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Extreme Adventures of Super Dave, The
Made more than a decade after comedian Bob Einstein's character, Super Dave Osborne, was a stable of late night TV talk shows and cable TV specials, The Extreme Adventures Of Super Dave, directed by Peter McDonald (the man who gave us Rambo III and Legionnaire) struggles to take what was a series of typically very funny short sketches and turn them into a feature length movie.
The story opens with Dave getting ready to perform his latest feat of daring do just as New Year's Eve turns 1999 into the year 2000. Of course, this being Super Dave and all, it goes horribly wrong, much to the dismay of celebrities in the crowd like The Pope and Queen Elizabeth II. Understandably, after his latest failure to pull of an Evel Knievel style stunt proves a flop, Dave decides to hang up his hat and retire.
Hoping to live a nice, quiet life away from his past, it isn't long before Dave's crooked promoter, Gil Ruston (Dan Hedaya), is trying to get him back into the spotlight. It also isn't long before Dave starts to run out of money and has to close the Super Dave Stunt Academy and send his assistant, Fuji (Art Irizawa), packing. The one bright spot in his new pedestrian life is the presence of pretty and kindly Sandy (Gia Carides) and the friendship that blossoms between the two of them, but of course, it isn't long before Super Dave is back doing what he does best… flubbing complicated stunts and injuring himself for our amusement, but watch out for Super Dave Jr. (Steve Van Wormer)!
The fact that this movie was shelved after completion for a few years before then going straight to video doesn't have to mean the movie is bad, these things happen for various reasons from time to time, but in this case… it's pretty bad. Now, if you laugh at the short comedy bits Super Dave was known for and get a kick out of seeing how wrong his stunts can go (and for the record, I do), then you'll get a few laughs out of this, as these sequences work about as well here as they do on the various TV shows Einstein appeared on doing his shtick way back when, and they're even done on a larger scale here, which is mildly interesting to see. But that's about all that the movie has to offer.
The story, which Bob Einstein wrote with Don Lake, Lorne Cameron and David Hoselton, is about as predictable as they come. You know as soon as Dave retires it won't stick, and pretty much every beat that the movie hits you can see coming from a mile away. There aren't really any surprises here and the film never manages to build much tension even during the stunt sequences, because you already know that they won't go well for Dave.
Einstein is fine in his dead pan role. He doesn't have much range but doesn't need it, since Super Dave is pretty much a one note character. Gia Carides is likeable enough as the single mom that Dave gets involved with and Art Irizawa jovial enough to enjoy as Fuji (even if he's playing what is, by modern standards, a potentially offensive stereotype). Dan Hedaya is absolutely the right guy to cast as Dave's sleazy promotor and he does a good job with the part. The problem though, again, ties back to the script, which is just plain weak. Super Dave devotees will get a few mild laughs out of the stunt set pieces but aside from that, there's nothing here to really draw anyone in.
Kino brings The Extreme Adventures Of Super Dave to region A Blu-ray on a 25GB disc with the feature taking up just over 19GBs of space and framed at 1.85.1 widescreen. The picture quality is quite nice here. The image is very colorful and clean, showing no noticeable print damage but retaining some proper film grain. Close up shots show very strong detail, medium and long distance shots are not quite as strong but they still look very good. Compression isn't ever an issue and there are no problems with noise reduction or edge enhancement issues. All in all, this looks quite good.
The English language 24-bit DTS-HD 2.0 Stereo Master Audio track, which comes with with removable subtitles available in English only, sounds quite good. No problems to note here, the audio quality is solid. The track spreads out the effects quite effectively in a few sequences and is, overall, quite clean, clear and nicely balanced throughout.
Extras on the disc start off with a commentary director Peter McDonald, moderated by historian and filmmaker Daniel Kremer. They start by talking about how McDonald got his start in the film industry as a teenager and worked his way up to directing and producing, before then going on to talk about specific memories of working with some of the cast members, how he wound up directing the feature while under contract with Columbia/Tri-Star despite the fact that he didn't really want to do it, how he first met Super Dave (who insisted he called him 'Supe' or 'Soup'!), getting along with Bob Einstein quite well, trying to convert a series of short gags into a feature film, where he thinks he succeeded and where he doesn't, some of the other movies that he's worked on over the years like Superman, the real danger of shooting some of the stunt and pyro scenes in the movie, the differences between directing comedy versus directing action movies, what he learned from Blake Edwards and quite a bit more.
Aside from that, we get a trailer for the feature, trailers for a few other Kino properties (The Wrong Guy, The Crew and The Ice Harvest), menus and chapter selection options.
The Extreme Adventures Of Super Dave will appeal to hardcore fans of Einstein's character but even then, the story doesn't offer much of interest and casual viewers probably won't get much out of this at all. The stunts are fun to watch but the movie is poorly written. That said, Kino's Blu-ray release does look and sound pretty solid and the director's commentary will offer some interest. Established fans of the movie will appreciate the upgrade here, but unless you into that niche, you can probably skip this one.
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.