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King of the Mountain (1981) - Blu-ray Review

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King of the Mountain (1981)

Think you know street racing, son?  If you haven’t seen Harry Hamlin (Clash of the Titans), Dennis Hopper (Blue Velvet), and Dan Haggerty (Grizzly Adams) go at it beneath the twinkling stars of Los Angeles, then you don’t know shit about driving fast on city streets.

King of the Mountain, now on blu-ray thanks to this impeccable 2K transfer from Scorpion Releasing and Kino Lorber, is absolutely LIT with vehicular mayhem.  The movie doesn’t simply move along from location to location, this gear-headed masterpiece FLEXES and it decimates all other wannabe racing flicks in its wake.

"While the drama might be a little light-footed, the vehicles and the action more than makes up for it"


Directed by Noel Nosseck (Youngblood), King of the Mountain is the ripped tale of Steve (Hamlin) and his reign as the “King” in the Los Angeles streets.  He is a part of what used to be a REAL group of street racers in the late 1970s and early 1980s and the hills over Los Angeles belong to him and his highly tuned 356 Speedster.  It doesn’t matter if you are a young blood or a grizzled veteran, Steve and his friends will accept your challenge.

At least, that’s how it used to be.  Steve once raced against his friends Buddy (Joseph Bottoms, Blind Date, The Dove, The Black Hole) and Roger (Richard Cox, Seizure, Hell Hole, The Vindicator), but now his friends’ focus has shifted away from racing in favor of potential careers in the music industry, leaving Steve to reign as King alone. 

Steve is egged on by Cal (Hopper), the former King of the Mountain, to keep on keeping on.  His friends are misguided, after all.  But all of that washes away when Steve meets Tina (Deborah Van Valkenburgh, The Warriors, Too Close for Comfort).  Now, he is torn between choosing Tina over his life as a racer and continuing being the King. King of the Mountain (1981)

Co-starring the aforementioned Dan Haggerty (Grizzly Adams, Condominiums, Elves), Seymour Cassel (California Dreaming, Minnie and Moskowitz, Dick Tracy), and featuring a soundtrack that includes Robert Palmer’s “Looking for Clues”, King of the Mountain is seriously brought to life with some epic scenes of street racing and, littered with REAL street racers, the film brings to life a historic time capsule of deadly desires.

Most of us came to know King of the Mountain thanks to its repeat plays on HBO.  The film is a straight-up raver as hard-hitting action scenes collide with some souped-up cars.  While the drama might be a little light-footed, the vehicles and the action more than makes up for it.  From the modified Porsche Speedster to the white Datsun 280-Z, there’s nothing straight-off the shelf about these vehicles and their flared-out fenders are proof enough of that, which makes this movie continue to BUMP.

Slide the disc in and buckle up, my friends.  The first three The Fast & The Furious flicks have nothing on the tight Sergio Valente jeans and Members Only jackets on display here.  King of the Mountain might be filled with lunatics, but that’s EXACTLY why we love it.  This flick is for fans of Pit Stop, Dirty Mary, Crazy Larry, and Two-Lane Blacktop.  

Floor it and get your copy now!

4/5 beers

King of the Mountain (1981)

Blu-ray

Blu-ray Details:

Home Video Distributor: Scorpion Releasing
Available on Blu-ray
- November 24, 2020
Screen Formats: 1.85:1
Subtitles
: English SDH
Audio:
English: DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 Mono
Discs: Blu-ray Disc; single disc
Region Encoding: Locked to Region A

Steve (Harry Hamlin, Clash of the Titans, Making Love, L.A. Law) works at a Porsche repair garage by day, and by night reigns as the "King of The Mountain", the most successful of a group that participate in races along Mulholland Drive on the hills over Los Angeles. In his highly tuned 356 Speedster, Steve races against both newcomers and veterans alike, and he is finding himself more along than usual.  When Steve meets Tina (Deborah Van Valkenburgh, The Warriors, Too Close for Comfort), Steve is also torn between choosing Tina over his life as a racer and continuing being the King. With a new 2020 2K transfer, Scorpion Releasing and Kino Lorber team up to provide this flick on blu-ray!

Video:

Framed in a 1.85:1 aspect ratio, King of the Mountain arrives on blu-ray thanks to the 2K transfer from Scorpion Releasing and Kino Lorber.  This is a brand-new 2K restoration and it shows with crisp colors and solid black levels, defining the edges of the cars as they race through the streets and do some death-defying turns.  The film is dominated with reds and greens that sparks with strong colors. It’s a low budget film, for sure, but the simple backgrounds burst with new details and a nice level of clarity. Black levels are solid and skin tones are natural.  This is, after all, a dark film. There are lots of night scenes; thankfully, the lines hold their edges. Shadows are defined and the film has a new depth previously unseen.

Audio:

A solid DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 brings this “Thunder Road” to life.

Supplements:

Commentary:

  • None

Special Features:

The lack of a commentary is made up by the new interviews from Hamlin and Nosseck.  Fans will be delighted to hear what they have to say about the making of the movie.  A theatrical trailer is also included. 

  • NEW Interview with Star Harry Hamlin
  • NEW Interview with Director Noel Nosseck
  • Theatrical Trailer

Blu-ray Rating:

  Movie 4/5 stars
  Video  4/5 stars
  Audio 3/5 stars
  Extras 4/5 stars

Composite Blu-ray Experience

4/5 stars

King of the Mountain (1981)

MPAA Rating: PG.
Runtime:
90 mins
Director
: Noel Nosseck
Writer:
Leigh Chapman; H.R. Christian
Cast:
Harry Hamlin, Joseph Bottoms, Deborah Van Valkenburgh
Genre
: Action
Tagline:
The race. The risk. The danger. It's worth it all to be...King of the Mountain.
Memorable Movie Quote: "You wanna be a record producer, or be your friends song schlepper? It's up to you, baby!"
Theatrical Distributor:
Universal Pictures
Official Site: https://www.thehustle.movie/
Release Date:
May 1, 1981
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
November 24, 2020.
Synopsis: Steve (Harry Hamlin, Clash of the Titans, Making Love, TV’s L.A. Law) works at a Porsche repair garage by day, and by night reigns as the “King of The Mountain”, the most successful of a group that participate in races along Mulholland Drive on the hills over Los Angeles.

King of the Mountain (1981)

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