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Sion Sono
Nicolas Cage, Sofia Boutella, Nick Cassavetes
Aaron Hendry, Reza Sixo Safai

A notorious criminal must break an evil curse in order to rescue an abducted girl who has mysteriously disappeared.
Rated NR.

Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 102 min.
Price: $28.96
Release Date: 11/16/2021

• “The Making of Prisoners of the Ghostland” Featurette
• Photo Galleries
• Previews


-LG OLED65C6P 65-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart OLED TV
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-Chane A2.4 Speakers
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Prisoners of the Ghostland [Blu-Ray] (2021)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (November 16, 2021)

According to copy on the Blu-ray’s cover, Nicolas Cage views 2021’s Prisoners of the Ghostland as “the wildest movie I’ve ever made”. With such a claim, how can I resist?

This tale takes us to “Samurai Town”, where rich kingpin “The Governor” (Bill Moseley) frets after his adopted “granddaughter” Bernice (Sofia Boutella) disappears. To find her, The Governor grants ruthless criminal (Cage) freedom from jail.

However, this comes with a catch: if the outlaw can’t find Bernice in a short span of days, the suit he wears will self-destruct and kill him. Faced with a literal ticking time bomb, the convict races to locate Bernice and save his own skin.

If you read that synopsis, you may think Prisoners comes with a pretty coherent plot. You would think incorrectly.

Not that the film doesn’t follow the narrative points I mention, for it does. The tale does trace the outlaw’s journey to find Bernice and remain alive.

However, it does so in a less than conventional manner, a fact that will make some applaud it and others condemn it. Prisoners seems far more concerned with production design than story and characters – for better or for worse.

On the “for better” side, Prisoners brings a creative sense of visuals and settings. It develops a vivid mix of Western and samurai genres with a dynamic cinematographic tone.

On the “for worse” slate, though, the lack of concise storytelling makes Prisoners feel like a cliché “style over substance” effort an awful lot of the time. The movie seems so concerned with its self-consciously oddball characters and other choices that it forgets to give us a coherent narrative.

Prisoners tends to wear its influences on its sleeve as well. A deconstruction – and semi-parody – of genre tropes, we get an obvious mix of Leone and Kurosawa, all melded into a kooky Gilliam vibe.

That melange seems like enough to keep us with Prisoners, even if we don’t really care about the story or characters. The whacked-out vibe delivers a weirdly watchable affair much of the time.

However, it becomes a frustrating flick due to its lack of real coherence and strong story beats. Inventive enough to make it worth a look, the movie lacks the heart and depth it needs to become better than that.

The Disc Grades: Picture B+/ Audio B/ Bonus D+

Prisoners of the Ghostland appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.35:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. the transfer served the material well.

Sharpness looked good. A smidgen of softness hit some wider shots, but those instances remained quite insubstantial, so the majority of the flick showed fine clarity and accuracy.

Jaggies and shimmering failed to distract, and edge haloes remained absent. The movie also lacked any source flaws and was consistently clean.

In terms of colors, Prisoners often went with subdued tones. However, some elements broadened in a vivid way, and the image made all the hues look positive.

Blacks were pretty deep, and shadows were generally fine. I thought they could be slightly heavy at times, but not to a problematic degree. The image narrowly missed “A”-level consideration, but it offered a solid “B+” presentation.

Though perhaps not as action-packed as expected, I thought the film’s DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack proved to be pretty peppy. Unsurprisingly, the smattering of violent scenes fared the best.

These used the five channels in a satisfying way, as elements like vehicles and gunfire created a nice sense of place. General atmosphere was also satisfying, and the score emanated from all five speakers in an involving manner.

In addition, audio quality satisfied. Dialogue was natural and distinctive, without edginess or other issues.

Music sounded lively and full, while effects provided good clarity. Those elements seemed accurate and boasted nice vivacity. This became a positive presentation.

The Making of Prisoners of the Ghostland runs eight minutes, 14 seconds and delivers comments from actors Nicolas Cage, Bill Moseley, and Sofia Boutella.

“Making” covers story and characters, cast and characters, the director’s approach to the material, shooting in Japan, stunts and action. This becomes a highly mediocre overview.

Two Photo Galleries appear: “Movie Stills” (24 frames) and “Behind the Scenes” (13). Some decent shots emerge but both collections seem too short to add much.

The disc opens with ads for Mandy and Color Out of Space. No trailer for Prisoners appears here.

If nothing else, Prisoners of the Ghostland provides an unusual affair. How much it satisfies depends on your appetite for self-consciously quirky fare. The Blu-ray brings largely positive picture and audio but it lacks substantial bonus materials. This becomes an inconsistent but sporadically compelling flick.

Viewer Film Ratings: 3 Stars Number of Votes: 1
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