Movies & TV / Columns

The Top 5 Movies That Are Still Not on DVD or Blu-ray

February 10, 2023 | Posted by Bryan Kristopowitz
The Final Sanction Image Credit: AIP

Back when physical media was still king when it came to movies and TV shows, it sure seemed like eventually, every movie or TV show would eventually find its way to DVD or Blu-ray. It seemed like it was only a matter of time before even the most obscure movie or TV show would have its own physical disc release.

Yes, it seemed that way. But there are still some movies that are not available on DVD or Blu-ray, even with the abundance of boutique home video companies cranking out releases for various weird beard horror and action and sci-fi movies. It’s just insane to me that there are still some movies that were all over video stores back in the VHS days (cable, too) that you still can’t even get in a readily available bare bones region 1 DVD or Blu-ray. Yes, there are likely rights issues preventing various movies from finally getting a DVD or Blu-ray release, but that’s still no consolation. It’s just a damn shame that there are some movies that you still can’t get on DVD or Blu-ray.

And so, without any further what have you, here are the Top 5 Movies That Are Still Not Available on DVD or Blu-ray (as of this writing. You never know when Vinegar Syndrome or Arrow Video or Shout! Factory or Severn Films will announce something).

The Top 5 Movies That Are Still Not on DVD or Blu-ray

Honorable Mentions

Ballistic: This is a low budget direct-to-video action/underground fighting flick that came out in 1995 and stars Marjean Holden, Sam J. Jones, Charles Napier, and the great Richard Roundtree, among others (Michael Jai White even pops up in it). I rented it several times on VHS back in the day, and it features some solid fights (the final fight between Holden and Corey Everson is a show stopper) and action sequences. How the hell didn’t Holden become a bigger deal as an action star?

Hamburger: The Motion Picture: I saw this comedy several times on cable back in the early 1990’s and have often wondered why it never made it to DVD. IMDB claims that the movie was distributed independently by its production company and, as that company has gone out of business, no one seems to know who actually owns the movie anymore. I hope, one day, the movie surfaces and everyone gets to see Dick Butkus as a prick teacher at a fast food college. It’s a classic.

Thunder Trilogy: This is the low budget Italian action movie franchise starring the great Mark Gregory as a sort of Rambo character. I’ve seen the first movie (expect to see a review in the B-Movie column at some point) but I’ve never seen the other two, Thunder II and Thunder III. I’m really hoping Severn Films makes this happen one day soon since that company has released several top notch low budget Italian genre flicks the last few years.

Image Credit: AIP

5-The Final Sanction: This low budget action flick was written and directed by the great David Prior and features David’s brother Ted in the starring role alongside B-movie legends Robert Z’Dar and William Smith. The movie tells the story of the United States and Russia, in an attempt to avert full scale nuclear world war, deciding to send their two best fighters to a sort of remote location to fight to the death. Prior is the American fighter, Sgt. Tom Batanic, and Z’Dar is the Soviet fighter Sgt. Sergei Schvackov. I first saw this movie on late night TV in the earlyish 2000’s, when one of my local channels started showing movies from Prior’s company Action International Pictures starting at like 2:30am/3:00am during the week. Why did the channel do this? I have no idea, but it was awesome to see these movies pop up on my cable guide. I recorded several of them, including The Final Sanction, and it was fun seeing so many movies that I don’t remember seeing in the video store back in the day. I love The Final Sanction because of the action, the performances from Prior, Z’Dar, and Smith, and I’m in awe of how the movie made a collapsible shovel the world’s deadliest weapon. It’s so brilliant and ridiculous at the same time. Hopefully, one day, all of the AIP movies end up on DVD or Blu-ray, either as a boxed set or just individual releases. The Final Sanction is a great place to start.

Image Credit: 21st Century Film Corporation

4- Street Hunter: This low budget action flick from 1990 was a starring vehicle for the great Steve James and could have been the start of a franchise if things had worked out. Alas, the movie isn’t that great (it doesn’t have enough action in it, has pacing issues, and is just too long) but it is fascinating to experience. There’s a coolness factor to it, with James walking the streets of New York City as a trench coat wearing badass ex-cop turned bounty hunter named Logan Blade (one of the coolest movie names ever), Reb fucking Brown as the lead henchman, and John Leguizamo (yes, that John Leguizamo) as a ruthless gang leader and Brown’s boss. I’d love to see the movie again in a cleaned up DVD or Blu-ray with loads of special features. How did the movie come about? Did James hope that the Street Hunter character would spawn a franchise of some sort, like American Ninja? Did James’ pancreatic cancer mess up the franchise idea? Did 21st Century Film Corporation botch its release? Just what the heck happened with the movie? That’s what a new home video release could reveal (you can only get the movie on VHS at the moment, and it does show up on Amazon Prime, too. I’m not sure if it’s ever on Tubi). I think it would be cool, too, to see a remake of this movie, or at least of the Logan Blade character. I mean, that name is just the best.

