The 1.85:1 Anamorphic Transfer has been given the digital clean up treatment for this special edition release, but is inconsistent throughout. The image ranges from being soft with a ghosting effect, to pin sharp and detailed. The colour palette is also varied and the image just seems to lack any real edge. It is so bad in places you could be forgiven for assuming you are watching a VHS tape. It is disappointing that this new transfer is really so poor, because when it is good, it is amongst the best available. Looking through items regarding the original production, there is no mention that differing film stocks were used for filming, so this must go down as a poor transfer.
Artisan has seen the light, after a very poor stereo soundtrack for the films first outing on R1 DVD; they now give us a choice of both DTS and Dolby Digital sound mixes. Unfortunately the uninspired original 80's sound mix does not use both technologies to their full potential, with the Dolby track sounding very shrill in places. The dts mix does improve things, with the sound having a richer balance and extended spatiality, but the split surrounds are used sparingly, with almost all the action fixed on the screen. Both mixes do not use the LFE channel to any great extent either, so don't expect a subwoofer work out. The final gun fight does bring things to life a little, but you have to feel that this re-release was a missed opportunity for a complete 5.1 remix.
The extras list is not exhaustive, but the material provided is relevant and very watchable. The 30 minute documentary “Billy the Kid - The True Story” is an excellent look at the man, and the myth, all courtesy of Western Historians. You begin to see how accurate the screenplay covers the period, and the people involved. Presented in 16:9 the picture quality for the Documentary puts the main feature to shame. Also included are a Feature length commentary and a text based trivia track which adds to the historical events unfolding on the screen. Rounding of the disc are trailers for Young Guns, Dune, Reservoir Dogs, Rambo Trilogy, and Total RecallThis re-release promised so much, yet failed in its execution. Poor picture, and uninspiring sound take some of the shine from this enjoyable 80's brat pack romp.
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