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Sung Jin Ahn
Michael Chiklis, Sasha Alexander, Asher Bishop
Writing Credits:
JM DeMatteis

Assassin Deathstroke pursues those who kidnapped his son.

Rated R

Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
French Dolby 5.1
Spanish Dolby 5.1
German Dolby 5.1
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 87 min.
Price: $24.98
Release Date: 8/18/2020

• “One Man Death Machine” Featurette
• Previews
• DVD Copy


-LG OLED65C6P 65-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart OLED TV
-Marantz SR7010 9.2 Channel Full 4K Ultra HD AV Surround Receiver
-Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player
-Chane A2.4 Speakers
-SVS SB12-NSD 12" 400-watt Sealed Box Subwoofer


Deathstroke: Knights & Dragons [Blu-Ray] (2020)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (August 10, 2020)

In an unusual twist, the newest DC Comics animated release revolves around a character normally used as a villain. 40 years after he debuted as an opponent for the Teen Titans, Deathstroke becomes the lead of 2020’s Knights & Dragons.

A study in contrasts, Slade Wilson (voiced by Michael Chiklis) lives his life as both a super-assassin named Deathstroke and as husband to Adeline (Sasha Alexander) and father to young Joseph (Asher Bishop). When a terrorist group called HIVE recruits Slade, he declines.

Rather than take no for an answer, HIVE leader the Jackal (Chris Jai Alex) attacks his family and abducts Joseph. Deathstroke rescues his son and takes out HIVE, but the mayhem results in an injury that leaves Joseph scarred and mute. Adeline leaves Slade and takes Joseph with her.

Ten years later, Slade remains estranged from his family, but a reunion occurs when HIVE again kidnaps Joseph. When Deathstroke goes to save him, he discovers a mess of secrets and new challenges.

Though the character got a big part in 2018’s Teen Titans Go! To the Movies, Dragons may represent an introduction to Deathstroke for many viewers. A lot of those folks seem likely to say “hey – this guy sure reminds me a lot of Deadpool!”

Which one should expect, since Deadpool exists as an overt ripoff of Deathstroke. When I say “overt ripoff”, I mean it – not only do the two share similar costumes and powers, but also Marvel gave Deadpool the name “Wade Wilson”!

Poor Deathstroke gets the short end of this stick, as Deadpool headlined two enormously successful live-action movies whereas his inspiration winds up in this lackluster direct-to-video animated tale. I don’t know enough about the comics’ Deathstroke to say he deserves better, but I suspect he does, for Dragons becomes a wholly forgettable adventure.

Part of the problem comes from the attempt to pack in too much during this 87-minute tale. The prologue fills a good one-fourth of the narrative, and given the film’s relative brevity, that doesn’t leave it much space to pursue alternate goals.

Dragons simply can’t find room to develop its cast of characters well. We get Slade and the rest painted in broad strokes, and we never find them especially rich or compelling.

Instead, Dragons attempts to compensate with action, and it does pour on plenty of violent battles. Unfortunately, these never come across as particularly exciting.

Rather than develop visceral, involving fights, Dragons takes advantage of its “R” rating to pour on the blood. Liberated from the usual “PG-13” accorded these DC animated flicks, it goes for the gusto and paints the walls with gore.

I don’t mind that choice from an aesthetic POV. Indeed, a movie focused on a character like Deathstroke should depict the graphic nature of the violence.

However, Dragons tends to substitute gore for good filmmaking. Rather than find exciting ways to show the action, it hopes that the blood and goo with convince us we get a vivid experience.

We don’t, and the narrative’s frequent descent into cheap soap opera melodrama doesn’t help. Maybe further Deathstroke adventures will satisfy, but Dragons never gels.

The Disc Grades: Picture B+/ Audio B+/ Bonus C-

Deathstroke: Knights & Dragons appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.78:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. The film came with an appealing presentation.

Sharpness worked well, with only a smidgen of softness in some wider shots. The vast majority of the film boasted accurate, tight visuals.

I saw no jagged edges or shimmering. Edge haloes remained absent, as did source flaws.

Colors emphasized reds, with additional signs of blues, ambers and purples. These looked pretty bright and dynamic.

Blacks were deep and dense, while shadows appeared clear and well-depicted. The image satisfied.

I also felt pleased with the movie’s DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack, as it used the spectrum in a lively manner. Given all the film’s action, it came with plenty of room for excitement, and it utilized those opportunities well.

In particular, various battles spread around the domain in a way that engulfed the listener. Music broadened across the speakers well, and general atmosphere acted to add to the movie’s impact.

Audio quality seemed positive, with speech that felt concise and distinctive. Music appeared rich and full, with bold tones.

Effects boasted a nice punch, as those elements brought accurate, dynamic material that delivered deep low-end. I thought the soundtrack suited the film well.

Only one extra appears here: a featurette called One Man Death Machine. It runs 13 minutes, 44 seconds and offers notes from character creators Marv Wolfman and George Perez, Arrow co-executive producer Oscar Balderrama, Arrow consulting producer Marc Guggenheim, and actors Michael Chiklis and Manu Bennett.

“Machine” looks at the character’s origins and characteristics, various appearances over the years, and aspects of this movie. Though brief, “Machine” delivers a pretty solid overview.

The disc opens with an ad for Superman: Man of Tomorrow. Trailers adds a promo for Mortal Kombat Legends: Scorpion’s Revenge.

A second disc brings a DVD copy of Dragons. It includes promos but lacks the featurette.

With Deathstroke: Knights & Dragons, a secondary comic character gets his time to shine. Unfortunately, the movie lacks dramatic heft, as it relies on tacky melodrama and graphic violence rather than compelling storytelling. The Blu-ray comes with very good picture and audio as well as a decent featurette. Dragons winds up as a bloody but dull tale.

Viewer Film Ratings: 2 Stars Number of Votes: 1
0 3:
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