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Blu-Ray Review: Kino Lorber’s Impasse (KL Studio Classics)


Burt Reynolds in a Treasure Hunt set in The Philippines equals Forgotten Movie Gold.  Kino Lorber releases the long out of print Impasse with a new 2K Master

The Movie

I’m in it for the juice. 

Allow me to elaborate on this.  The juice is that feeling when you were a kid on Christmas day right before you open presents.  It’s that nervy feeling that you’ve found something special that connects with you in a magical way.  It bounds you to it like an addict, chasing the dragon, trying to search for that original pure uncut shit.  That’s the juice.  

Movies are juice for me.  

That never-ending chase for that feeling of magical joy.  Sometimes it creeps up in the most expected of ways for me (see The Matrix Resurrections).  Sometimes it hits me in the most unexpected of ways (see Wife of a Spy).  The most common is in between.

Enter Impasse.

This shot on location in the Philippines tale of treasure hunters looking for the millions of dollars in gold that was hidden by the military is the kind of low-key affair that could be boring to some but to this reviewer is riveting.  Part of the beauty of Impasse is that it believes in the slow build and slow pay off.  What it excels at is the sort of messy realities colliding with fevered dreams of fortune.  From the moment you see Reynold’s Morrison begins to round up the usual suspects of “professionals” to help him find the gold we know that it’s going to be a shit show.

The script by John C Higgins understands this tale of fortune and glory is a slow ride into incompetence and to delight in these characters attempting a form of competence.  In the center of this chaos and stupidity is Reynold, both dramatically and comedically, the frustrated leader that no matter what he does continues to end up in quicksand.  Vic Diaz, Lyle Bettger, and Rodolfo Acosta are the three blind mice (literal, you’ll understand once you watch) that Reynold’s Morrison just can’t get in line long enough for success.

Though for some getting to the crux of the film with the methodical character buildup of the first 60-minutes could be a test. Those with patience will be rewarded.  There’s a messiness that unfurls in the third act that is beautifully staged by director Richard Benedict and cinematographer Mars B Rasca that ties it to the character-based first two acts.  Impasse is so diligent in its anti-hero’s plans gone astray one wonders if the film was an early reference for the Coen Brothers and their clockwork-like precision of plans gone awry.  

The Transfer

The Brand New 2K Master is yes a huge leap forward in terms of quality.  Gone are the murky look of the VHS and early-era DVD.  That said, the source is a bit troubling.  No, doubt this is the last surviving print they mastered from which definitely shows some signs of wear, including some scratches in print.  That being said the image is sharp and clear in a way that previous editions were not and Kino Lorber has done a great job with elevating the presentation of this long ago forgotten piece of action cinema.  

The Extras

They include the following;

  • Theatrical Trailer

Included are theatrical trailers for Impasse (2:16), 100 Rifles (2:56), Skullduggery (2:19), Fuzz (2:59), White Lighting (2:26), Gator (1:09), Semi-Tough (2:11), Malone (2:00), Stick (1:12), Breaking In (2:04) 

The Final Thought

Burt fans rejoice.  Another long-forgotten vehicle has made its hi-def debut thanks to Kino Lorber.  Recommended!!!! 

Kino Lorber’s Blu-Ray Edition of Impasse is out January 11th

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