Combustible Celluloid
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With: Fred Ward, Joel Grey, Wilford Brimley, J.A. Preston, George Coe, Charles Cioffi, Kate Mulgrew, Michael Pataki, Reginald VelJohnson, Jon Polito, Gene LeBell, Sebastian Ligarde, William Hickey, Patrick Kilpatrick
Written by: Christopher Wood, based on novels by Warren Murphy, Richard Sapir
Directed by: Guy Hamilton
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Language: English
Running Time: 121
Date: 10/10/1985

Remo Williams: The Adventure Begins (1985)

3 Stars (out of 4)

Like a Dream-o

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Despite the title, Remo Williams: The Adventure Begins (1985), the adventure ended pretty quickly. This fun movie had everything: it came from "The Destroyer" series of novels by Warren Murphy and Richard Sapir, which could have led to a long run of movies, and the director was Guy Hamilton, the man behind Goldfinger (1964), and several other titles in the James Bond series. Wisecracking Fred Ward starred as Remo Williams, a cop whose death is faked so that he can work off the radar as a secret agent. He receives martial arts training from Master Chiun (a heavily made-up Joel Grey), recalling the previous year's The Karate Kid. Interesting trivia: the movie was filmed during the restoration of the Statue of Liberty, which was covered in scaffolding. Even today, rumors persist that Remo will return...

Kino Lorber released a new DVD edition in 2015, though it appears that the older MGM DVD is still available. The new one has no extras and is anamorphic, but as I haven't seen the MGM release, I can't attest to which one is better. In 2022, Kino Lorber released a Blu-ray Special Edition, with tons of extras. There's a commentary track with producers Larry Spiegel and Judy Goldstein, five vintage featurettes, a stills gallery, and a batch of trailers. The transfer doesn't appear to have been remastered, as it contains film grain and scratches here and there, but the picture is still nice and crisp. Recommended.

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