Dangerous Men Blu-ray Review

John Rad’s ode to poor filmmaking delivers the goods

Once in a great while some patently terrible movies gain a cult following for inexplicable reasons. Dangerous Men is one such movie. Iranian “filmmaker” John S. Rad came to America to film his dream project in 1979. The making of that dream took the better part of the next two decades, finally seeing a release in 2005. Defying all the rules of cinematic storytelling learned from the past century, Dangerous Men is a mildly amusing b-movie due to its sheer ineptitude. Some clever marketing by its promoters has grown its cult following.

By all rational and sane standards, the plotting is incomprehensible. Its cast is a bunch of completely amateur actors giving awful performances. John Rad writes, directs and “scores” Dangerous Men by himself. If the man ever had any talent, it’s not on display in Dangerous Men. In many regards the action movie isn’t far removed from the flotsam and jetsam that litters student filmmaking.

Most terrible movies are banal in their appalling lack of quality. There is nothing banal in Dangerous Men.


The saving grace for Dangerous Men is that it’s a great movie to laugh at with a group of your friends. This unique and rare quality isn’t common, even in the worst examples of filmmaking. Most terrible movies are banal in their appalling lack of quality. There is nothing banal in Dangerous Men. The dated synth soundtrack comes and goes throughout the film. The changing focus of the plot that introduces almost completely unrelated characters, and everything is done with an incoherent assemblage of random material. Not to mention some of the worst gratuitous nudity seen in cinema history and comically bad stunt fighting.

Notice how I’ve barely mentioned the story in Dangerous Men. If you must know, Mina (Melody Wiggins) goes on a murderous rampage against men in Los Angeles after bikers kill her fiancé at the beach. What begins as a standard grindhouse revenge flick from the Eighties turns into a strange action film involving a criminal known as Black Pepper and a rogue cop. Barely clocking in at eighty minutes, the loose narrative reflects the basic fact Dangerous Men was made over many years. The entire final act is something that appears to have been added from a different script.

No filmmaker sets out to make a movie as truly bad as Dangerous Men. If you have a bunch of friends that like to watch bad movies together and rip them apart, Dangerous Men is the movie for you.

Dangerous Men Blu-ray screen shot 9

Video

Drafthouse Films restores Dangerous Men’s Oscar-winning cinematography with a lavish 4K film scan from the archival negative. Wait, what!? Fine, I lied.

Anyway, the film was roughly shot over the span of 1979 through sometime in the 1990s. No one knows anything beyond those dates. The 79-minute feature is encoded in adequate AVC on a BD-25, shown at the movie’s true 1.85:1 aspect ratio. It is shown at ordinary 1080P resolution from a true film transfer, likely representing the best extant elements.

The film elements used as the source of this transfer appear to be a fairly standard print, still retaining visible cue marks and occasional damage. This is rough cinematography, probably better than expected given Dangerous Men’s sporadic production history and no-budget background. Crushed shadow density, erratic levels of grain and changing contrast, this is soft video. Some telecine wobble is evident in the first reel.

As long as you expect to see an unrestored print of a z-grade film leftover from the Eighties and Nineties, you shouldn’t come away surprised. Drafthouse Films gives Dangerous Men a fine Hi-Def presentation, everything considered. MVD Visual is the distributor.

Audio

A limited mono soundtrack is included in serviceable but muffled Dolby Digital 2.0 audio at 448 kbps. The rough nature of the recording and occasionally poor sync produces many poor moments of fidelity and clarity. The sound design is amateurish at best. The changing tones of the score overpower much of the underlying dialogue and effects. Expect a rather poor listening experience made for VHS.

No subtitles are included.

Extras

Drafthouse Films does include a DVD and digital download copy unique to their website for Dangerous Men. Reversible cover art comes in a clear Blu-ray keepcase. A 16-page booklet documents the only known interview with director John Rad, done in 2005 for the movie’s premiere.

Audio Commentary With Destroy All Movies’ Zack Carlson and Bryan Connolly – This is basically two fans of bad cinema ripping the movie to shreds and making quips. Think a more direct Mystery Science Theater 3000-style commentary. Some people like this kind of thing.

That’s So John Rad (26:44 in HD) – A documentary about the film and its initial 2005 theatrical release.

Interview With Peter Palian (10:35 in HD) – A new 2015 interview with the film’s lone professional, its cinematographer. He shares in broken English his thoughts on working with Rad and this movie.

John S. Rad Appearing on Local Access Television (47:57 in SD) – An entire episode of some L.A. local access talk show from around the time of Dangerous Men’s premiere in 2005. Rad shows up in what appears to be a fake mustache to cover up his true identity. Could he really be Peter Palian under a pseudonym?

Original Theatrical Trailer (02:52 in SD)

Dangerous Men Theatrical Trailer (01:31 in HD)

Dangerous Men Teaser

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Full disclosure: This Blu-ray was provided to us for review. This has not affected the editorial process. For information on how we handle review material, please visit our about us page to learn more.


Click on the images below for full resolution screen captures taken directly from the Blu-ray. Images have not been altered in any way during the process.