Thursday, March 13, 2008

13: Game of Death released on DVD in U.S.

13: Game of Death has been released on Region 1 DVD in the U.S. by The Weinstein Company's Dimension Extreme label. The film is also called 13 Beloved, or 13 Game Sayong, and was one of my favorite films of 2006 and is among my favorite films of all-time.

I was pleased to learn about this release, because since the Weinsteins bought remake rights, it was widely assumed they would bury the film until they made their remake. As far as I can see, the only thing marring this release is the cover art, which is designed to pander to the Saw/Hostel torture-porn crowd, though this film will probably please those folks.

Anyway, Draven99's Musings has a review of the DVD. Here's a bit of what he has to say:

Hailing from Thailand, this pitch black thriller hits the ground running and is sure to please fans with a taste for the twisted. I wasn't sure what to expect, and that turned out to be the correct attitude to have when entering into a viewing contract with this little gem. It is tale of morality and social responsibility, as well as asking the question: just how far will you go? How much prodding would it take for you to move onto the next challenge, heck, complete the challenge given? 13: Game of Death (13 Beloved in its native language) takes a look inside what makes people tick when money is involved. While it does prove to be successful on its own terms, there was noticeable inspiration drawn from other films.

As I watched 13: Game of Death, I could not help but be reminded of films such as Chan Wook Park's Vengeance Trilogy, 13 Tzameti, Falling Down, and Saw. There were probably even a few others that I have already forgotten. Even with all of those influences informing my viewing, It was still a thrilling experience that had enough of its own twists and turns to keep me guessing until the conclusion ...

The DVD is being released by The Weinstein Company's Genius Products through their Dimension Extreme imprint. It should be noted that not only did the Weinstein's purchase distribution rights for North America, but also remake rights. So, this could find its way in Americanized form to theaters at a moments notice. And to tell you the truth, if any amount of effort is put into the project, it could turn out to be very strong indeed. If only they could get someone like Johnny Depp, Guy Pearce, or Ethan Hawke (that's right), this could dare try for excellence.

Draven99 notes that the video transfer is 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen and is fine, "with accurate colors and no noticeable blemishes". The audio is presented in both its original Thai and English dub 5.1 tracks.

Extra features consist of the original teaser and full trailers, and a 17-minute making of featurette featuring interviews with the primary cast and crew accompanying finished, set, and rehearsal footage. I wonder if this is the same feature on the Innoform release out of Singapore, which wasn't subtitled. I'm assuming for the U.S. market, the Weinsteins have added subtitles on the featurette?

13: Game of Death is available from Thai Film Journal affiliates HK Flix or Amazon.

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