Vice Squad appears in an aspect ratio of 1.85:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. This was an erratic but acceptable image.
For the most part, sharpness looked fine. Softness cropped up on occasion, and I couldn’t call the film razor-sharp, but it showed generally positive delineation the majority of the time.
No issues with jaggies or shimmering materialized, and I saw no signs of edge haloes. Print flaws caused no distractions, and grain remained natural.
In terms of colors, the film opted for a natural palette, with a blue impression for nighttime exteriors. Overall, the hues seemed acceptable, so while they didn’t leap off the screen, they showed passable pep and clarity.
Blacks were fairly dark and tight, and low-light shots offered decent smoothness, though they could be a little murky at times. Given the movie’s age and budget, this felt like a perfectly acceptable presentation.
As for the film’s DTS-HD MA monaural soundtrack, it also seemed fine for its age. Speech showed some hollow tones and could be a little muddy but the lines remained intelligible and were usually reasonably natural.
Music was pretty full and rich, whereas effects seemed decent. Those elements lacked much punch but they didn’t display notable problems. This was a decent track for its era.
On this Collector’s Edition, we get a mix of extras, and these include two separate audio commentaries. For the first, we hear from director Gary A. Sherman. Along with moderator David Gregory, he delivers a running, screen-specific look at the film’s development, story and characters, sets and locations, cast and performances, research and realism, music, editing, and related domains.
Overall, this becomes a pretty good chat. Sherman covers a nice array of topics and gives us a solid overview of the various areas.
Newly recorded for this Blu-ray, the second commentary involves Sherman and producer Brian Frankish. Both sit together for a running, screen-specific discussion of the same subjects as the prior track.
Sort of. When Sherman and Frankish speak, they touch on the topics I mention, but unfortunately, they rarely talk about anything.
Which comes as a surprise because Sherman offers a chatty presence in the other commentary. However, his duet with Frankish suffers from massive amounts of dead air, so they provide no information at all for large chunks of the film.
Even when Frankish and Sherman do chat, they reveal little that fails to appear in the first commentary. The Sherman/Frankish track becomes a complete waste of time so there’s zero reason to listen to it.
In addition to these commentaries, we find a slew of interviews. Under Tracking the Beast, we locate a chat with actor Gary Swanson.
During this 58-minute, five-second piece, Sherman looks at his life and career, with an emphasis on Vice Squad. Nearly an hour seems way too long, especially because Sherman can ramble at times.
We do learn a decent amount about the production, but we also get fairly irrelevant stories about cliff-diving and other head-scratching domains. This chat really needs tightening, as it runs past the point of positive returns.
We hear more from director Sherman via Of Poltergeist and Neon Lights, a one-hour, 12-minute, 22-second interview. Here he relates tales about his life, career, and aspects of Vice Squad.
Like the Swanson interview, this one runs too long. Unlike Swanson, however, Sherman manages to remain focused, so this piece feels much better focused. Sherman repeats some info from the commentaries, but he still offers a pretty good chat that comes with a lot of new insights.
Frankish reappears through Hollywood Magic. This reel fills one hour, two minutes, 29 seconds, and like its predecessors, it digs into the subject’s life, career and experiences during Squad.
Another exceedingly long interview, this one falls between its two prior siblings. Frankish seems better focused than Sherman but not as tight as Swanson, so this turns into an overly long but generally informative piece.
Another performer shows up for The Roots of Reality, a 44-minute, six-second interview with actor Beverly Todd. To the surprise of no one, she relates thoughts about her life, career and Vice Squad.
While not quite as meandering as Swanson, Todd tends to go on and on about her own greatness, as she seems to fancy herself as one of the world’s top talents. She manages some insights about Squad but the relentless self-praise gets old.
Actor Pepe Serna comes to the fore with Catching a Killer. This piece lasts 58 minutes, 19 seconds and – you guessed it – details Serna’s life, career and time on Vice Squad.
Another sign that quantity doesn’t mean quality, this interview goes too long and comes with too much inconsequential information. At least the chapter stops allow viewers to skip across various topics.
For the final actor chat, we head to Princess Driver. It goes for 24 minutes, 13 seconds and features actor Michael Ensign as he covers – shocker! – his life, career and Vice Squad.
Thankfully, we finally get an interview of manageable length, though ironically, Ensign seems like the subject with the most interesting career. The guy appeared in both Ghostbusters and Titanic, after all, as well as other well-remembered films.
Ensign’s interview becomes the best of the bunch – and the only one I wish ran longer, as I would’ve liked to hear more about his extensive career. Still, this becomes a largely engaging chat without the meandering weaknesses of its siblings.
A featurette entitled Hollywood Streetwalking spans 11 minutes, 36 seconds and takes us on a tour of the film’s locations. It allows us to contrast the spots in 1982 versus today. It becomes a competent comparison but it could use commentary to add to it.
In addition to the movie’s trailer, we find two radio spots and five TV spots. We also find two Galleries: “Poster and Lobby Card” (41 frames) and “Publicity” (73). With a complete press kit and other materials, the second one becomes the most valuable.
A silly piece of 1980s cheese, Vice Squad fails in a variety of ways. The movie’s main flaw comes from the boredom it generates, as even with a slew of provocative situations, the flick creates yawns. The Blu-ray brings generally good picture and audio along with a long roster of bonus materials. Maybe genre fans like this movie, but it seems like a bomb to me.