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Death Squad (Mondo Macabro) Blu-ray Review

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    Ian Jane
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  • Death Squad (Mondo Macabro) Blu-ray Review

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    Released by: Mondo Macabro
    Released on: April 9th, 2024.
    Director: Max Pecas
    Cast: Thierry de Carbonnières, Jean-Marc Maurel, Denis Karvil, Lillemour Jonsson
    Year: 1985
    Purchase From Amazon

    Death Squad – Movie Review:

    Also known as Brigade Of Death, French sleaze auteur Max Pecas’ 1985 film, Death Squad, opens with a night time scene outside of Paris in the Bois de Boulogne Forest where cars pass by a small gang of transsexual prostitutes hoping to make a few bucks of off the passersby. After a few minutes of this, two men, dressed in black leather and riding motorcycles, show up and gun down the prostitutes in cold blood.

    From here, we cut to the morgue where, Inspector Gerard Lattuada (Thierry de Carbonnières), of the Paris police department’s vice squad, is examining the bodies. He recognizes one of the victims of the shooting as Delores, an occasional police informant. As he starts investigating the circumstances surrounding the assault, he learns that a monster known only as ‘The Greek’ (Jean Pierre-Bernard) was behind the hit, wanting Dolores murdered for talking when he didn’t want her talking.

    Not willing to let the case go, Lattuada starts digging deeper and finds out that ‘The Greek’ hired a ruthless assassin named Costa (Jean-Marc Maurel) for the job and that this murderous lunatic is intent on taking control of the Parisian crime scene. Before you know it, a lot of people get killed, including Lattuada’s own sister, which sends our hero into the gutter of Paris’ underworld in an attempt to stop this lunatic from killing again and to get revenge for his dead sibling.

    Presented here completely uncut, Death Squad really is something to see. The movie has no qualms whatsoever about bombarding the viewer with an onslaught of sleaze, violence and exploitative elements, caring not one iota for political correctness and truly throwing caution to the wind. They really don’t make’em like this anymore! You know right from the start, when one of the transsexual prostitutes lifts up their dress and shows off the schlong that this movie is going to go into some strange territory, and once we shift to the morgue, where the naked victims of the shooting are displayed with massive wounds in their torsos, that Death Squad is going to deliver the exploitation goods (Mondo Macabro has noted that the movie was originally rated X by the French censorship board).

    As trashy as it is, however, the movie benefits from some seriously good production values. The cinematography is really solid and the movie is well-shot and benefits from solid lighting. The score suits the tone of the film well and the editing ensures that it always movies at a nice, quick pace – this one is never boring! The gore effects are also pretty strong, with plenty of nasty squib effects used for the shoot-out sequences and some more complex effects work used to effectively show off some limb severing lunacy.

    While you may find that you have a bit of trouble sorting out the characters in the first half hour or so of the movie but it definitely gets easier to follow after that. The acting is solid, across the board, and keep your eye out for a cameo from none other than Brigitte Lahaie who show sup in a small role. The movie is pretty sleazy and it gets darker than you think it will at times. Overall, however, Death Squad is a pretty solid watch and the ending is seriously awesome.

    Death Squad – Blu-ray Review:

    Death Squad arrives on Blu-ray, in its North American home video debut, from Mondo Macabro with in an AVC encoded 1080p high definition transfer framed at 1.85.1 widescreen on a region free 50GB disc taken from a new 4k restoration of the original 35mm negative. Picture quality looks great. The image is clean and stable, showing no real print damage but retaining a proper amount of expected film grain and always looking like a solid, organic, film-based transfer. Detail is quite strong and there’s good depth and texture to the image. Color reproduction is excellent and we get nice, deep black levels and natural looking skin tones on a transfer free of edge enhancement, noise reduction or compression issues.

    A French track is provided in 16-bit DTS-HD 2.0 Mono and English language option in 24-bit DTS-HD 2.0 Mono with subtitles available in English only. The English track has a little bit of hum in the background that is noticeable here and there that isn’t on the French track, which sounds cleaner but has slightly lower levels (easily compensated for by turning things up just a bit). Aside from that, no issues to note here, dialogue is clean and clear and the audio well-balanced without any hiss, distortion or sibilance issues to note.

    Extras start off with an interview with Thierry de Carbonnières titled 'Shock Cop.' This thirty-four minute piece goes over how he got into acting, his early days in the business, getting his start in television, how he originally connected with Max Pecas and landing the lead role for the movie. He also talks about doing the motorcycle scenes, how his character is a thug and a cop at the same time, what it was like wandering around town with a gun and how weapons were used on set, why he regrets not having built a career off of this, what Pecas was like to work with, stunt work on set, getting along with his co-stars, how he feels about his work in the movie and the movie overall.

    Up next is an interview with Olivia Dutron titled 'Beautiful, Blonde And Tanned' that runs twenty-two minutes and covers how she was still in acting school when she got her start, what it was like working with Pecas for the first time and how kind and charming he was, how making films with him felt like going on vacation, her approach to acting, getting along with the cast and crew, her initial thoughts on the script, not preparing for the film ahead of time at all, how much fun it was on set, how different it is to act in film versus theater and other projects that she's been involved with over the years.

    We also get an interview with Jean-Claude Couty running twenty-four minutes titled 'Photographer Of Morals' where he talks about how he got into the film industry, early work as an editor, doing some assistant director work in addition to editing, early collaborations, how he met and started to work with Pecas, shooting on location with Pecas and how much he enjoyed working with him, how he wound up shooting Death Squad, the challenges involved in shooting in Paris, details on locations used for the shoot, what it was like on set and other projects that he worked on.

    A trailer for the feature, the Mondo Macabro promo reel, menus and chapter selection options are also included.

    Death Squad - The Final Word:

    Death Squad is a sleaze-tastic trashterpiece of exploitation moviemaking, a grubby film that throws political correctness out the window and just goes for it. The Blu-ray release from Mondo Macabro is a good one, presenting the film in a very strong presentation and with some pretty interesting extra features documenting its history. Highly recommended, so long as you know what you’re getting into!



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

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