Death Machines - Death Machines( Blu Ray/DVD) [Vinegar Syndrome - 2017]Death Machines is a slice of cheesy, but unpredictable action bound 70’s exploitation. Blending together elements of martial arts, cop & action films, with side-lines into semimetal drama & sci-fi. From Vinegar Syndrome, here’s a duel Blu Ray & DVD reissue of the film.
Made in 1976 Death Machines was the directorial debut of martial artists & ex-Air Force cameraman turned film-maker Paul Kyriazi( The Weapons of Death, Ninja Busters, and Omega Cop). Like many exploitation films of the period, the film had a fair amount of interference from the distributors(Crown Films), and that’s really what makes Death Machines such an enjoyable-if-unpredictable ride. Initially, Kyriazi wanted it to be a pure martial arts film, but at the time Death Race 2000 & Rollerball where big hits- so at the last minute sci-fi credits & themes were added in. With the plot of the final film following three un-killable ‘death machines’, and their shady female oriental handler, as they try to take over the cites crime boss.
So you get a mixture of OTT set pieces- like henchmen been flattered in a phone box by a digger, trucks going into the front of restaurants to kill one man, or one person been blown up with a rocket launchers. Haphazard & corny flight scenes, lots of explosions, the odd flash of female flesh. All soundtracked by a blend of stretching-to-swirling synth craft and pared back beats. Oh, and you get a very sentimental & cheesy romantic plot lined added in too, and at points, this threatens to completely lose the pace & plot of the whole thing. It certainly is a ride of a film, and on my first run through it really did offer up some surprising twists & turns, both in mood & action.
As this type of thing goes the acting is passable, and the whole things filmed well enough. So you wouldn’t really call it the ‘classic bad movie’- more of a cheesy slice of exploitation, with what-the-hell moments.
For this release, you get the film on both region free Blu ray & DVD, and as you’d expect from Vinegar Syndrome you get a great new transfer- with the film looking better than it has any right to look, with the 70’s color scheme coming to bold life. Extra wise you get a commentary from Mr. Kyriazi- this is somewhat mixed it’s quality- moving between interesting stories & facts about the film, to rather bland retreads of the same information again, and worse of all in the last quarter of the track you get really annoying microphone scraping!. We also get an interview with two of the ‘death machines’- one is filmed, and the other is skype interview- these are ok, though they do seem to focus more on each actor's wider career, instead of the film it’s self. You also get the films original trailer and teaser trailer too.
On the whole, if you enjoy cheesy & unpredictable action films it’s certainly worth picking up this release from Vinegar Syndrome. And I look forward to seeing what other wacky & obscure action films they uncover in the future.Roger Batty