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Mean Johnny Barrows: Uncut Director's Edition [Import]

Fred Williamson , Roddy McDowall , Fred Williamson    Unrated   DVD
3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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3.0 out of 5 stars WELCOME HOME JOHNNY! March 31 2010
By The Critic TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
My first experience with Code Red was with their poor DVD release of Sweet Sixteen. In my opinion Code Red has once again failed with the release of "Mean Johnny Barrows" on DVD. This so called Director's cut suffers from a less than stellar print even though Code Red states it was remastered from the original 35mm print. The films contrast and colors fluctuate back and forth throughout the movie and at times many of the scenes appear washed out. There are moments when noticeable debris and speckling as well as a white line can be seen in the print. The best part about this film was the video commentary from the star and director himself Fred "the Hammer" Williamson included on the disc.

Dishonorably discharged and decorated Silver Star Vietnam veteran "Johnny Barrows" returns back home from the war and is welcomed almost immediately by a couple street thugs looking to score. Beaten by the thugs and left in an alley, he is picked up by the police and brought to jail. A sympathetic cop recognizes the one time local football & war hero and immediately releases him. Back on the streets with no money and no place to stay "Barrows" roams the streets looking for work. Welcome home Johnny!

For a low budget movie there are some very notable actors aside from Williamson in key roles, but that's where it ends. For the most part the acting turned in by Roddy McDowall and Stuart Whitman comes off as very stiff and as for the "Hammer" I've seen much better from him in other movies. As for the cameo by Elliott Gould it's absolutely ridiculous, his part adds nothing to the movie at all. I don't know if Gould was desperate for work or Williamson felt the need for some comic relief, it just didn't work for me.
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Amazon.com: 3.7 out of 5 stars  7 reviews
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Badazz 2.35:1 Print for MJB....FINALLY!!! June 16 2010
By S. Poirier - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
formally thought this was a stinky mess when I watched it on my 'What it is, What it Was' 10 movie box set. Grainy Pan and Scan piece of poop.

After watching the new Director's edition from Code Red, I can't believe how much picture I've been missing. Not only was the P/S cropped on this sides, but the top and bottom were slightly cropped as well!

The director's cut adds about 10 minutes, and I'm glad to finally see it now, as some scenes were so abruptly cut in the P/S, it just didn't make sense to cut them, unless to get the movie under 1.5 hours. One scene in particular, is when Barrows is pointing 2 double barrel shotguns at 2 bad guys. Close ups of each gun are restored here, before any shots are taken. Simple, but makes the scene a lot cooler than the cut version.

The acting is half decent, with most of Williamson's lines being pretty cheesy. .

The new DVD is definetely worth picking up if a Blax fan or a Williamson fan. Just seeing it cleaned up and in it's actual print ratio is pretty badazz. Williamson oozes 'cool' in several scenes, and the film/shoot looks like a bigger production than it actually is.

The music repeats itself alot throughout the movie, but that doesn't matter...when the music is orchestral funk.

The movie itself, I'd give a 3 out of 5.

As for the 35mm print used...I think it's pretty flippin' good here, considering the steaming pile of crud Pan and Scan versions we were stuck with on all the public domain DVD's. Thumbs up to Code Red for putting this DVD together, can't wait for more blaxploitation from them.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars "Big Bad Fred" April 11 2011
By yorkstead - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
"Mean Johnny Barrows" is about dishonorable discharge veteran who can't find a job because of past allegation. The only job offered goes against his moral code,but soon he is in the game as a dangerous hitman.This movie has a lot of twist and turn, but Big Bad Fred is alway one step of his enemies.Like the movie poster, Fred comes with two double barrel shotgun to give his enemies a one-way ticket to hell.The 1970's playbook on military tactic in cinema is on display,with Fred using his skill to outwit a scheming mobster and his deadly girlfriend.
4.0 out of 5 stars Dynamite!!! April 23 2009
By Rube Goldfinger - Published on Amazon.com
Perfect 70s exploitation! Its a super low-budget mobster film about a Vietnam soldier turned hitman. Like other Williamson-directed films, its fun and simple but has alot of interesting qualities to it. It moves slow, but its never boring. Great moments include a "special guest appearance" by Williamson's "M*A*S*H" co-star Elliot Gould. As soon as Gould appears its obvious the two are having a lot of fun improvising the scene which has nothing to do with the story. Roddy McDowall gets little screen time but his effeminate British persona translates into a very strange mobster. Also, the ending is mind-blowing. Great late night viewing material.
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Classic Fred Williamson July 8 2005
By Karl J. Wulff - Published on Amazon.com
Early, low-budget Fred Williamson flick...one of the first movies of the period to address the plight of the American G.I. returning from Vietnam to a country that reviled him or just didn't give a damn. Some of the dialogue is weak and the production value is pretty low (as is typical in the genre) but the message and the pure entertainment value make this one worth adding to your blaxploitation collection.
6 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars BRUTAL? BLASTING? BLAZING? BORING! March 31 2010
By The Critic - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
Dishonorably discharged and decorated Silver Star Vietnam veteran "Johnny Barrows" returns back home from the war and is welcomed almost immediately by a couple street thugs looking to score. Beaten by the thugs and left in an alley, he is picked up by the police and brought to jail. A sympathetic cop recognizes the one time local football star & war hero and immediately releases him. Back on the streets with no money and no place to stay "Barrows" roams the streets looking for work. Welcome Home Johnny!

For a low budget movie there are some very notable actors aside from Williamson in key roles, but that's where it ends. For the most part the acting turned in by Roddy McDowall and Stuart Whitman comes off as very stiff and as for "The Hammer" I've seen much better from him in his other movies. As for the cameo by Elliott Gould it's absolutely ridiculous, his part adds nothing to the movie at all. I don't know if Gould was desperate for work or Williamson felt the need for some comic relief, it just didn't work for me. I don't know why Leon Isaac Kennedy gets top billing on the DVD cover, he's in the film less than Elliot Gould.

Mean Johnny Barrows is an extremely slow paced film with too many scenes of the main character wandering the streets looking for work, while trying to find meaning. The action sequences are few and far between and the special effects if you can call them special are extremely low budget. The major fight scene towards the end of the movie is a complete letdown and very poorly choreographed. I expected a lot more action from the fight scene considering that "The Hammer" holds black belts in three martial arts disciplines. Another thing that really made this film hard to watch for me was the music, it seemed out of place at times and didn't suit the action on screen. At one point I left the room for about 10 minutes because nothing was happening on screen. After writing my review I looked this movie up on the IMDB to see if anyone else thought the movie was slow and boring. Not surprising "Mean Johnny Barrows" is rated 4.7/10. The cover of the DVD suggests that the film is Brutal! Blasting! Blazing! It's anything but.

My first experience with Code Red was with their poor DVD release of Sweet Sixteen. In my opinion Code Red has once again failed with the release of "Mean Johnny Barrows" on DVD. This so called Director's cut suffers from a less than stellar print even though Code Red states it was remastered from the original 35mm print negatives. The films contrast and colors fluctuate back and forth throughout the movie and at times many of the scenes appear washed out. There are moments when noticeable debris and speckling as well as a white line can be seen in the print. The best part about this DVD for me was the video commentary from the star and director himself Fred "The Hammer" Williamson included on the disc.

DVD Special Features Include:
*Un-Cut Director's Cut: Brand new 16x9 (2.31:1)anamorphic widescreen transfer remastered from the original master negatives
*Audio Commentary with the Producer, Director/star Fred "The Hammer" Williamson
*Featurette: Hammertime, interview with Fred "The Hammer" Williamson
*Original theatrical trailer
*Other Code Red trailers
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