Shout Factory has been serving up gold for lovers of cult classic films for quite some time now. Among my favorites are their double features, usually featuring films you never thought would get released but are cult classic gems. This week we get a nice double helping of 70s/80s goodness.
First up is I Escaped from Devil’s Island is a 1973 Jim Brown feature about a group of convicts led by Le Bras (Brown) in the early 1900’s planning a daring escape from the famous prison in French Guiana. Kind of an exploitation version of Papillon, I Escaped from Devil’s Island has all the trappings of action films of the time when the group of convicts encounters everything from scantily clad native women to leper colonies to sharks on their trek to escape. This one is not a classic by any means but anyone looking for a fun adventure flick will enjoy this Roger Corman production. The transfer is pretty good too, so it is a fun addition to retro movie night.
The second feature was the real winner for me. The Final Option is a 1982 action thriller starring Lewis Collins as an elite British Special Air Service (SAS) Captain who goes undercover in a fanatical political group called The People’s Lobby to stop them from their plan to hold US dignitaries hostage.
The film was really hailed as a glamourized look at how the infamous SAS worked tactically and is quite effective as an action thriller with this at its core. Collins is excellent in the lead role with Edward Woodward putting in an excellent supporting role as well. The plot is interesting and definitely inspired by some real life events and while the story does slow down a little in the political ramblings, the action sequences are excellent and very well executed.
I would wager the filmmakers probably had actual SAS consultants on the set as the action seems very realistic and true to life. The transfer is very nice and clean for an older film with nice clarity and detail. The soundtrack is also impressive, especially during the action. The Final Option is a keeper and getting the Jim Brown flick thrown in is just icing on the cake!
Shout Factory, keep it up! This is a stellar release for retro film fans!
Available now on Blu-ray.
I Escaped from Devil’s Island:
The Final Option: