HTS Moderator , Reviewer
Title: Never Too Young to Die
HTS Overall Score:68
There are some movies that are just plain awesome by all critical standards. “Star Wars” is a bonafide classic that just continues to amaze viewers new and old. Then there are movies that are so horrible that you want to scratch your eyes out watching them. Films like “Bolero” that garner the title “worst movie on the planet”. And then there are the movies that are so incredibly insane and horrible that they are literal masterpieces. This is the case with “Never Too Young to Die”, a rock opera meets “Mad Max”, meets “Bolero”, meets “James Bond”, meets “Gymkata” that is so bizarre and crazy that you’re left giggling like a school girl on prom night. There’s nothing even REMOTELY good about the film. In fact, I would consider it one of the worst movies ever created from a technical stand point. Stamos and Vanity’s acting is beyond bad and Gene Simmons as the hermaphrodite villain Velvet is so insane that it makes you wonder how this ever even remotely was green lit. Still, the insanity is so high and so ludicrous that you can’t help but revel in the cheese and mental instability and just have a blast.
Well, if you’ve come this far you might as well strap in for a bumpy ride. “Never Too Young to Die” has about one of the craziest and nuttiest plotlines known to man. It’s modern day (or modern 1980s at the time it was made), but supervillain Velvet Von Ragner (Gene Simmons, playing a hermaphrodite maniac whose drag costumes are the highlight of the film) is trying to get ahold of a computer floppy disc that holds the command codes to help him contaminate an entire city’s water supply so he can hold them ransom for “one billion dollars” (said in Dr. Evil’s voice, complete with pinky to the lip salute). Sound logical? Well, he and his merry band of Mad Max wannabees have been outwitted by superspy Drew Stargrove (and elderly George Lazenby). Catching up to Stargrove, Velvet kills the spy, but the disc is nowhere to be found.
Agent Stargrove DOES have an heir though. A college student age son named Lance (John Stamos). After his father is killed Lance inherits his father’s estate, which also includes his father’s partner Danja Deerling (80s pop star Vanity). With Velvet turning his/her eyes towards Lance and Danja things start to heat up quickly. Lance is a bit rusty at this, but with his gymnastics skills and Danja’s super spy training he vows to stop Velvet Von Ragner and get revenge for his father’s death. And of course get a little from the gorgeous Danja, have his buddy Cliff (Peter Kwong) help him along the way AND get back to school in time for Biology 101.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=95594[/img]There’s not enough drugs in the world to make sense of “Never Too Young to Die”. It’s a bizarre movie that has so many incredibly bad edits and plot holes that you could drive a truck through that it would send someone into a seizure just trying to make sense of it all. I had seen the film YEARS and YEARS ago when my older brother got it on Laserdisc about 30 years ago, but I found that I was laughing along with the insanity about as much as my brother did when he picked it up (and I snuck in and watching it under his bed as a kid). The editing is simply bizarre (watch the sex scene with Stamos and Vanity, it’ll make your head hurt), and the insanity of having Gene Simmons cackle along as Velvet makes one wonder who thought this would be a good idea. “Never Too Young to Die” was never a very popular movie when it was released, but it gained a cult following on home video, but the 80s rock opera has not gotten a releases since it came out right after the theatrical run on Laserdisc. That means for 30 years this has not seen the light of day outside of crummy bootlegs and old formats. Which makes it all the sweeter to get this insane cult classic on Blu-ray (which also includes a DVD).
Acting wise, “Never Too Young to Die” is trash movie quality and even Stamos can’t make anything good come out of that one. Everyone overacts to the nth degree (especially Gene Simmons who is so hammy and over the top that he steals every scene he’s in), and Stamos just winks and smiles at the camera like the prima donna he is. George Lazenby and Robert Englund are only in the film about 5 minutes each, so they’re sadly heavily underutilized for the talent the two possess (not that their acting could have in any way counterbalanced the lunacy and ineptness of the script. With that being said you're probably wondering why I'm rating the movie a 4/5. If I was grading this purely on a technical level I would probably have to give this a 1/5, but the movie is so inept, so incredibly BONKERS and off the wall that it is probably one of the most insanely fun movies you'll ever see. Much like "Gymkata" it's a guilty pleasure that derives a lot of the entertainment just from laughing at how hilariously bad it is (another movie I'd kill to see on Blu-ray).
Rated R by the MPAA
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=95602[/img]Shout’s 1.85:1 AVC encoded Blu-ray is a rather nice attempt, but it’s limited by the source elements it appears. “Never Too Young to Die” is NOT a movie that you’re going to expect a hundred thousand dollar + restoration being done. It’s a trash cinema film that is very VERY lucky to even get a home theater release, which means we have to deal with the limitations of an older master and one that suffers from a lot of inconsistencies. Some shots look incredibly sharp with bright primary colors, while others are swimming in noise. The grain levels are naturally rather high considering it’s a low budget 80s flick, but the noise can sometimes be swimming around the screen in odd shots. The same goes for the colors. Sometimes they’re bright and well saturated, the next they’re a bit yellowed and dingy. Fine detail is good at times, but faces appear very smooth and the overall looks is pretty soft. It’s a serviceable transfer, but one that doesn’t look as great as modern remasters.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=95610[/img]Shout Factory’s 2.0 DTS-HD MA stereo track is more than sufficient to get the job done. I was surprised that it’s fairly unmolested and quite serviceable considering the dirt-cheap budget and poor care that was supposedly given to the original source elements. Vocals are crisp and clear, and the effects are given more than enough heft with some LFE and good imaging in the front sound stage. The track can be a bit thin at times, but overall, it’s a very pleasing auditory experience. Gunshots have authority, and the thump thump of chopper blades add some good low end to the experience. There’s a few raspy notes here and there, and the high end is never too great, but very VERY solid track.
• Audio Commentary with pop culture historian Russell Dyball
• Tv Spot
“Never Too Young to Die” is an acquired taste that really hits the cult audience. It’s strange, bizarre, off-putting, inept and COMPLETELY off the walls nuts, but it’s a whole lotta fun at the end of the day. I never really expected this one to ever see the light of day after the Laserdisc, but I am STUPIDLY excited to see what Shout Factory did with this combo pack. The audio is good, the video is ok (it’s a cheap 1980’s trash flick. I somehow doubt we’re ever going to see a high-quality remaster for this movie EVER), and the extras are a bit slim (the commentary is ok, but nothing special, but the I still highly recommend it as the movie’s quality (or lack thereof) is the real deal here. Recommended.
Starring: John Stamos, Vanity, Gene Simmons
Directed by: Gil Bettman
Written by: Steven Paul, Stuart Paul
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 AVC
Audio: English: DTS-HD MA 2.0 Stereo
Studio: Shout Factory
Runtime: 97 minutes
Blu-ray Release Date: April 11th 2017
Buy Never Too Young to Die On Blu-ray at Amazon
Recommendation: Amazing Watch
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