Russell Mulcahy’s ‘Resurrection’ (1999) Vinegar Syndrome’s 2k Restoration Blu-ray Review

Admittedly, I’m newer to Vinegar Syndrome releases, so I didn’t know what to expect when I got a review copy of their recent 2k restoration of Russell Mulcahy’s Resurrection. Does it hold up alongside other distributors focused on genre film preservation like Criterion or Arrow? Find out within!

Resurrection was directed by Russell Mulcahy (Highlander, Resident Evil: Extinction, Teen Wolf TV series) and stars Christopher Lambert (Highlander, Mortal Kombat) and Leland Orser (Se7en, The Guest).

Synopsis:

A seasoned police detective and his partner have just uncovered a string of unusual murders that lead them to a serial killer, who believes that he is the descendant of Judas.

What Works:

To start, this is a very impressive 2k restoration. Resurrection has clearly seen a dramatic jump in visual fidelity from its original DVD release. The color grading really shines, adding a pervasive sense of atmosphere and decay to the film. The bonus features—which I viewed after the film and not as jam packed as an average Criterion release—are still excellent looks into the cast and crew’s thoughts about the film, both making it and how they feel about it. Director Mulcahy seems well aware of all the comparisons this film gets to Se7en, but through the interview, you get a sense of him making sure to try and make his own film, not just an imitation of Fincher’s.

My personal favorite was the interview with actor Robert Joy, who gets really into discussing his character’s arc and role. If Resurrection is a personal favorite of yours or you want to learn more about behind the scenes work on film, I recommend it.

There also happens to be a small part in the film for David Cronenberg in one of his rare acting roles as a Catholic priest being consulted by Lambert’s character. The role is rather small and limited in appearances, but I was always happy to see Cronenberg as an actor and his character when he’d pop in.

Christopher Lambert (left) and Leland Orser (right) hard at work tracking an elusive killer in Resurrection.

What Doesn’t:

Tonally, Resurrection is a bit all over the place. It goes from grimdark to goofy and then back to straight-faced drama in a matter of minutes, leading to mood whiplash.

I’m a fan of Christopher Lambert from past projects like Highlander, Fortress, and Mortal Kombat, but in this film, he seems poorly directed as to what his character is supposed to do, which is a surprise, given Mulcahy also directed Highlander. His character seems like he wants to be the Supercop like Simon Pegg’s Nicholas Angel in Hot Fuzz, who is so keyed into being the best at his career that everything else has fallen by the wayside. However, where Hot Fuzz turned that into a full character arc, Resurrection’s John Prudhomme is just okay as an investigator—even though the movie tries to say otherwise—and majorly inept at social elements. One shining example is the scene where Prudhomme walks into the station, sees three of his coworkers talking, and he starts laughing just to try and join in… Meanwhile, it turns out they were discussing the sudden death of a family member.

The film also seems to forget the unspoken advice of filmmakers everywhere: “Don’t try to remind your audience of what you’re imitating.” The major reminiscences of David Fincher’s Se7en is not problematic on its own. Slashers have imitated Friday the 13th and Halloween for decades now, and even Black Christmas if you want to go all the way back. Neither is casting Leland Orser, a talented actor. But throwing in the most memorable victim of Se7en to become a lead character who also happens to be this film’s most memorable victim of the criminal being hunted? That led me to thoughts wondering if I still had my Blu-ray of Se7en

Overall, I would recommend this Blu-ray if you’re a fan of the director or the film itself, because the transfer is great and the bonus features are informative. But for a first time watcher, I think you need a particular type of fan to truly appreciate this film.

From Vinegar Syndrome’s Resurrection page:

Additional info:
• Region Free Blu-ray
• Newly scanned & restored in 2k from its 35mm interpositive
• “A Cathartic Experience” – an interview with director Russell Mulcahy
• “Terrifying or Hilarious” – an interview with actor Robert Joy
• “On The Same Page” – an interview with actor Jonathan Potts
• “Over the Top” – an interview with composer Jim McGrath
• Reversible cover artwork
• English SDH subtitles

About Chris Filipowicz

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