Breakheart Pass Blu Ray review

Alistair MacLean 1975’s Breakheart Pass arrives on Blu Ray for the first time. A train hurtles towards Breakheart Pass. Its mission is to replace the beleaguered garrison. Nearly wiped out by Diphtheria, they are essential reinforcements. The only oddity is John Deakin (Charles Bronson) a prisoner held on the lunch wagon. He isn’t an ordinary prisoner. Well this is no ordinary train. The mayor (Richard Crenna) and the Sheriff (Ben Johnson) seem to both be up to something diabolical.

Nostalgia is a wonderful thing. My fathers love of action heroes like Bronson and Eastwood, made me always warm to them. This film was a favourite of his. Its twisting and turning plot, murder after murder and Bronson’s fight scenes all worked in its favour. Now some time later the film still holds up marginally well. Bronson aside, the plot ticks along, the direction is robust enough to handle the mix of detail and action. It only really falls when it concludes. Its third act feeling cack handed with plot points run their course and we are simply waiting for the inevitable. As a film Breakheart Pass deserves to be watched, if not only for Bronson kicking arse.

The extras are very lite. The 1080 encode comes into its own with the exterior snow scenes. Though I have little to compare it to, the VHS was covered in static at these points. The interior scenes glow with a candle light which looks nice. The other feature is Newman’s interview about the film. He could make anything enlivened and here he enthuses about Bronson and the script.

 

DUAL FORMAT SPECIAL FEATURES

  • 1080p presentation of the film on Blu-ray, with a progressive encode on the DVD
  • Uncompressed LPCM audio (on the Blu-ray)
  • Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard-of-hearing
  • A new video interview with critic and author Kim Newman
  • Original theatrical trailer

 

 

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Simon Kennedy

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