Fred Ward is a tough, no-nonsense cop. One night (when for some reason he has no partner),he is the victim of an attack, and wakes up with a different face and a new identity. He has been recruited by a shadowy government organization (currently made up of three other people). He is trained by Korean master Chiun (Cabaret MC Joel Grey under lots of makeup) to become a fighting machine. Meanwhile, future starship captain Kate Mulgrew is an army major investigating an industrialist who seems to be fleecing the US military for billions of dollars. All paths will soon merge.
Remo Williams is certainly a cheerful enough exercise, and its puppy-dog-like desire to be just the beginning of an endless series has a certain endearing quality to it. But not that many of the jokes are funny, and the action scenes are flat (which is a disappointment, given that the director – Guy Hamilton – helmed Goldfinger). As well, the training takes up far too much of the film time, relegating the thriller angle to a mere subplot. The film is thus two hours of passable entertainment, but only just.
The film is passable, and the same goes for the technical specs. We are in the land of the mediocre, folks. The 2.0 mix is acceptable enough, and is blessedly free of distortion. The music(which manages to combine the worst of the 70s with the worst of the 80s in its orchestra-and-synth score) is given a good surround treatment. The sound effects are rather less carefully mixed. While they do have a rear speaker presence, there is insufficient differentiation between the front and the rear, with the result that something as simple as a car door closing on screen winds up resounding out of all speakers. The left-right separation could use work too.
Sigh. Another fullscreen transfer dumped on us. Between fullscreen picture and 2.0 sound,not to mention the lack of extras, how is this different from VHS? Fortunately, the composition has not been too badly affected, so the cropping could certainly be worse. The colours are strong,with excellent blacks, and the contrasts in the night scenes coming off as successfully as those during the day. There is some grain now and then, however.
Basic menu, and the theatrical trailer (which is also fullscreen). Not much.
Extras, picture, sound and film are all nothing to write home about. But as I said above, there is something rather endearing about the whole exercise, so I wound up liking it somewhat, if for the wrong reasons.