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After a young man named Pedro (Pedro Barão Dias) overdoes it one night, he wakes up still a mess from the night before to find that the world is a mess and that government effort to create super soldiers has turned a whole lot of unwitting victims into zombies.
Enter Maria (Maria Leite), a foxy and super tough resistance fighter who has freed one such test subject dubbed TS-347 (Joaquim Guerreiro) from the government's Complex 3. Whereas pretty much every other attempt to create a super soldier failed, TS-347 was the odd man out, and the experiments that were done to him really did create a being of superhuman strength and abilities. The military is more concerned with the zombie plague than Maria and TS-347, and they set into motion a plan to bomb the infected area but they do manage to send out TS-504 (also Joaquim Guerreiro), which is kind of a mix between TS-347 and a zombie, to chase down and bring back their lost experiment. Eventually Maria and Pedro meet up and team up to deal with TS-504 and hopefully make it out of the area before the bombs are dropped. Along the way they befriend a French lobsterman named Jean-Pierre (João Vilas) who is looking for his missing girlfriend and who would love nothing more than to kill his arch-enemy, Dolphin Man (Mário Oliveira).
Filled to the brim with all manner of ludicrous ideas and concepts, Mutant Blast, which oddly enough was financed by Troma and the Portuguese government, is a whole lot of good, gory fun. Yes, it was clearly made with a low budget and the movie can't help but wear that quality on its sleeve but you've got to admire the dedication to craft shown by director Fernando Alle and his team. The acting isn't always believable but it is always enthusiastic and that counts for a lot in a B-movie like this. There's also a lot of creativity on display throughout the movie, from the writing and directing to the costuming to the host of effects and prop work, all of which is done using practical techniques rather than CGI and the movie is all the better for it.
Not meant to be taken too seriously and infused with a manic sense of humor, the film is played completely straight by everyone on camera, which is no easy feat when you consider the absurdity that they have to portray in pretty much any given frame of the digitally lensed production. Each of the principal performers brings their all to the movie and the various supporting players that populate the movie are also a lot of fun here. Watch out for Troma's own Lloyd Kaufman as one of the zombies that appears in the movie.
Plot-wise, this pulls from many obvious and varied influences, everything from James Cameron movies like Aliens and The Terminator to more obvious splatter comedies like Evil Dead and Braindead but it's a good mix of influences to pull from. All in all, this turns out to be a lot of fun.
Troma brings Mutant Blast to region free Blu-ray on a 25GB disc with the eighty-three minute feature using up just over 17GBS of space. The AVC encoded 1080p high definition picture is framed at 2.35.1 and it looks pretty decent when you consider the film's low budget. Shot on digital video, there's no print damage, dirt, debris or grain to discuss. Detail is pretty decent, if never reference quality and colors look really good. There are some compression artifacts here and there but would appear to be a pretty accurate representation of the source material for the movie.
Dolby Digital 5.1 and 2.0 Stereo tracks are provided in Portuguese. Subtitles are available in English, French, Spanish and Portuguese. The 5.1 mix is good, but again, never reference quality, the low budget being a factor here. Overall though, the track is properly balanced and free of any hiss or distortion. The English subtitles are clean, clear and easy to read.
Aside from a two minute introduction from Lloyd Kaufman, the first disc in the set also includes a commentary track from director Fernando Alle and cast members Pedro Barao Diaz and Joaquim Guerrerio. They speak in English about who did what on the low budget production, the importance of creating a strong opening for the movie, the movie's shooting sequence, locations that were used for key scenes, the influence of movies like Aliens, Universal Soldier and Terminator but also various horror pictures. As they track progresses they talk about trying to create a zombie horde with six people, what went into creating some of the many gore effects that the movie showcases, some of the difficulties that they ran into on the shoot and how they overcame them, working humor into the story, having to shoot 'day for night' at certain times, the fight choreography featured in the movie and having to do the fight scenes without stunt performers and plenty more.
The second disc features a bunch of extra material, though most of it is fairly short. Bottle Cap Challenge is an amusing bit that ties into a 2019 internet challenge were people tried to kick the cap off a water bottle, it runs thirty-five seconds and was done as a promo for the movie.
In the SFX section there are three short pieces. Jean Pierre is a thirty-eight second montage of clips showing how the Lobsterman's characters costume was created. The Rat Hand piece runs thirty-four seconds and shows how this prop was created, while the Zombie Head piece runs just under two minutes and shows the actor getting a plaster cast mold done of his head off of which the zombie mask featured in the movie was based.
Making Of Lobsterman Claws is thirteen seconds of test footage showing the claw props at work. Rat In Motion parts 1 and 2 are thirty-two and twenty seconds respectively and they show the rat costume being tested out and worked on. Rat Pre-Production Test is a forty-eight second piece that shows off some fun test footage shot using the rat costume in action.
Mutant Blast Or How Lloyd Kaufman Became A Portuguese Zombie is a nine and a half minute featurette that features Kaufman hyping up the movie and explaining how he was invited to a Troma Retrospective where he met Fernando Alle and acquired the rights to his first movie, Banana Motherfucker. From there, they financed Alle's next film, which would turn out to be Mutant Blast, a movie that had a special part in it created just for Lloyd. From there we see Lloyd get into zombie makeup and have his scene shot.
Portugal Gets Hit With a Mutant Blast is a ten minute featurette that covers Kaufman's appearance in Portugal, how the Portuguese government helped co-finance the film once they learned Troma as involved, the film's theatrical release in its homeland, how the film was received by audiences, promotion that was done to get the word out about the movie and more.
The disc also includes three minutes of bloopers, a selection of three different Mutant Blast trailers and a selection of five different Troma trailers.
Mutant Blast probably won't do much to convince those who don't appreciate Troma's style, but for those who do, it's a pretty fun movie filled with goofy characters, crazy ideas and plenty of cheap gore. The Blu-ray release offers up the movie in a nice presentation and with a pretty solid array of extra features too. Recommended for Troma fans, a fun rental for anyone else who appreciates B-movie nonsense.
Ian lives in NYC with his wife where he writes for DVD Talk, runs Rock! Shock! Pop!. He likes NYC a lot, even if it is expensive and loud.