New Spy DVDs Out This Week: Baron, Smart and Statham
Today sees the first ever American release of the classic ITC adventure series The Baron! The Baron stars American Steve Forrest (who would go on to star in S.W.A.T. in the Seventies) as John Creasey’s titular antiques dealer-cum-spy (here reimagined as a cattle baron instead of a member of the peerage to accommodate Forrest’s accent) in this entertaining Saint imitator from one of the producers of the Roger Moore hit. Predating the color Saint series, this was the first ITC show to be filmed in color. (As with the casting of Forrest, this was done with an eye to the American market.) The series was pretty uneven in terms of quality, gets steadily better as it progresses. Overall, the good episodes make it well worth seeing–and owning–for fans of The Saint. It even spawned a feature film in Europe, made by editing together two of the series' best episodes. The Ipcress File’s Sue Lloyd co-stars in The Baron, (joining the series several episodes in) and provides entertaining commentary tracks on select episodes. In fact, all of the commentaries (from Lloyd, Cyril Frankel, Johnny Goodman and others) from the Australian Umbrella release are included on Koch Media's new Region 1 DVD! Along with audio introductions to select episodes from Brian Clemens, Peter Wyngarde and others. The series trailer is also included as an extra. It's really quite a nice set–very well done. Koch Media has done the best job of any American company to date to tackle an ITC series, and I really hope that The Baron sells well enough for them to encourage them to release some of the other series that Umbrella has put out in Australia, like Department S or The Champions. From the extras to the presentation to the nifty package artwork to the shiny yellow gatefold interior, this is a very classy release, and a must for fans of British Sixties spy series. I'll have a full review up shortly.
Get Smart: Season 2
From HBO Home Video comes a standalone version of Get Smart: Season 2. This 4-disc set includes every episode of Season 2 (among them classics like "Bronzefinger" and "Casablanca"), but not the bonus disc of extras found with Season 2 in the Complete Series set. Still, there are some extras (like audio introductions from Barbara Feldon) and you can't beat the price!
The ridiculously fun third installment of Jason Statham's neo-Eurospy Transporter series hits DVD today courtesy of Lionsgate. If you ever find yourself pining for the daffy action of Roger Moore's James Bond tenure, Transporter 3 delivers it in spades. It's not quite as good as Transporter 2, but the third entry still provides loads of over-the-top action, wild chases (including Statham on a bike) and sexy newcomer Natalya Rudakova fulfilling the babe quotient. The disc is available in single-disc, two-disc and Blu-Ray configurations.
Read my full review of Transporter 3 here.