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No Resistance (Saturn’s Core) Blu-ray Review

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    Ian Jane
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  • No Resistance (Saturn’s Core) Blu-ray Review

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    Released by: Saturn’s Core
    Released on: June 28th, 2022.
    Director: Tim Thomson
    Cast: David Rains, Chris Jones, Wendy M. Frasier, Irving Cutter, Bliss Blood
    Year: 1994
    Purchase From Amazon

    No Resistance – Movie Review:

    Directed by Tim Thomson from a script he worked on with Irving Cutter IV, David Rains (who, together, formed Lunatic Fringe Productions), No Resistance is a rare sci-fi cyberpunk film from the SOV era on the early nineties, a picture that stands out in an arena that was populated almost entirely by horror movies.

    The film takes place in Houston, Texas (where it was shot) and is set in what was then the near future. America has fallen and the country is in disarray. The government is a mess and the financial system’s collapse has left the country a complete and utter mess. Here we meet Dij (played by co-writer Rains), a pink-haired hacker type who offers up his services to the highest bidder. Clad almost constantly in a trench coat and dark shades, Dij’s laptop is never far away, since he keeps it in a holster. This gives him the ability to do his work on the go, which makes it tough for his opponents to figure out where he is at any given time.

    When Dij is approached by a mysterious group of terrorists who want him to help them get their hands on a computer virus that they could use as a weapon, he takes the job but it isn’t long before he starts to question just what exactly these guys are up to, what they want from him, and what he can do to stop them.

    Shot without permits and with a miniscule budget, No Resistance has a lot stacked against it, given that it’s a sci-fi film attempting to convince us that it takes place in the future. And while it may always look like the early nineties to most viewers, Thomson and company show an almost staggering amount of ambition here, proving that drive and creativity are always more important than money. Borrowing from everything from Yojimbo to William Gibson to Dashiell Hammett to German industrial music, the script clearly had a lot of thought put into it, and would could have just been a goofy, cheapjack attempt to cash in on the expanding SOV market turns out to be a pretty interesting no-budget feature.

    Granted, the movie can’t help but wear its poverty row production values on its sleeve but the crew did a great job finding interesting locations that work quite well and the compositions and cinematography wind up doing a really good job of capturing it all. The acting isn’t always great but for a movie made with a cast that didn’t really have a lot of experience in front of the camera, it isn’t bad. Rains makes for a pretty fun lead, he’s watchable and makes a memorably strange impression with his shock-pink hair and surly demeanor. Dij isn’t a nice guy or a hero at all but Rains’ work and the decent script make sure that we want to see how his plight turns out.

    On top of that, the movie benefits from a genuinely awesome soundtrack made primarily of industrial and ambient tracks, most of which were performed by The Pain Teens, who were active in the Houston music scene from the mid-eighties into the mid-nineties. The quality of the music makes a really big difference and adds an immense amount of quality to the overall tone and feel of the movie.

    No Resistance – Blu-ray Review:

    Both versions of No Resistance comes to region free Blu-ray in an AVC encoded 1080i high definition transfer that was transferred from an analogue source. Framed at 1.33.1 with the sixty-six minute feature taking up 25.19GBs of space on the 50GB disc, this looks about as good as it probably can. Originally shot on S-VHS, the analogue source wears its limitations on its sleeve but the image is stable and pretty clean. Detail is about as good as it can get but the disc gives the feature strong bit rate so compression isn’t really ever an issue. Colors look pretty bright, when they’re supposed to at least. This definitely looks better than your average SOV/tape to Blu-ray transfer.

    The 24-bit DTS-HD 2.0 audio, available with optional English subtitles, sounds fine for a micro-budget SOV production shot in 1991. Levels are balanced well enough and there isn’t too much in the way of hiss or distortion to complain about (though you’ll notice it in a few spots). Again, the limitations of the source material do factor into the equation here, but overall, given the film’s roots, the audio is decent.

    Extras for the feature attraction start off with an audio commentary with writer/director Tim Thomson, producer Michael Schneider Jr., writer/actor David Rains and writer/actor Irving Cutter. They talk about how much Houston has changed since the movie was made in 1990, who did what behind the camera, what some of the contributors have been up to since the movie was made, where the different cast members came from, the different sunglasses that specific characters wear in the movie, the influence of thirties crime films and William Gibson on the story, the different locations featured in the movie, the film's soundtrack and the Pain Teens' involvement in the movie, what it was like on set, some of the problems that having no real budget brought about, getting creative with effects and props and plenty of other topics.

    A second audio commentary/music track features Thomson, Schneider Jr. and musician Scott Ayers of Pain Teens. They talk about how they came to be involved with the movie, what it was like working on it and how much fun they had. The commentary cuts out when the soundtrack kicks in, which we hear separated from the movie. In between tracks we learn about the use of cassette players and reel to reel players rather than computers, what went into the sound design, what they were going for with the compositions, instruments that were used and why, the acoustics used when recording and more.

    Cyberpunk Yojimbo is an interview with director Tim Thomson that runs for twenty-eight minutes. He talks about shooting the feature on S-VHS in 1992 in Texas, how it was the first feature length production of Lunatic Fringe Productions, how most of the people who worked on the movie were friends from high school since the early eighties, where some of the ideas and inspiration for the movie came from, the influence of Decoder, creating the characters that populate the movie, the video technology that they had to work with when they made the movie, what went into post-production, literally hand-selling the films on VHS through the mail or to alternative video stores around the country, what happened to the crew after the movie was finished and the repeated requests that he’s had over the years for a sequel, writing a screenplay for a second film that was never made.

    No Re: is a pitch trailer for the proposed No Resistance original TV series that is available with optional audio commentary. This two minute piece was done in an attempt to get the Sci-Fi Channel interested in a series that would continue the adventures of Dij in half hour episodes. It didn’t work and the series was never optioned but it’s interesting to see this included here.

    Finishing up the extras on the disc are music videos for "Coral Kiss" by Pain Teens available with two optional audio commentaries, “White Bunnies” by Truth Decay with optional commentary and “3” by dr:op:fr:am+e as well as six minutes of deleted scenes with commentary from Thomson. There are also two trailers for No Resistance included here as well as bonus trailers for Mail Order Murder, Sinistre, Red Spirit Lake, Pyscho Sisters, Duck! The Carbine High Massacre, Shatter Dead and We Await included on the disc as well as menus and chapter selection options.

    This release comes packaged with some reversible cover sleeve art.

    No Resistance – The Final Word:

    No Resistance is almost shockingly ambitious for a micro-budget SOV feature from the early nineties. It doesn’t always hit its mark but damn it all if the filmmakers don’t get full points for trying, and the competency level on display is definitely a lot higher than average. Set to a killer soundtrack, it’s a movie worth seeking out for anyone who can appreciate sci-fi SOV or cyberpunk stories and the Blu-ray release from Saturn’s Core presents it looking and sounding as good as it probably can and with a really impressive selection of extra features as well.


    Click on the images below, or right click and open in a new window, for full sized No Resistance Blu-ray screen caps!

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