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The Killer Elite and the Mechanic from MGM on Blu-ray

    With Father’s Day just around the corner, why not spoil him with both Sam Peckinpah’s The Killer Elite and Charles Bronson’s The Mechanic? This double barrel of Blu-ray movies includes extended features and goodies.

    In Sam Peckinpah’s The Killer Elite (1975), elite assassins Mike Locken (James Caan, RollerballThe GodfatherMisery) and George Hansen (Robert Duvall, Apocalypse NowThe Godfather) take on jobs too risky for even the CIA to handle. They’re best friends, superior marksmen and on the ‘A’-list when it comes to killing. But when one high-powered hitman betrays another, the intrigue, the violence and the thrills become more than just a dangerous game of who-kills-whom first. It becomes a very personal war.

    Directed by Peckinpah (The Wild BunchThe GetawayBring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia), the film also stars Arthur Hill (Future WorldThe Andromeda StrainHarper), Bo Hopkins (A Small Town in TexasMutantMidnight Express), Burt Young (RockyAmityville IIConvoy), Mako (The Sand PebblesAn Eye for an EyeConan the Barbarian), Helmut Dantine (The Story of MankindThe Wilby Conspiracy) and Academy Award-winning actor Gig Young (They Shoot Horses, Don’t They?Game of DeathThe Tunnel of Love). Special features include interviews with Bo Hopkins and production assistant Katy Haber; audio commentary with film historians Paul Seydor, Garner Simmons and Nick Redman; TV and radio spots; and the original trailer.

    Roger says: Sam Peckinpah’s “The Killer Elite” is directed and acted with a certain nice style, but it puts us through so many convolutions of the plot that finally we just don’t care. After “Three Days of the Condor” and all the other variations on the CIA betrayal theme, we’ve been here before. The guys who are double-crossing each other stand around talking about divided loyalties and professionalism doing their best to sound bitter and cynical and somehow idealistic and it’d be a relief if they’d just shoot each other and get it over with.

    In Charles Bronson’s The Mechanic, Arthur Bishop (Charles Bronson) is a mob hit man who operates in an uncompromising world where conventional rules of morality don’t apply and one wrong move could cost him his life. He’s always worked alone; but, as age catches up with him, Bishop takes on a competent and ruthless apprentice and teaches him everything he knows. Together they become an unmatchable team of globetrotting killers until the pupil’s ruthlessness puts him on a collision course with his teacher. Special features include an interview with writer Lewis John Carlino; audio commentary with author Paul Talbot (“Bronson’s Loose” book series); audio commentary with cinematographer Richard H. Kline, moderated By Nick Redman; and the theatrical trailer.

    Roger says: He is like a depression-prone James Bond. He has everything and he can do anything. He has an original Bosch on the wall of his living room, and he likes to sit and look at it and sip fine wines and listen to chamber music and plan his next murder. His is the life of conspicuous consumption we were all taught to strive for until, a few years ago, simplicity came in. He never got the message; he is an anachronism. He is also sad.

    Tony M.