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Rad

4K Ultra HD

Blu Ray

  • Score
    77
    from 1 reviewers
    Review Date:
  • Rad offers a nostalgic BMX-themed ride, despite familiar tropes and broad storytelling.

    Rad 4K UHD Blu-ray Front Cover

    Disc Release Date:

  • Video
  • Rad makes its big disc debut in AVC (1.85:1) with a new 4K scan, enhancing detail and texture. BMX scenes and 80s colors pop, despite mild speckling and some jumpy frames from the original shoot.

  • Audio
    72
  • The Rad disc features a vibrant 5.1 DTS-HD MA mix, with crystal-clear dialogue and dynamic surround sound for atmospherics and race crowds, though its low-end is unchallenging, and its music mix varies in consistency, unlike the more balanced 2.0 Dolby Digital mix.

  • Extra
    67
  • Special features explore Rad's legacy, including commentaries, interviews, and the 25th-anniversary event, highlighting the cast, crew's experiences, and Hal Needham's impactful direction.

  • Movie
    67
  • Despite its initial flop in '86, Rad became a cult classic, celebrating BMX culture with earnest charm and thrilling races, now reissued on Blu-ray for eager fans.

    Video:

    In the world of 4K UHD Blu-ray presentations, "Rad" makes a grand entrance with its AVC encoded image, boasting a 1.85:1 aspect ratio that brings this long-lost gem out of rights purgatory into a visually stunning modern era. Its debut on the high-definition format is accomplished through a meticulously crafted new 4K scan, ensuring that every frame drips with a palpable film-like texture. This careful enhancement retains the movie’s grainy aesthetic while significantly amplifying detail across the board. From the intricacies of BMX bikes and rider gear to the authenticity of 80s costuming, everything is presented with a remarkable clarity that celebrates the movie’s rich visual tapestry. Facial features across varying ages are portrayed with remarkable consistency, breathing new life into the film’s characters and settings.

    The enhancement extends to capturing the spirit and vibrancy of small-town life and the adrenaline-pumping Helltrack sequences with an impressive depth, ensuring that every competitor and obstacle is brought into sharp focus. The color palette of "Rad" benefits profoundly from this upgrade, with deeply saturated reds of Rad Racer outfits popping against a background of period-specific yellows and blues, maintaining a delightful balance that enhances aesthetic appeal without oversaturation. Skintones appear natural and unforced, contributing to the overall authenticity and immersion of the visual experience. Despite a few minor issues with delineation during nocturnal scenes and some inherent imperfections from the source material, such as mild speckling and occasional jumpy frames during the iconic bicycle boogie sequence, the 4K presentation maintains an exceptionally high quality that honors the original cinematography while showcasing the film in its best light yet.

    Audio: 72

    The audio presentation of the 4K UHD Blu-ray of "Rad" primarily features a robust 5.1 DTS-HD MA mix that delivers a dynamic and immersive listening experience. Dialogue is rendered with exceptional clarity, ensuring that every exchange, from the overtly dramatic to the subtly nuanced, is captured with precision. This clarity extends to scenes with numerous characters, where individual voices remain distinct amidst the collective activity. The surround sound channels are effectively utilized, particularly during the race sequences, where they enrich the atmosphere with the palpable excitement of crowd reactions and the ambient subtleties of the setting. However, the mix does not heavily tax the low-frequency effects channel, which may leave some seeking a more profound bass presence to complement the vibrant highs and mids.

    In terms of musical accompaniment, the 5.1 mix presents an interesting approach. The score benefits from crisp instrumentation, affording it a lively and engaging quality. Yet, the treatment of songs, especially noticeable with the two tracks by John Farnham, is peculiar; vocals are isolated in the center channel, offering an almost detached auditory experience, as if the listener is in a sound booth. This separation somewhat disrupts the cohesion between voice and music. Conversely, other pieces on the soundtrack manage a more integrated sound, avoiding this stark vocal isolation.

    For those preferring uniformity in musical presentation, the alternative 2.0 Dolby Digital mix might offer a more satisfying experience. Though it lacks the expansive soundstage of its 5.1 counterpart, it compensates with greater consistency in audio balance, particularly with respect to the soundtrack. This mix achieves a more harmonious blend of music and vocals, ensuring that neither element overshadows the other, thus offering an albeit less dynamic but more evenly balanced listening experience.

    Extra: 67

    The 4K UHD Blu-ray extras for "Rad" offer a deep dive into the making and legacy of this BMX cult classic, featuring a diverse range of content that balances technical discussions, personal recollections, and fan celebrations. Commentary tracks provide varying perspectives, from the production crew to the actors and BMX professionals involved, offering a comprehensive insight into the film's creation and impact. "The Stuntman Directs" and "Writing Something Rad" stand out for their in-depth look at the challenges and triumphs of making the film, directly from key creative forces behind it. The inclusion of both archival and contemporary interviews with cast and crew, alongside unique features like a 25th-anniversary event recap and a music video, enriches the package, making it an essential collection for fans and newcomers interested in the behind-the-scenes story of "Rad."

