its defeat.  It’s slimy, does voice impersonations, can take any shape, and all it wants is the mirrored medallion.  Get ready to hurl! 

Code Red’s 2016 2K transfer from the original 35mm absolutely delivers a film viewing that is worth throwing a party over, if solely for the rambling old lady on the subway who insults everyone through the train as she makes her way out.  This is one hell of a B-movie that takes many, many U-turns in its meshing of three different genres.

Co-starring Brother Theodore, David Durston, and Fred Berner, Devil’s Express does not do things by the legal “white” way.  Instead it bitch slaps its way out of the sewers with one fierce kick after another.  Cinematic karate chopping trash like the crazy-eyes Devil’s Express is rarely as entertaining as this, especially when it gets taken, kicking and screaming, right out the back door of the theater. 

Take a ride on Devil’s Express

Devil's Express (1976) - Blu-ray Review

MPAA Rating: R.
Runtime:
82 mins
Director
: Barry Rosen
Writer:
Barry Rosen, Niki Patton
Cast:
Elsie Roman, Warhawk Tanzania, Larry Fleischman
Genre
: Horror | Action
Tagline:
Take the Express train to TERROR!!!
Memorable Movie Quote: "Take. Your. Hand. Off."
Theatrical Distributor:
Howard Mahler Films
Official Site:
Release Date:
September 7, 1976
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
November 9, 2017
Synopsis: New York Master Martial Artist Luke goes to Hong Kong to earn his next level in the Martial Arts world. He convinces his student Rodan to accompany him. Once they arrive, they come across an ancient burial site and find an amulet that holds a horrific demon creature in its power. Not knowing what the amulet was for, Rodan steals it and takes it back to gang infested New York City, only for the demon to come to New York to find it! The demon travels through the New York city subway tunnels as it preys on it's victims, including Rodan himself! The police think all the killings are a result of gang wars, but Luke soon finds out the terrifying truth and seeks out to avenge the death of his student! Luke must confront the horrifying demon face to face and do battle in the underground subways, where the only train that runs that late is the Devil’s Express!

Devil's Express (1976) - Blu-ray Review

Blu-ray

Blu-ray Details:

Home Video Distributor: Code Red
Available on Blu-ray
- November 09, 2017
Screen Formats: 2.35:1
Subtitles
: None
Audio:
English: DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0
Discs: Blu-ray Disc; single disc
Region Encoding: Locked to Region A

Code Red presents this gritty classic with a brand new 2016 2K restoration that is presented with a 1.78:1 aspect ratio and a DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 that doesn’t disappoint.  The city is crackling with expression throughout Devil's Express.  The transfer is full of good colors and crisp details in its green and orange trappings.  Fabric textures in clothing are visible, especially in the final gold outfit.  Reds are bold.  Blues are strong and so are blacks, with the shadows maintaining their depth.  Most of the sequences are vivid and expressed with a new clarity thanks to HD upgrade.

Supplements:

Commentary:

  • None

Special Features:

While a reversible slipcover and limited edition sleeve are included, the only special features are a collection of Code Red trailers, including the one for the movie.

  • Trailers

Devil's Express (1976) - Blu-ray Review

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