Released just a couple of months after Imprint's limited edition, the KLSC release of Warning Shot brings us the same high-quality video and audio transfers and engaging commentary track. A cool '60s vibe elevates director Buzz Kulik's entertaining but forgettable thriller about a cop unjustly accused of manslaughter who must solve a convoluted mystery to clear his name. Though the square-jawed, gravelly-voiced David Janssen carries the film, it's the constant parade of guest stars that make Warning Shot interesting and absorbing. Worth a Look.
[Excerpt from our Warning Shot - Imprint Films Limited Edition Blu-ray review]
It's a story that could have been ripped from today's headlines. A hard-nosed cop shoots and kills a fleeing suspect who pulled a gun on him, then faces accusations of police brutality and a manslaughter charge when the suspect's gun can't be found. Was there a gun at all? Did the cop think he saw something he didn't? Or is his claim of self-defense just a cover to absolve him of responsibility and hide his violent, sadistic impulses?
Warning Shot chronicles the efforts of Sgt. Tom Valens (David Janssen) to find the smoking gun and unravel the mystery swirling around its dead owner - an upstanding doctor "who checks out like Mr. Clean and Santa Claus rolled into one" - before he goes on trial for killing him. His hunt for clues puts him in contact with an array of oddball characters, one of whom just might lead Valens to his doom.
Packed with '60s style, Warning Shot also touches upon the decade's hot-button social issues, some of which we're still grappling with today. There's a protest against police violence during which people express their distrust of law enforcement and carry signs that read "Stop killer cops!" A black TV reporter covering the event ponders whether he would be dealt with more harshly than Valens if he had pulled the trigger, simply because of his race. Valens also struggles with PTSD stemming from a prior shooting incident, which leads the vengeful city prosecutor (Sam Wanamaker) to question his mental fitness.
Vital Disc Stats: The Blu-ray
The KLSC edition of Warning Shot arrives on Blu-ray packaged in a standard case. Video codec is 1080p/AVC MPEG-4 and audio is DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 mono. Once the disc is inserted into the player, the static menu with music immediately pops up; no previews or promos precede it.
The 1080p/AVC MPEG-4 transfer appears to be the same one used for the Imprint Films Limited Edition Blu-ray release of Warning Shot. Chapter stops are different, but the source material is identical. Here's what I wrote about the transfer in my Imprint review:
The 1080p/AVC MPEG-4 transfer from Paramount Pictures features excellent clarity, contrast, and color timing and faithfully honors the vibrant cinematography of Joseph Biroc, who would win an Oscar several years later for The Towering Inferno. A natural grain structure preserves the feel of celluloid, and though a snowy process shot momentarily grabs attention, softness is kept at bay most of the time. Rich blacks add a sense of foreboding to nocturnal scenes, the bright whites never bloom, and there's plenty of vibrant color on display, especially during a brief scene that showcases mod '60s fashion. Bold reds, sunny yellows, and lush greens keep the eye engaged, flesh tones remain true and consistent, and sharp close-ups showcase Janssen's rugged complexion and the creamy skin of Collins, Powers, and Parker. Though some mild speckling persists throughout, it never distracts from the on-screen action or diminishes the quality of this fine rendering.
The DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 mono track also seems to be identical to the LPCM 2.0 mono track on the Imprint Blu-ray. Here's what I wrote about the Imprint audio:
Robust sound distinguishes the LPCM 2.0 mono track. A wide dynamic scale embraces all the highs and lows of Jerry Goldsmith's rousing, very '60s music score without a hint of distortion, and all the dialogue is clear and easy to comprehend. Sonic accents like the titular gunshot, fisticuffs, and a ringing telephone are crisp, and no age-related hiss, pops, or crackle intrude. Though Warning Shot is a surprisingly talky thriller, this track flexes its muscles when needed and handles any challenges with ease.
The KLSC edition provides several trailers for other KLSC releases, but not one for Warning Shot. They also include the same audio commentary that appeared on the Imprint release.
Audio Commentary - Film historians Howard S. Berger and Steve Mitchell express unbridled enthusiasm for Warning Shot, but it's tough not to feel as if they're unduly propping up the film and its makers. The pair examines how the movie embraces old Hollywood classicism while butting up against the more freewheeling new Hollywood style. They also discuss how Warning Shot depicts the "loosening up of America," how Steve Allen's provocateur TV commentator character resembles Tucker Carlson, and how director Buzz Kulik deftly mixes pulp with nuance. Berger and Mitchell enjoy a comfortable rapport and their lively exchanges make this track worth checking out.
The KLSC edition of Warning Shot is exactly the same as Imprint Films' limited edition release. Identical video and audio transfers and the same commentary track make the two discs virtually indistinguishable. Though director Buzz Kulik's film never will be considered a classic thriller, it's a fun retro ride made all the more enjoyable by an endless parade of legendary guest stars. If you haven't yet picked up Warning Shot from Imprint, you'll save some money by going with Kino's very satisfying Blu-ray presentation. Worth a Look.