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


Burt Reynolds is Malone and Malone is about to kick some ass.  Kino Lorber brings a new Special Edition to Blu-Ray

The Film 

Malone is a compact piece of badassery.  Harley Cokliss is the perfect director to take the iconic legend Burt Reynolds into a modern-day western.  

This modern-day Western trades the gunslinger for a CIA wet worker.  That Spy, newly named Malone (Reynolds) has hung up his guns for a simple life.  It’s a breakdown of his trusty Mustang (the car not a horse) that leads him to a small town.  A small town that he quickly learns is being run by an evil Tycoon Charles Delaney (Cliff Robertson).  Though instead of a land grab it’s so much more sinister (and oddly very 2023).  All culminating in a good ole confrontation between Malone and Delaney. 

Part of what makes Malone work so well is how compact and personal the film is.  Yes, the film ends with a huge bang, but the entire film feels like what we rarely get nowadays, a character-based action film.  The action is slick and designed for impact (earning that R-Rating in a way that would probably give it an NC-17 in 2023) but never at the expense of the personal ground-level action as character. 

The second reason and probably the biggest reason Malone kicks so much ass is Mr. Burt Reynolds.  As the title character, Reynolds is in the laconic man of few words mode here.  Though never at the expense of his charming nature that’s almost impossible to repress (though there are quite a few directors who attempted and almost succeeded).  Here as in the best of Reynolds films, he’s surrounded by a great lineup of supporting actors.  

People like Tracey Walter, Kenneth McMillian, and Lauren Hutton don’t show up for “a paycheck” but excel in their roles. Though it’s Cliff Robertson and Scott Wilson that damn near steal the show from Reynolds.  Each man in their respective roles shines and pushes Reynolds to be better in their scenes.  

One will be surprised that Malone delivers on all fronts and turns out to be one of the best later-era Reynolds starring vehicles.  One that even now feels fresher than it did when it was released almost 40 years ago. 

The Transfer

Though it’s not listed it looks like Malone may have a new transfer or at the very least a new compression and restoration of the original transfer provided to KL back in their original 2015 release of the film.  Comparisons show that this disc is an uptick in all categories, a true upgrade from their original disc.  The handsome image is sharp and without defects.   

The Extras

They include the following;

  • NEW Audio Commentary by Film Historians Steve Mitchell and Nathaniel Thompson
  • Theatrical Trailer (Newly Mastered in 2K)

The all-new Audio Commentary by Film Historians Steve Mitchell and Nathaniel Thompson begins with their initial thoughts.  Some of the details include the production’s filming in Canada for Oregon; the use of Vancouver here and TV productions in the early 2000s; the wild casting of Christopher Lambert and Gerard Depardieu were attached before Reynolds; Reynolds’ own admission that the film was one part Shane and one part First Blood; where this falls in Reynolds’ career – post accident during City Heat and a larger discussion of the second half of his career; the story behind his turning down Terms of Endearment for Stroker Ace; a larger discussion about Reynolds early career and how he cultivated his specific stardom and the tension between the comedies and serious genre fare he made; the work and career of director Harley Cokliss both here and his previous movie Black Moon Rising and others; the prescient nature of the villain’s politics and plans to the 2020s; an interesting discussion of the gun that Malone uses The 44 Auto mag; the work and career of Lauren Hutton; the failure at the box office and the reasons why – a larger discussion of Orion Pictures which made the film; the work of composer David Newman – and a larger discussion of the Newman family which he is one of the youngest of; the work of cinematographer Gerald Hirschfeld; A larger discussion of the various supporting players in the film like Scott Wilson, Kenneth McMillian, Tracey Walter, Cynthia Gibb and others; and much more. Mitchel and Thompson deliver another entertaining and informative commentary track. 

Rounding out the special features are trailers for Malone [remastered in 2K] (2:10), Fuzz (2:59), Hustle (3:14), Gator (1:09), Stick (1:21), Heat (2:34), Rent-A-Cop (2:16) 


The Final Thought 

Malone is a tight compact kick-ass piece of action cinema.  Recommended!!! 

Kino Lorber’s Blu-Ray edition of Malone is out now

1 comment on “Blu-Ray Review: Kino Lorber’s Malone (KL Studio Classics) 

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