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US Blu-ray and DVD Releases: Lord of War, Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves, SEAL Team, Tulsa King, The Walking Dead

Justice Smith plays Simon, Chris Pine plays Edgin, Sophia Lillis plays Doric and Michelle Rodriguez plays Holga in Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves from Paramount Pictures.

Well, it’s not a particularly big week this week, but if you’re looking something in the action or thriller category there are definitely a few great choices for you. Also, there’s a digital-only release that was so big, we just had to cover it! Read on to see what’s what in home video this week.

Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves

It’s been decades since the first attempt at a Dungeons & Dragons movie, so it seemed like a good time to try again and this new iteration of the franchise is not only more successful, but also much better than that first movie from the 90s. Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves takes an all-star cast (Chris Pine, Michelle Rodriguez, Hugh Grant, Rege-Jean Page, Sophia Lillis, and Justice Smith) and casts them as character archetypes from the popular role-playing game: thief, wizard, warrior, etc. The story sees your typical ragtag team of adventurers on a quest to recover a magical relic and save Chris Pine’s daughter, who’s been adopted/brainwashed by a former team member-turned-politician, played fantastically by Hugh Grant. The film doesn’t take any particular D&D storyline into play; instead, it crafts a new fantasy/action/adventure story in a world populated by D&D-themed creatures and locations. And I have to say, I absolutely loved it. The film is fun and charming and action-packed; it has terrific characters and a great cast; and all in all, it just feels like the kind of fun adventure movie that I personally want to see more of. I won’t spoil anything here, but I will say that the graveyard scene alone makes the film worth watching – it’s downright hilarious. Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves comes to home video on 4K Ultra HD (as well as Blu-ray, DVD, and Digital), and the movie looks and sounds terrific in the 4K format. The picture quality is outstanding, with vibrant colors and deep blacks, impeccable sharpness, and good shadow delineation in the darker scenes. The surround soundtrack also offers up an atmospheric, immersive audio experience, utilizing all of the speakers to surround you with, well, quite literally dungeons and dragons. Here’s the best part: you don’t have to know anything about the world of D&D to enjoy this film, it’s a completely stand-alone story. There are some great easter eggs for fans of the D&D universe, but it stands on its own as just a fun adventure movie that I think you will really enjoy.

Tulsa King: Season One

I’m as big a Sylvester Stallone fan as you will ever meet, but I’ll be honest, when I first saw the trailer for Tulsa King, I was underwhelmed. Despite that, I meant to get around to watching it but I just was never in the mood for a show that didn’t look all that great to me. Then I got the first season – out now on Blu-ray and DVD, courtesy of CBS/Paramount – for review and I couldn’t put it off any longer. And of course, now I’m kicking myself for waiting so long to watch it because it turns out it is absolutely FANTASTIC. Stallone plays a mid-level gangster fresh out of a 25-year stint in jail for protecting his mafia boss. Now a relic in an organization that has outgrown him, he is effectively banished to Tulsa, Oklahoma to establish a new income stream for the mafia. It’s not the most complicated setup for a show, but that’s part of why it works so well. It’s not trying to reinvent the wheel, it instead relies on excellent writing, terrific performances, and a perfect blend of drama, comedy, and action to end up being completely addictive from the very first episode on. And Sly – who I’ve always maintained is a better actor than people give him credit for – is in the finest form of his career. Honestly, and I say this as someone who’s seen literally every single movie he’s ever made, this is one of the best performances I’ve ever seen from Stallone. It’s subtle and nuanced at times, brash and overstated at other times, but you can’t help but like this character instantly, and that’s huge for a show where the lead character really isn’t a good person. I’m sorry I waited so long to watch Tulsa King; don’t make the same mistake I did, check it out ASAP.

