Uncle Sam

Uncle Sam (1997)
Blue Underground
Cast: Bo Hoskins, P.J. Soles, Timothy Bottoms, Isaac Hayes, Robert Forster, William Smith
Extras: Commentary Tracks, Featurette, Trailer, Photo Gallery

Blue Underground has prepared a brand new release of William Lustig’s walking-dead shocker ’Uncle Sam.’ The film tells the revenge prowl of a marine who got killed in friendly fire during the first Gulf War. He rises from the Dead just before July 4th to punish the unpatriotic in his hometown and clad in a star-spangled Uncle Sam costume the undead soldier mingles with the townspeople in search for his victims.

’Uncle Sam’ has a good dose of cult, and a small dose of tits & ass going for it, even though the film has a few weaknesses, such as an overly long exposition and a lack of real suspense and tension at times. Still, it is an enjoyable horror flick that follows in the footsteps of the 80s stalker genre.

The DVD features a great-looking anamorphic widescreen presentation of the movie that is free of blemishes. The images is very clean and stable and is virtually free of noise once you get past the opening credits. In fact, the image looked better and vibrant than I had ever imagined it could look with its balanced colors, high level of detail and solid black levels. The compression is without flaws and free of artifacts.

Audio comes as a 5.1 channel Dolby Digital track as well a Dolby surround track. The film makes good use of the surround channels and offers some aggressive moments along with good ambient effects perfectly mixed to create a wide sound field. Bass extension is good and the high ends are very clear and without distortion.

The DVD contains two commentary tracks. The first one is a brand new commentary featuring director William Lustig, writer Larry Cohen and producer George Braunstein as they recapture the making of the movie and the tribulations the production went through. It is an exciting and animated conversation for the most part that gives you a very good impression about the intentions the filmmakers had when they tackled this project.
The second audio commentary is a track featuring William Lustig along with actor Isaac Hayes. It is the same track that was part of the movie’s previous DVD release through Elite Entertainment. This track also offers some nice insights but is not nearly as informative as the new one, I found.

A featurette on the incredible fire stunts in the film is also included on the DVD with an optional commentary by stunt coordinator Spiro Razatos. It is an intriguing look at how these stunts were performed and giving you a bit of an idea just how dangerous these stunts are, especially given the on-screen time of the full-body burn during the movie’s climax.

The movie’s threatrical trailer and a photo gallery round out this DVD.

’Uncle Sam’ is a cult film and certainly not for everyone. I was surprised at the level of quality I found on this DVD as the film looks like a million bucks, and what more do you want?