After the first Tremors became an instant fan favorite/cult classic, it was only a matter of time before a greenlit sequel. Unfortunately, to an extent, Tremors II: Aftershocks only saw the return of Fred Ward and Michael Gross — Kevin Bacon did not. The second entry also wound up going straight-to-video and the “Graboids” have never returned to the big screen. Thankfully, the series has at least never forgotten what makes it work: action, comedy, horror, and plenty of monster carnage. The tongue-in-cheek formula may not work quite as well in Tremors 5: Bloodlines, but at least the series has never lost its sense of fun. It knows the ridiculousness of the premise and runs with it every time.
The third sequel — Tremors 4: The Legend Begins was a prequel — finds us in South Africa, where the “Assblasters” of the third film have been discovered in the Cradle of Humankind. Brought onto the scene is film mainstay Burt Gummer (Gross) who is in need of fixing his image with his show “The Survivalist with Burt Gummer” not doing so well. New cameraman Travis Welker (Jamie Kennedy) has just arrived and may have ulterior motives, but joins Burt on his quest to rid another homeland of the odd Graboids that seem to have found their way across the Atlantic Ocean. Now, Burt and the local yokels are up their asses in blasters, while someone else has taken part on the hunt for their eggs, as the creatures continue to evolve into even more dangerous territory.
Universal Studios Home Entertainment blasts Tremors 5 onto Blu-ray on a spacious 50GB disc, presented in a screen-filling 1.78:1 aspect ratio. For being released straight to video, this is one top notch presentation. Banding, aliasing, and crush are awol — some have mentioned a few instances of noise, but I didn’t see any on my TV. Colors are bright and vibrant with an extreme amount of detail bringing every inch of dirt, thread of clothing, or sun-cracked skin to light. It’s a shame the original film has never gotten this treatment. Universal keeps releasing top tier video like this on lackluster sequels while the original is still one of their worst looking presentations ever.
The English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track is also mighty engaging. Surrounds make the most of the action with dialogue never getting drowned out no matter how much growling, shouting, or exploding occurs. A lively amount of LFE also helps keep the film’s title ever present. Additional audio tracks include French European, Castilian Spanish, L.A. Spanish, and Italian 5.1 DTS Digital Surround, with subtitles in English SDH, French European, French Canadian, Italian, German, Castilian Spanish, L.A. Spanish, Swedish, Danish, Finnish, Norwegian, Portuguese, Arabic, Hindi, and Icelandic.
The special features aren’t overflowing, but what’s offered are at least pretty fun — even if they don’t add much to the film. A collection of “Deleted and Extended Scenes” (10:21) are only available as a whole, with no context whatsoever. The only one of interest is a deleted action scene that would have seen the Graboids diving into aquatic territory, but for whatever reason — possibly budgetary — it is seen here in a workprint version. “Outtakes” (6:58) run way too long and never have any laugh-out-loud moments, but at least the cast and crew appear to have actually enjoyed making the movie. And finally, “Tremors 5: Behind the Bloodlines” (8:10) gives us a look back at why the franchise is still chugging along, and how the power of Burt keeps the tone intact after all these years.
Tremors 5: Bloodlines could have been a disaster. It is, after all, the fifth of a series that no one probably ever saw coming, aside from selfless fans like myself who love the series even 25 years later. Director Don Michael Paul doesn’t have the greatest resume — Half Past Dead, Who’s Your Caddy?, and other DTV sequels: Jarhead 2: Field of Fire, and Sniper: Legacy — but he sure seems to be feeding a niche for Universal. He’s also been tapped to helm Kindergarten Cop 2 replacing The Governator (Arnold Schwarzenegger) with Ivan Drago (Dolph Lundgren).
If that’s where his career is taking him, this may be the one highlight and could wind up being his masterpiece. It’s a good thing screenwriters Woodrow Truesmith, M.A. Deuce and John Whelpley understood what’s kept the Graboids digging along all these years. Fans will be more than pleased that the action, laughs, and thrills still hold up, with a top notch video/audio presentation to boot. The series may never live up to the original’s charms, but at least it hasn’t hit rock bottom yet either. Tremors 5 is way more fun than you’d expect.