A slow week for new releases was supplemented by some obscure flicks and a vintage television series that were all worth seeking out.
“The Raid 2” — If you liked the first effort, subtitled “The Redemption,” then you are in for a treat. The first flick had a good cop trying to flee a mob-controlled apartment complex, but this one opens up the action. Our high-kicking officer is now forced to infiltrate a crime family and prove a connection to the police department. The dramatic elements add to the running time and make this over two hours, but they don’t skimp on the action. You get more bone-breaking fights, including one which tops anything I’ve seen since Bruce Lee faced down an army of thugs in “Enter the Dragon.” You are also treated to a car chase that rivals William Friedkin’s work in “The French Connection.”
“Caught” — Film noir fans can rejoice that this little-seen effort has finally hit home video. The simple plot finds a young woman leaving her manipulative tycoon husband to work for an idealistic doctor. What sells this story are the tight visuals and dark mood that noir fans crave. Robert Ryan steals it as the rich spouse who was based on Howard Hughes. James Mason is on hand as the stalwart doctor, and Barbara Bel Geddes is just fine as the wife on the run.
“Jodorowsky’s Dune” — If you have read any books about unmade films, then you already have heard about this opus that was planned by the director of “El Topo.” What you may not know is that millions were spent designing the film that never got made, as well as commissioning a script and developing a look for the flick. Here, you get to meet the people behind the greatest sci-fi film never made. The cast alone would have been amazing, with Orson Welles, David Carradine and Salvador Dali all on board. This documentary also shares artwork and costume designs by the likes of Moebius and H.R. Giger.
“The Big Valley: Season 3” — Barbara Stanwyck is back as the matriarch of a ranch, overseeing her family business alongside her sons Richard Long, Lee Majors and Peter Breck, and one daughter, Linda Evans. The third season has been long in coming but looks fantastic and is filled with solid guest stars like James Whitmore, Milton Berle, Yaphet Kotto and Charles Grodin. Despite good scripts, solid camerawork and excellent location shooting, this excellent Western would bite the dust after its next season.