Enemy Mine on Blu-ray

Tuesday, 21 June 2016 23:00 Written by 

Enemy Mine - out now on Blu-rayIn the late 21st Century, mankind is at war with an alien race called the Drac. Willis Davidge (Dennis Quaid – “The Day After Tomorrow”) is a hotshot pilot who is forced to crash land on a barren planet after a thrilling dogfight. Also stranded on the surface is a Drac (Louis Gossett Jr. – “An Officer and a Gentleman”), so Davidge is driven to kill his enemy before even thinking about finding food, water and shelter in this inhospitable place.

Despite their extreme animosity towards one another, the human and Drac are soon forced to put their differences aside as two brains working together stand a better chance of survival. Their future is uncertain, what with devastating meteor storms lashing down on them, extreme seasonal variances in weather, deadly native creatures out for their blood and the possibility that they may never be rescued by either race.

Around six months ago, the Eureka label released an excellent Blu-ray version of “Robinson Crusoe on Mars”; “Enemy Mine” is quite reminiscent of that movie, albeit with much more modern special effects and a less starchy approach to its story telling.

The plot bounds along and the film’s tone shifts just as rapidly, taking in a surprisingly wide gamut including plenty of humour, pathos, tension and aggressive action. We are occasionally permitted to relax with these two excellent characters but not for long!

Of the two roles, the Drac who is nick-named Jerry is by far the more subtle and layered part, and Gossett Jr. is remarkably good underneath the extensive, amphibian prosthetics. The mask the actor wears looks great whilst still allowing him to emote quote a bit, and he also injects a lot of feeling into his dialogue. The Drac speak with plenty of verbal tics, a bit like the Tenctonese in the “Alien Nation” film and TV series. Fortunately for Davidge and us, Jerry quickly learns to speak English!

Quaid is fine in the other starring role, though to my mind he cannot help coming off as a second-rate Harrison Ford. He simply does not have quite enough presence and charisma compared to the best of the best. Having said that, he does have a lot of fun bounding about the planet and getting into all sorts of scrapes. He is a good foil for the more serious Jerry.

The special effects are impressive, with pyrotechnics going off all over the place, excellently blended landscapes and some solid model work in the space combat scenes. The other sets are also imposing in scale, if lacking slightly in imagination.

Maurice Jarre’s excitable soundtrack nimbly keeps up with the action, and the direction by Wolfgang Peterson harks back to his more family-friendly side seen a year earlier in “The NeverEnding Story”, rather than the likes of perhaps his most famous film, “Das Boot”.

At the end of the day, “Enemy Mine” is a competent, exciting and entertaining ride that will not set the world on fire but has a deceptive amount of depth.

Special features on the disc include:

  • Extended scene
  • Trailer
  • Collectors’ booklet
  • Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard-of-hearing

The Blu-ray’s picture quality is very good, with plenty of detail and colour. This is all the more noticeable when you see the standard-def, non-touched-up trailer and extended scene.

“Enemy Mine” (1985) is out now, courtesy of Eureka Entertainment Ltd. The main feature has a running time of 108 minutes approx, carries a ‘12’ certificate and retails for £17.99, or less from www.culttvstore.com.

 

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