Lord Of War (4K Ultra HD)

Andrew Niccol’s films are like a bad drug for me. His debut film, Gattaca, is one of my favorite movies of all time. But every film of his since then, I feel like I’ve been pretty much chasing the high I got off Gattaca with less and less potent results. At this point, I’ve seen every film he’s made… except for the longest time, Lord of War, which escaped me for several years. Ironically, for the one it took me the longest to see, it’s easily the best of his post-Gattaca films. (It’s still not as good as Gattaca, but it’s at least pretty good.) Nicolas Cage stars as a man who becomes an arms dealer not quite intentionally, and the story is smart, witty, and exciting. It fits right in alongside movies like War DogsAmerican Made and The Wolf of Wall Street, and it’s definitely one of the better performances we’ve gotten from Cage in the last 10-15 years. The film was released a few years ago on 4K Ultra HD, and now Lionsgate has released a new 4K edition as a Best Buy exclusive that comes in a snazzy Steelbook case. The 4K presentation treats the film well, expanding the color palette and offering up clearer resolution, although I don’t know that it’s such a huge upgrade over the Blu-ray that you need to buy a second copy if you already own it. If you don’t, however, this is definitely a worthwhile pickup (especially if you’re a Steelbook collector, which I know a lot of people are.) It’s a good film in a nice package.

SEAL Team: Season Six

I don’t know how David Boreanaz seems to pick hit show after hit show. I mean, he started out on Buffy, then starred in Angel, followed by Bones, and now he’s anchored SEAL Team for no less than six seasons. After several seasons as an FBI agent on Bones, the more action/adventure-oriented role in SEAL Team is a perfect fit for the congenial TV mainstay. I like SEAL Team; it’s not a favorite for me but I find it enjoyable. This season sees Bravo Team under fire in the very first episode as they fall into an ambush, and things stay hairy for most of the season as they return to the Middle East and come under heavy fire again. This collection includes the entire sixth season, which is just ten episodes this time around. Apparently there was some behind-the-scenes drama at the end of last season but the show is coming back for a seventh season, this time around as a Paramount+ exclusive. Still, if you’re a fan of the show, this is another strong season to add to your home video collection.

The Walking Dead: The Complete Series

I don’t typically review digital-only releases, but once in a while something comes along that’s so noteworthy that I can’t resist jumping in and discussing it. This week sees the digital release of The Walking Dead: The Complete Series, meaning that you can now purchase all 11 seasons of the worldwide phenomenon to add to your digital library. That means you get 177 episodes in total (with a running time of around 136 hours – that’s like six and a half days of The Walking Dead!) all for the price of $99.99, which is about 60 cents an episode. Now, the show obviously has an army of fans, but it also had its ups and downs; I’m a pretty big fan of the series overall, even though I have some seasons I don’t love. [Warning: spoilers ahead!]

The first season is near perfection; it’s back when Frank Darabont was still running the show and while it’s short, it sets up the world of The Walking Dead and introduces some of the most memorable characters. Season 2 is often derided as “The Talking Dead” because I guess people found it a bit too talky, but personally I loved it. This was still the early days where the focus was on our one core group of survivors, along with the dynamic between Rick and Shane and of course, life on the farm. (I maintain that the reveal of what’s in the farm remains one of the series’ best moments!) Seasons Three and Four moved things to the prison and introduced Michonne and The Governor, and this remains some of the high points of the show for me; we got to see things kicking into high gear, we lost some major characters, and the entire prison dynamic added a whole new layer to the show. Seasons Five and Six introduced us to the Woodbury community, and this is where the show started playing with its formula a bit, doing things like letting us think Glenn was dead for a number of episodes when, in reality, he wasn’t. We also meet Abraham, Eugene, and Rosita, who became well-loved mainstays of the show. Seasons Seven and Eight introduced Negan to the show, and even though Jeffrey Dean Morgan’s character is terrific and his performance is absolutely fantastic, I think this is where the show started to lose some fans. Negan’s introduction and the murder of two beloved characters in gruesome fashion pushed things a bit too far for some people. I stuck with the show at this point, but it did start to lose a little luster here for me.

Season 9 is where I started to lose interest; despite the introduction of the Whisperers, which would drive much of the conflict for that season and Season 10. By this point, the show was spread out between the various communities and there were so many characters that it got hard to keep track of all of them. We also lost both Rick and Michonne in Seasons 9 and 10, respectively, and while there were enough other great characters to still carry the show, it was hard not to feel the absence of two of the show’s most important characters. The final season, Season 11, I’m honestly still not sure how I feel about it. I think most people would agree it had some great episodes and some that were not so great, but I think it served well enough as a final season for the show. Sort of final, anyway, considering there are no less than three spin-off series coming in the next year or so. If you are new to the show, you missed some episodes, or you just want to relive the entire saga over again, The Walking Dead: The Complete Series on digital is a great way to do it!

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