Lackluster Andy Sidaris Project

Hard Hunted is one of the more disappointing movies from schlocky b-movie auteur Andy Sidaris. The seventh movie in his Malibu Bay Films career, the sexy exploitation formula remains the same. Cast sizzling hot actresses such as Dona Speir, Roberta Vazquez and Cynthia Brimhall as federal agents hunting down bad guys, running around in clothing that leaves little to the imagination.

Filmmaker Andy Sidaris and his films were perfect for VHS. Disposable and cheap, they usually delivered plenty of exciting on-screen gunplay and beautiful women plucked from Playboy magazine, running around as secret agents in sunny Hawaii. They have an inescapable erotic charm, even if the dialogue was ludicrous and character development lacking.

Hard Hunted’s inane action-adventure plot struggles despite the beautiful cast and cheesy violence

The starlets face international arms dealer Martin Kane (R.J. Moore) and his plan to sell off a nuclear trigger relay, hoping to avoid a war in the Middle East. The derivative b-movie’s inane action-adventure plot struggles despite the beautiful cast and cheesy violence which looks great most of the time. It’s a messy, confused ensemble of secret agents, spies, double agents, and stereotypical villains lost in a bad James Bond plot.

After smuggling a nuclear trigger from China in the form of a jade Buddha statue, underworld arms dealer Martin Kane offers it to a violent Mideastern leader. Before the sale is final, a U.S. agent goes undercover and steals it. When she’s murdered, it’s up to secret agents Donna Hamilton (Speir), Nicole Justin (Vasquez) and Edy Stark (Brimhall) to stop Kane in his tracks.

Something essential found in Sidaris’ better films is missing from Hard Hunted. Fit To Kill is a virtual remake with several similar story elements recycled by Sidaris, yet that movie is far more fun and enjoyable. It may be the lazy plotting, which often drags during Hard Hunted and introduces comedic relief characters that aren’t particularly funny. Sidaris somehow makes his usual winning formula a boring mess.

Hard Hunted is underwhelming filmmaking, even by the standards of Andy Sidaris. His usual stable of former Playboy playmates appear but this is nothing you haven’t seen before from the exploitation director. This is for the hardcore fans that must see his entire filmography of cheap action films.

Video

Mill Creek has serviced their line of Andy Sidaris’ BDs with mostly new film transfers. Hard Hunted appears here in its theatrical 1.78:1 aspect ratio for the first time on home video. The 1080P video has been struck from a new 4K scan of serviceable film elements. It’s not the best-looking BD from Andy Sidaris, but brings out enough HD quality for a real upgrade over DVD.

Clarity is on the high side, though definition is fairly soft by today’s standards. The 97-minute main feature receives an adequate AVC encode on a BD-50 with passable grain reproduction. A hint of ringing is evident in several scenes.

Audio

The 2.0 DTS-HD MA soundtrack has its moments, if underwhelming compared to newer and more dynamic audio mixes with real surround action. The gunplay and explosions are backed with enough force for credible LFE. Overall dynamics are middling.

Dialogue is cleanly reproduced, even if a few middling dub issues introduce possible mistakes into the script. The action doesn’t pack the same punch heard in equivalent Hollywood films of the era.

Optional English SDH subtitles appear in a white font.

Extras

The extras included here for the 1992 action movie are brought over from BCI Eclipse’s older DVD set of Andy Sidaris’ movies. Mill Creek provides a digital copy, albeit it’s only good on MovieSpree’s platform. So no luck if you were hoping for an iTunes or Movies Anywhere code.

Like most of Andy’s older special features, this is a fun set of behind-the-scenes material with Sidaris and wife Arlene going over their memories from several different movies.

Audio Commentary – Director/writer Andy Sidaris and wife Arlene Sidaris, producer on his movies, discuss memories working with each cast member and how many scenes were filmed. Andy is incredibly open discussing his projects, detailing many scenes and provides updates on his cast.

Hard Hunted Trailer (01:06 in HD)

Behind the Scenes Featurette (40:53 in SD) – Really a series of seven different featurettes listed below, these are a mix of archival interviews and behind-the-scenes footage from other Andy Sidaris’ projects. Andy and Arlene contribute context as they discuss what is being seen on screen.

Andy and Julie Talk (1:15)
Hard Hunted Locations AZ (7:20)
Film School: Action (8:19)
Hard Hunted Locations: Sedona (4:11)
Film School: Sexy (11:10)
Hard Hunted Locations Havasu (3:55)
Joe Bob Briggs Interview (2:39)
Julie K. Smith Featurette (1:48)

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.

Hard Hunted
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  • Extras
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A disappointing entry from exploitation filmmaker Andy Sidaris, rehashing the same formula to lackluster results.

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