Back Add a Comment Share:
Facebook Button
Photojournalist Richard Boyle (Woods) has consistently scammed his way to jobs. However, after being evicted from his apartment and abandoned by his girlfriend, Boyle convinces his buddy, Doctor Rock (James Belushi) to join him on a trip to El Salvador. The trip however is not for vacation. The duo sneak into the country through Guatemala so that Boyle may get the best civil war story of the year. The story would also lead him back to the road of success. While in El Salvador, Boyle locates an old love interest,  seeks the perfect story with fellow photojournalist John Cassady (John Savage),  and wanders a thin line between the Salvadorian military making him the target  in a country ravaged by corruption and civil war.

Woods gives a powerful performance as Boyle, the photojournalist who is filled with energy, anger, and unwillingness to be honest with people in order to get what he wants. All in all, Boyle is a weasel and has weasel ed. his way to everything in his career.  However, Boyle knows when he sees injustices and in El Salvador he fights to reveal the injustices.

Oliver Stone has made a film that does not skimp on death and mutilation, yet he describes in a behind the scenes featurette that he was ordered to take away some “dead bodies” out of the street.  More on that later.

This is a very powerful film that audiences did not quickly embrace while it was in theaters, however now is your chance to catch this little gem that will open your eyes to the tragedies that occurred in Latin America. During the Reagan administration of the 80’s few Americans paid attention to the revolution that was really going on in the countries to the south. Salvador is brutally honest with a no holds barred attitude.

Video
Salvador is presented in anamorphic 16:9 enhanced picture is fantastic! In the opening of the film it appears as though there are few spots where dust or scratches appear, however, overall the transfer looks practically new. The colors were sharp and clear.  If I didn’t know better, it appeared as thought he film was filmed within the last year or so.

Audio
The audio presentation is top notch with Dolby digital 5.1 sound.  Many of the scenes involving the gun battles sound amazing and it is definitely a fine example of the surround sound experience. This DVD sounds great  and I don’t think that audio enthusiasts would be disappointed.

Extras
MGM debuts this DVD with a number of extra features which are extremely impressive. The first is a documentary titled “Into the Valley of Death”, describing the American involvement in Nicaragua and El Salvador. The feature utilizes production stories with facts about the conflict. The documentary also uses news footage of President Ronald Reagan.

Next is a selection of deleted scenes which are mostly extended versions of scenes in the film, and one can see why these scenes were cut. Although I still think it is interesting to see things like this.

Other extras include a fantastic trailer  a commentary track and a number of production stills.

Overall
Hailed by many viewers as one of Stone’s greatest films, it is perhaps the most underappreciated by filmgoers. As young child during the Unites States’ involvement in Latin America, I did not necessarily  follow the events  or fully understand what was going on. Believe it or not, this film did shed some light on what was happening in that part of the world.  This DVD version should breathe new life into a film that was made in the 1980’s and addresses subject matter from the 1980’s. This disc is a definite keeper and fans or new viewers of Salvador won’t be disappointed.


Links: