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The Coca Cola Kid (Fun City Editions) Blu-ray Review

    Ian Jane

  • The Coca Cola Kid (Fun City Editions) Blu-ray Review

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    Released by: Fun City Editions
    Released on: June 28th, 2022.
    Director: Dusan Makavejev
    Cast: Eric Roberts, Greta Scacchi, Bill Kerr, Chris Haywood, Max Gillies
    Year: 1985
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    The Coca Cola Kid – Movie Review:

    Director Dusan Makavejev’s 1985 picture, The Coca Cola Kid, stars Eric Roberts as Becker, he’s a hot shot ‘troubleshooter’ who works for the Coca Cola Company. His employer wants to gobble up a local, small scale soda company in Australia and when they refuse to go along with the plan, Becker is sent in to work his magic and make it happen.

    Becker arrives on schedule and figures he shouldn’t have too much trouble getting the job done, but McDowell (Bill Kerr), the man who owns the smaller soda company, really doesn’t want to budge on the issue. As Becker goes about trying to do what he can, he forms a relationship with the quirky, pretty company secretary, Terri (Greta Scacci).

    Based on a series of short stories written by Frank Moorehouse who adapted them on his own into the screenplay that Dusan Makavejev used for the feature, The Coca Cola Kid is a very different movie from some of the director's earlier, more experimental efforts such as WR: Mysteries of the Organism and the notorious Sweet Movie that he made back in his native Serbia before leaving his homeland and making a go at more mainstream work with Montenegro in 1981. Clearly made as a more commercial effort and with a recognizable ‘name actor’ in the lead role, it lacks a lot of the weirdness that made some of his earlier work as compelling as it is, yet still remains a really entertaining and clever picture that’s worth checking out. Makavejev’s tendencies to point out the absurd and to work strange, offbeat humor into his work still shines through in The Coca Cola Kid, and the film doesn’t lack in social commentary or quirky humor.

    Shot in and around Sydney and The Blue Mountains in Australia by cinematographer Dean Semler (the man who shot Mad Max), the film always looks great and has nice production values. The movie also benefits from a pretty strong score and some catchy musical numbers worked into the film’s soundtrack.

    The acting is strong here. Roberts is the right choice for the lead, he does cocky and confident well but when the storyline takes a few twists into more dramatic territory, he’s able to shift gears and make Becker a very human character which works quite well. Supporting work from Bill Kerr is great and Greta Scacci is every bit as good as Roberts is, cast here in what is essentially the female lead role.

    The Coca Cola Kid – Blu-ray Review:

    The Coca Cola Kid comes to region A Blu-ray restored in 2k from its 35mm interpositive on a 50GB disc with the feature using up 30.4GBs of space on a 50GB disc and framed at 1.85.1 widescreen. Like pretty much everything that Fun City Editions has released so far, this transfer looks nice and filmic. There’s plenty of natural looking film grain here, but very little in the way of actual print damage, just the odd white speck now and again that most won’t likely notice in the first place. Colors look excellent, black levels too. There’s really strong detail throughout and nice depth and texture to the picture as well. No complaints here, the movie looks really nice on this disc.

    The only audio option is a 24-bit LPCM 2.0 Mono track. Optional subtitles are offered in English. No problems with the audio to note, the dialogue is easy to understand and follow, there’s a bit of depth to the score and effects and the track is free of any hiss or distortion. The levels are properly balanced and there’s no audible sibilance to complain about, it all sounds very good.

    Extras start off with a newly recorded audio commentary by film programmer Lars Nilsen and Fun City Editions' Jonathan Hertzberg. They discuss the extensive disclaimer that precedes the movies, writer Frank Moorehouse's career, the different cast members that appear in the picture, Edwards' starring turn in the film and the qualities of his work in the picture, Dusan Makavejev and his being heavily influenced by Disney cartoons, the sound design incorporated into the movie, how the social and political climate of the day may have influenced the film, whether or not the film was meant to be a commerical success or not, some of the themes that the picture explores and deals with, the film's score and the use of music in it and plenty more. It's a pretty interesting dissection of the film.

    Dark And Bubbly is a new interview with star Eric Roberts that runs for eleven minutes and which goes over where he was at during this period of his career, some of the early films he was involved with, going method for this and other roles, how much he enjoyed working on this picture and spending time in Australia, getting along with Dusan Makavejev and Greta Scacchi and more.

    The Real Thing is an archival video interview with star Greta Scacchi and producer David Roe that runs for thirty-two minutes. This featurette covers what drew Roe to the film in the first place, working with Makavejev and initial thoughts on his style and some of the difficulties that arose on their collaboration. We also learn how Scacchi came to be involved in the shoot, how Roberts wound up in a role meant for Dennis Quaid, what Roberts was like on set and some of the oddities involved in shooting their love scene together.

    Finishing up the extras on the disc is a still gallery, a theatrical trailer, menus and chapter selections.

    The release also comes with some nice double-sided cover sleeve art and an insert booklet featuring an essay on the film written by Spike Carter called ‘Soda Pop Hegemony as well as cast and crew information for the feature and some nice archival still photos.

    The Coca Cola Kid - The Final Word:

    The Coca Cola Kid is an interesting, quirky comedy with some strong performances and good production values. Fun City Editions’ Blu-ray release presents the movie in an excellent presentation and with some nice extra features as well. Recommended.

    Click on the images below, or right click and open in a new window, for full sized The Coca Cola Kid Blu-ray screen caps!

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