Image Credit: New Century Vista

3- Cage: This low budget action flick starring Reb fucking Brown and Lou Ferrigno used to be on The Movie Channel all of the time. Brown and Ferrigno play Vietnam War buddies who are still in one another’s lives years later, running a bar together (Ferrigno’s character Billy suffered brain damage in combat and, as a result, Brown’s Scott Monroe, takes care of him). The plot of the movie finds them both mixed up in an underground cage fighting scheme run by James Shigeta’s evil mob boss Tin Lum Yin and they end up having to basically fight their way out. There are some tremendous hand-to-hand fight sequences in the movie, and it has a great cast, with Al Ruscio stealing the show as a foul mouthed, racist mobster. The great Al Leong is also in the movie as an undercover cop (and he has an actual part in the movie. He isn’t just a guy in the movie), Branscombe Richmond pops in as a guy named Diablo, pro wrestler Tiger Chung Lee is a bad ass killer fighter named Chang, and Mathias Hues is in it, too, as a cage fighter. The movie is surprisingly touching and way more emotional than you expect it to be, and Ferrigno is fantastic (his relationship with Brown is the heart of the movie). Vinegar Syndrome would be a great place to release this movie as I’m sure they would put out a kick ass DVD or Blu-ray. The movie’s sequel Cage II, while sort of fun, isn’t as good as Cage. I wish Cage II had adhered to the more serious tone of the first movie. Anyway, Cage is terrific and it needs to be readily available to the world. There are a few DVD editions floating around, but they’re so out of print they might as well not exist.

Image Credit: Blue Rider Pictures

2- Peacemaker: This badass sci-fi action horror flick was on The Movie Channel all of the time back in the early 1990’s, and it was in several video stores I frequented then, too. The movie stars Robert Forster and Lance Edwards as aliens who land on Earth and end up chasing one another all over the place, shooting one another and blowing one another up. One of them is a cop, the other is a terrorist criminal, and you’re never really sure which alien is the good guy and which alien is the bad guy until the end. There are so many fights, stunts, explosions, and just insane things in this movie that I’m surprised more people don’t know about it. It’s never been released on DVD anywhere as far as I know, and VHS is the only way to own it (I purchased a VHS copy from a video store that was closing). That’s ridiculous. So a special edition Blu-ray would kick ass because more people would be able to see it (and trust me, if you’re a fan of low budget sci-fi action horror flicks Peacemaker is something that you need to see). And I would love to hear a commentary track from director Kevin Tenney on just how the movie came about and how Forster got involved, not to mention Robert Davi in one of his few good guy roles. The fine folks at Vinegar Syndrome could probably do wonders with this. That company’s Hell Comes to Frogtown Blu-ray/DVD set is terrific. I would also be totally fine if we just got a DVD of the movie just so the movie is widely available for all to see.

Image Credit: Republic Pictures

1- Automatic: I’ve been a mega fan of this Olivier Gruner sci-fi action flick ever since I first saw it on HBO back in 1995. It’s one of Gruner’s best on screen performances, it has a terrific supporting cast (John Glover as the charismatic and almost reasonable sounding psycho robotics company CEO Goddard Marx, Jeff Kober as a badass mercenary called in to take out Gruner’s “malfunctioning” cyborg, Stanley Kamel as a sleazebag executive), and plenty of great action. Its story is also brilliant with a nice twist at the end. As far as I know this movie has never had a Region 1 DVD release (the only one I know of is a region 2 release), which I think is insane. It’s too good to be just on VHS in North America. The fine folks at MVD Rewind have released two Gruner movies (Angel Town and Nemesis), so it would be col to see them do something with this. I would love to know more about how the movie was made (John Murlowski is still making movies) and, a new home video release might elevate the movie’s stature in the low budget action movie world. This movie deserves so much better. Please check out my full review of the movie here.


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