Right from the tagline it’s clear that Blades, from writers John P. Finegan (Girls School Screamers), William R. Pace, and director Thomas R. Rondinella (one of his only full-length features), is looking to parody the animal attack genre, most notably Jaws. Unlike other films that aped Spielberg’s classic horror film, though, Blades is less a cash-grab mimicking the seriousness of the original than it is an ode, often lifting scenes wholesale for a tongue-in-cheek comedic approach. You certainly can’t take a killer lawn mower terrorizing a golf course too seriously… or can you?
The film stars Robert North as golf pro Roy, who has just joined the Tall Grass Country Club as its resident trainer, stepping into the role that Kelly (Victoria Scott) fully expected to land. They have a bit of a quarrel, but all that is overshadowed by a few grisly murders that occur on the golf course just before a big televised tournament. In true Jaws fashion we have a country club manager unwilling to let a few dead bodies stand in the way of his big day and a police chief who couldn’t find the killer if he literally had a sign pointing to him; so it’s up to Kelly, Roy, and a lawn mower expert (Jeremy Whalen) to hunt the rogue lawn mower down and end its reign of terror over the links.
The result is just as ridiculous as it sounds, though Rondinella often leans into intentionally serious territory while riffing on Jaws‘ familiar scenes. Blades follows its influence fairly closely; the initiated viewer will definitely recognize multiple scenes given a golf flair. The film works best when it is heavily poking fun at Jaws – when it tries to go its own way with the golf course theme and characterizing its major players, it falls a bit flat.
It’s also far too long – a parody can only sustain its joke for so long, and an hour and 40 minute riff wears out its welcome. Rondinella’s attempt at following the exact trajectory of Jaws‘ plot is its main downfall, because this could have been a lean and mean 80-minute film where all the punchlines land without having to draw it out.
Overall, fans will mostly enjoy Blades‘ obvious jokes and its absurdity, but it doesn’t hold together for its entire length. Check it out for the Jaws parody about a sentient killer lawn mower, but just know that it’s not the best version of this knockoff sub-genre.
Full uncompressed screenshots from this Blu-ray release.
Vinegar Syndrome has released Blades on Blu-ray with a new 2K scan of the 35mm camera negative, and for the most part the results are great. The image quality is excellent throughout much of the film, with consistent fine details and a prominent, verdant color timing thanks to the golf course setting. Occasional dark sequences feature heavy, somewhat obstructive grain scale, and there are a couple instances where lines and other damage crop up (the last scene before the credits particularly). However, I doubt many will complain – this is the best Blades has and may ever look.
Audio is presented with a DTS-HD MA 2.0 stereo track which has a strong presence both in sound effects and dialogue. No real issues to note here. Also included, though not listed on the box or menu, is a Dolby Digital 2.0 track. English subtitles included but not available from the main menu.
Extras include a new audio commentary with director Rondinella and writer William R. Pace that enlightens more about the inspirations of the plot and a new making-of documentary that runs about 20 minutes featuring interviews with the cast and the crew about the creation of the movie. Also included is a still gallery.
Packaging comes with new reversible artwork.
Region Free Blu-ray
NEW scanned & restored in 2k from its 35mm original camera negative
NEW Commentary track with director Thomas R. Rondinella and writer William R. Pace
NEW “Fore Warning” – a making-of documentary featuring interviews with the cast and crew (HD; 21:32)
Still gallery (no chapter breaks; 2:11)
NEW Reversible cover artwork
English SDH subtitles
If you’re a big fan of Jaws-adjacent movies, Blades is definitely worth a watch as a parody that doesn’t take itself too seriously, though it has pacing issues. This Vinegar Syndrome Blu-ray is a great release with excellent video quality and a few extra features that elaborate on the making of the film.
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