‘Jaws’ looks fabulous in its Blu-ray debut

Published: Thursday, Aug. 16 2012 3:39 p.m. MDT

Richard Dreyfuss as Matt Hooper and Robert Shaw as Quint in "Jaws."

Universal

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One of the most highly-anticipated Blu-ray releases of the year arrives in stores this week: Steven Spielberg’s “Jaws.”

“Jaws” (Universal/Blu-ray + DVD + Digital, 1975, PG, two discs, $29.98). The movie that introduced the summer blockbuster finally gets a Blu-ray upgrade, and it looks gorgeous. If you’re a fan of this classic thriller and don’t have a Blu-ray player yet, this might be the one to inch you closer.

The disc is packed with bonus features gathered from previous editions, including the two-hour documentary from the original laser-disc release, as well as a new feature-length documentary that tries to go into some unexplored areas.

Spielberg shows a sure hand, despite this being a notoriously troubled production, and he gets able assistance from the Oscar-winning editing by Verna Fields. Stars Roy Scheider, Richard Dreyfuss and Robert Shaw are all perfectly cast, and there are laughs and scares galore. And don’t forget the iconic music by John Williams, another Oscar-winner.

The film itself is a classic, and it holds up terrifically all these years later. You’ll be afraid to go into the water all over again … although I don’t think there are sharks in the Great Salt Lake. (Also available in Digibook format, with 42-page book packaging, exclusively at Best Buy, $29.99.)

“Stallone: 3-Film Collector’s Set” (Lionsgate, 1982/1989/1997; rated R for violence, language; $19.98). The three Sylvester Stallone films collected here are:

“First Blood,” his first (and, for me, best) outing as John Rambo, the misunderstood and troubled Vietnam veteran hunted by Brian Dennehy (or is it the other way around?).

“Lock Up,” a prison picture with Stallone going up against sadistic warden Donald Sutherland.

“Cop Land,” easily the best of these, giving Stallone a chance to flex is acting muscles as the friendly sheriff of a small New Jersey town populated by Manhattan cops admired by Stallone until he uncovers a conspiracy of corruption, with Harvey Keitel, Ray Liotta and Robert De Niro. Previous editions’ bonus features are all here. (Also on Blu-ray, $24.99.)

“The Raid: Redemption” (Sony, 2012, $30.99, Indonesian with English subtitles or English dubbed, audio commentary, featurettes). In the slums of Jakarta a criminal safe house is attacked by a SWAT team and what follows is an unrelenting visceral experience, which is to say, an enormous body count as cops and bad guys go after each other with a ferocity that has to be seen to be believed. (Also on Blu-ray, $35.99.)

“Tonight You’re Mine” (Sony, 2011; R for language, sex; $22.99, featurettes). Set against the backdrop of a Scottish music festival, two feuding rock stars are handcuffed together.

“Kill List” (IFC/Blu-ray, 2011, $29.98, audio commentaries, featurettes, trailer). A British combination of assassin thriller and psychological horror as a hitman who has been laying low is called upon for a three-part assignment: to kill a priest, a librarian and a member of Parliament. (Also on DVD, $24.98.)

“Madness” (Raro, 1980, $19.98, in Italian with English subtitles, text biography/filmography). Italian filmmaker Fernando Di Leo gained a reputation in the 1970's for his sleazy exploitation films, which reached some kind of sex-and-violence zenith with this “Last House on the Left” variation about a killer who terrorizes a couple and the wife’s sister at their vacation home.

“Juan of the Dead” (eOne, 2012, $19.98, in Spanish with English subtitles, deleted scenes, featurette). A Cuban spin on the zombie comedy “Shaun of the Dead,” this time with a pair of slackers awakening to find Havana overrun with the undead.

E-MAIL: hicks@desnews.com

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