My thoughts on the first ever 4K restoration of the classic epic RED SONJA starring Brigitte Nielsen and Arnold Schwarzenegger from @StudiocanalUK out now

Studiocanal have announced the first ever 4K restoration of Richard Fleischer’s (20,000 LEAGUES UNDER THE SEA, SOYLENT GREEN) 1985, action-adventure epic, Red Sonja on DVD, Blu-ray, 4K Ultra HD and 4K Ultra HD Limited SteelBook Edition on 18th  July 2022.   “Red Sonja” is a film I’ve seen quite a few times over the years, for the first time around 1986 and then every few years on various formats (VHS, DVD, and TV broadcast) and most recently revisited after id read Brigitte’s autobiography ‘You Only Get One Life’ which is great if you haven’t read it.Highly recommended!, the book covers most of Brigittes life and of course that includes quite a bit on her film career and “Red Sonja”

 Studiocanal also commissioned legendary Italian artist, Renato Casaro, to create a brand-new artwork that will celebrate “Red Sonja” as the titular heroine and you can see this not only on the cover but also the pretty stunning blu ray menu screens

I’ve been able to check out the disc already, and the film does look pretty glorious and I do love the restoration that’s been done here, with both the sound and visuals. A definite step up from the previous DVD version I had of the film.  “Red Sonja” is a fun film and yes of course feels very 80s but I love that about it and whilst it isn’t really a Conan film, it sort of feels like one and originally was planned to be as such seeing as the character of ‘Red Sonja” did first appear in an issue of the Conan comic and so you can sort of convince yourself that this is the third film in the Conan series (even though its not) 

Brigitte Nielsen (ROCKY IV, BEVERLY HILLS COP II) in her feature film debut stars as the iconic, flame-haired heroine who sets out to avenge the death of her family after being granted extraordinary powers by a mysterious vision. On her way to find the tyrannical Queen Gedren, played by Sandahl Bergman (CONAN THE BARBARIAN), she meets Kalidor, Arnold Schwarzenegger(THE TERMINATOR, TOTAL RECALL), a powerful stranger from whom she refuses to accept help. Arnold was initially signed up just for a cameo appearance in the film which would take a week to film, and would allow him to reprise his role as the sword wielding Conan but due to a rights issue, Conan couldn’t be used and so Arnolds cameo character became Kalidor and the filming of the promised cameo overran and became a four week shoot instead and beefed up the role (no pun intended) 

The film features another beautiful score from the renowned, Academy Award-Winning Ennio Morricone (THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY, THE UNTOUCHABLES).  

The Extras

There are some pretty good special features in the Blu-ray and on the 4K Ultra HD Limited SteelBook Edition, and whilst I wont go into too much detail about them, i have elaborated on what some of them are and more importantly how long they are (which is always a thing I look at when it comes to special features)  Sadly there is are no audio commentaries on the disc which is a shame, but theres still enough glimpses into the films history to keep me happy. 

First up we get a feature-length Documentary about Renato Casaro: The Last Movie Painter, which was originally released in 2020 and is now here for you. Now you might not be familiar with Renato’s name but you will know his work. He designed some of the coolest movie posters around including Fistful of Dollars, Flash Gordon, Supergirl and Red Sonja, as well as a huge amount more. check out his listing here  This is a great 97 minute documentary which will make you super nostalgic to rewatch a whole bunch of films that are mentioned in here and to hear the stories of how the posters came to be, is pure film geek heaven.

Arnold Schwarzenegger – The Man who raised Hollywood“ which runs for around 16 minutes and takes a look at the early years of Arnold, before he became one of the worlds box office champions but does take glimpses at Conan, Red Heat and has nice little soundbyte clips from people who have worked with Arnie over the year.  This would have been a great idea for a feature documentary for for its 16 minute running time, its a nice taster!

Interview with Assistant Director Michel Ferry: “Red Sonja vs. Kalidor – The Making of a Misunderstanding“ is a 12 minute featurette which is self explanatory and is an interview with the films AD. Good little featurette actually which takes us into the film from someone else’s point of view.  and for those who like these type of things there’s also a Renato Casaro: Photo Gallery and we get the Original Theatrical Trailer which is fine for the completist, but not something that people will sprint for. 



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