Bloodying It Up When You’re Going Down

January 22, 2018 | By

Truth be told: I’d never heard of Dick Maas until two Blue Underground Blu-ray editions appeared on Halloween, sporting the writer-director-producer’s first feature film The Lift / De lift (1983) and his later American remake Down / The Shaft, which features a jaw-dropping cast of up-and-coming and character actors – namely headliners James Marshall (Twin Peaks) and Naomi Watts – and had the misfortune of being released the week of 9/11.

Maas’ other film – also released by BU, and to be reviewed later – is Amsterdamned (1988), and features a massive boat chase through the Dutch city’s canals, an echo of the incredible boat chase in Puppet on a Chain (1971); one of the stunt personnel on the latter was the father of Down’s own exceptional stunt-coordinator, Willem de Beukelaer.

Maas made a name for himself with the comedic film series Flodder, which was reportedly packed with outrageous stunts and explains the high quality of the practical effects and stunts in Down, not to mention the superb action scenes which aren’t grand or expansive but are beautifully coordinated, shot, and edited, showcasing the craft of its makers & performers instead of AVID editing software.

I’ve packed both reviews into one entry because it’s a comparative assessment of the two films, but it still features proper reviews of each film.

Coming next: a review of two Twilight Time discs featuring perhaps lesser-regarded films beholding two fine performances by their respective leads – George C. Scott in Paddy Chayefsky’s brutal black comedy The Hospital (1971) and Charles Bronson in 1972’s other mafia film, The Valachi Papers.



Mark R. Hasan, Editor

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