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Umbango DVD Review

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“Umbango” is the crown jewel of the Retro Afrika collection thus far.

“Umbango” is yet another addition to the IndiePix Retro Afrika line of South African cinema. This particular entry is a 1985 western revolving around a man named KK who recruits men and essentially takes over a town that once belonged to his now jailed brother George. KK learns that the men responsible for his brother’s death (Jack and Owen) are in town and he seeks revenge against them. Other key subplots involve Jack and Owen hoping to build a ranch and a romance between Jack and Molly.

Of all of the Retro Afrika titles I have reviewed so far, “Umbango” is the most polished. Granted, there could have been more development on the feud between KK and Jack along with more characterization in general, but for a mere 68 minute feature, this one is the best directed (thanks to Tonie Van Der Merwe) and features the least amount of padding (which has been a major issue with many of these titles). It also happens to be the most entertaining of the lot as it has humor, action, and even some poignant albeit overwritten messages about violence and self defense.

The cast is largely amateurish but there are two stand-outs here with the actors Popo Gumede and Hector Mathanda (I believe) playing Jack and KK’s henchman Jake respectively.

Video/Audio:

Presentation: 3:2. How does it look? The colors are faded and there’s some print damage, but it’s a solid enough print. It’s just good to know this movie still survives.

Audio Track: Zulu Stereo. How does it sound? The film (which contains English subs) doesn’t have the most dynamic audio track, but it’s decent enough for a Stereo track.

Extras include an “Umbango” trailer and a screening link for “Entre Nos.”

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February 25, 2019 - Posted by | DVD review | , , , ,

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