    Extras included in this disc:

    • Commentary #1: Features actress/producer Talia Shire and producer Robert Schwartzman.
    • Commentary #2: Features actor Bill Allen.
    • Commentary #3: Features actors Bill Allen and Bart Conner, writer Sam Bernard, and BMX riders Eddie Fiola, Martin Aparijo, Jose Yanez, and Jeremy Moser.
    • The Stuntman Directs: An interview excerpt from a forthcoming documentary on "Rad."
    • Writing Something Rad: A sit-down with co-writer Sam Bernard about his experiences writing the film.
    • Rad 25: A feature on the 25th-anniversary event in Cochran, Alberta, Canada.
    • Cast & Crew Interviews: Conversations with key production members and cast.
    • Archival Featurette: An Electronic Press Kit (EPK) on the making of "Rad."
    • Archival Interviews: Discussions with Bart Conner, Lori Loughlin, Hal Needham, and Bill Allen.
    • Break the Ice: A 1986 music video by John Farnham.
    • Photo Gallery: Behind-the-scenes snaps and personal pictures from the set.
    • Theatrical Trailer: The original promotional trailer for "Rad.

    Movie: 67

    Since its lackluster debut in 1986, "Rad" has gradually ascended to cult classic status, primarily due to its deep embedment in the burgeoning BMX culture of the era and its frequent rotations on cable TV. This beloved film finally makes its way onto disc, meticulously restored to nearly pristine condition, much to the delight of its long-awaiting fanbase. The movie, despite its somewhat ludicrous plot and character developments, perfectly encapsulates the essence of its time - imbuing teenage emotions and aspirations with a backdrop of competitive BMX racing.

    At the heart of "Rad" is Cru Jones (Bill Allen), a quintessential small-town teenager with dreams bigger than his paper route could ever fulfill. The narrative follows Jones as he navigates the complexities of young love, familial expectations, and the ultimate BMX challenge, Helltrack. While the plot treads familiar ground – the young protagonist torn between duty and desire – it's the authenticity of the performances and the vibrant representation of BMX culture that elevates Rad beyond its simplistic story arc. Notably, the relationships, particularly Cru's shifting affections and the washed-over portrayal of teenage romance, are captured with a raw immediacy that speaks to the film’s sincere—if unconventional—heart.

    The film truly shines in its portrayal of BMX racing, where director Hal Needham’s genuine enthusiasm for the sport is palpable. Through meticulously choreographed race sequences and awe-inspiring stunt work, "Rad" captures the thrills and spills of BMX competition. A standout moment is the bicycle boogie scene, an audacious display of cycling ballet set to Real Life's "Send Me an Angel," epitomizing the film’s spirit. Despite narrative inconsistencies and underdeveloped character motivations, "Rad" triumphs as an entertaining homage to its era, particularly for enthusiasts of BMX and '80s pop culture.

    Total: 77

    Rad," a film that has long awaited its 4K UHD Blu-ray release, finally emerges with a presentation that doesn't quite elevate its storytelling but instead capitalizes on its unique charm and nostalgic value. Directed by Hal Needham, a filmmaker known for his less-than-subtle approach, "Rad" embarks on a journey reminiscent of numerous teen-centric narratives. However, it distinguishes itself through the dynamic energy of BMX races and the archetypal confrontation of good versus evil, encapsulated within a timeframe that many recall fondly. While the plot may not break new ground, the dedication evident in the performances delivers a sense of authenticity to this time capsule of youth rebellion and romance.

    Technically, the 4K UHD Blu-ray release does justice to the vivid aesthetics and kinetic energy that "Rad" exudes. Although not at the forefront of cinematic achievement in terms of narrative depth, where it truly shines is in its ability to capture and enhance the visual spectacle of BMX stunts and the effervescence of 80’s culture. This aspect, coupled with a clear, nostalgic sound mix, ensures that viewers are transported back to an era where physical prowess and audacious challenges defined character. The cast's commitment to their roles further adds layers to what could easily have been a flat portrayal of youth culture.

    In conclusion, while "Rad" may not offer groundbreaking storytelling or nuanced filmmaking, its release on 4K UHD Blu-ray serves as a definitive nod to its unique place in film history. It stands as a testament to the enduring appeal of 80s nostalgia, BMX culture, and the simple yet compelling allure of overcoming adversities through sheer determination and physical skill. For enthusiasts and collectors alike, this release solidifies "Rad's" status as a beloved relic of its time, offering both a visual and emotional trip down memory lane.