If you get deep enough into the cult movie scene, it’s easy to feel like you’ve seen it all and there are no surprises left to discover. Thankfully, the more resourceful and adventurous indie labels are capable of turning up titles that will change your mind. Synapse is one of those labels – and they’ve just released a little gem of a war movie from Australia entitled The Odd Angry Shot. Better yet, they’ve issued this title on blu-ray and the results stack to their usual standards of hi-def quality.
The transfer does well by the film, using vault materials as the source for the disc’s HD master. The resulting anamorphic transfer is strikingly clear in its details, particularly in the jungle-set footage, and offers a rich color palette to capture the film’s primarily outdoor settings. The materials have a little damage – namely some brief splices you might catch here and there – but this is a minor issue and the overall presentation is very impressive. The HD audio uses the film’s original mono mix and it’s a well-rounded vintage blend that sounds suitably robust on the blu-ray.
A handful of extras have been included for this release. The most substantial of the bunch is a commentary track featuring writer/director/producer Tom Jeffrey, co-producer Sue Milliken and actor Graeme Blundell. The three participants cover a lot of territory: the major focal points are the challenges of doing a war movie on a tight budget in Australia, the complex critical reaction provoked by the film’s mixture of anti-war and pro-soldier sentiments and discussion of the different acting styles. Blundell is a big help in the latter respect, discussing his admiration for his castmates’ work and adding a gentle note of humor to the proceedings. The resulting track is both informative and an easy listen.
Also included are a theatrical trailer and a brief featurette. The trailer is unique because it contains it is narrated via a song that doesn’t appear in the film that sells the film as a tale of “Aussies being Aussies.” The lyrics tell a story in a way reminiscent of the songs Jerry Reed did for the Smokey And The Bandit films. The featurette is an interview with stunt coordinator Buddy Joe Hooker, who was imported from Hollywood to choreograph a large-scale brawl in the film. He talks about his admiration for the Australian contribution to the Vietnam War and discusses the challenges of choreographing a fight in a country that doesn’t have a lot of trained stuntmen.
In short, Synapse have done a fine job here, unearthing a deserving gem for the cult movie brigade and giving it an A/V treatment worthy of a major studio label (plus some extras, to boot). It’s proof positive that cult movie fans still have plenty of gems left to discover.
To read the Schlockmania film review of The Odd Angry Shot, click here.