|OpenFlix > Blood on the Sun|
To be honest, I didn't find the feature film on this DVD to be all that exciting. The plot is coherent and without any obvious flaws, and the characters have a lot of promise. It just isn't terribly enthralling. There's a fairly good fight sequence near the end, if that sort of thing interests you. Unfortunately, that sort of thing doesn't usually interest me, and nothing leading up to that had given me any emotional investment in either of the factions. James Cagney's acting is quite good, and, as always, he commands quite a presence on the screen. It's unfortunate that he's one of the only interesting things to watch in this film.
The picture quality is actually fairly good which is a bonus when you consider how cheap the disc is. The picture is the tiniest bit fuzzy at points, but for the most part it's ahead of many other budget DVDs. The sound quality is certainly acceptable, if not the clearest thing you'll ever hear. If you've already seen and enjoyed this movie and are wondering which DVD version you should buy, know that you could do a lot worse than the Laserlight edition.
The included documentary JAMES CAGNEY ON FILM runs 36 minutes long and is a fairly formulaic piece, very similar to the other such programs that Laserlight has included on their DVDs. It's a fairly tame short piece, made up primarily of an uninspired voice-over speaking while the camera pans over numerous black and white publicity shots of Cagney. A few film trailers make up the rest of the action. I didn't know much of anything about James Cagney before, so I found the information to be interesting, albeit a bit dry. I speculate that any real Cagney fans would probably know much, if not everything that this documentary covers.
Tony Curtis' introduction here sees the man in one of his most bizarre spots yet. The short, black, leather gloves from his other Laserlight DVD comments are back with a vengeance here, and they help turn what would otherwise be a short, forgettable James Cagney impersonation into good old-fashioned nightmare fuel. He gives a brief history of James Cagney's career that manages to be utterly divergent from the story that the documentary gave. I can only assume that someone held the wrong cue-cards that day.
All in all, I didn't care much for this DVD. If you're a huge fan of James Cagney's work, then it might be worth your while to pick up, but if not, I'd recommend trying something else. The documentary isn't bad, but it's not something that makes the disc attractive by itself.
Cagney is a crusading newspaper editor in 1930s Japan who's come into possession of the "Tanaka Plan" for world domination. Amidst political intrigue and crossed loyalties, Cagney must now find a way to warn the outside world. A fine, entertaining melodrama that's based in fact, with Cagney as good as ever, but this time with judo chops. If only the Japanese knew some kind of hand-to-hand combat, they might be able to stand a chance against Cagney. Dated only by its condescension toward the Japanese,Blood on the Sun never slacks its pace, providing quick-witted patter all along in the mark of the classic Hollywood style. It seems peculiarly American (in an inadvertent way, of course) that in the film's final moments the day should be saved by none other than Ward Cleaver (Hugh Beaumont). Curiously, this is one DVD from Master Movies that does not contain optional Japanese subtitles. It does, however, have copious bios of the stars and filmmakers, and a crystal-clear picture.--Jim Gay
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