‘Survivor’ story gains power by blending action, emotion

FRIDAY, JUNE 6, 2014

Tough guys lead the way among new DVD releases.

• “Lone Survivor,” B: Director and writer Peter Berg takes on the same elements of the American spirit that made his “Friday Night Lights” so powerful: loyalty, commitment, trust, brotherhood, love and devotion. And, just as he did with his examination of high school football in Texas, Berg looks at these elements through a human filter, this time using a story about war and remembrance.

Berg also doesn’t let the film sink into the standard good vs. evil. He shows that the difference between a person who wants to kill you or save you is a thin spiritual line. That combination gives “Lone Survivor” much more emotional weight than other films in the action-drama genre.

Just like “Friday Night Lights” couldn’t be easily passed off as a typical sports film, “Lone Survivor” doesn’t fit the standard military movie mold. That’s because Berg takes the story past the superficial to the personal.

• “RoboCop,” B: A Detroit detective becomes more machine than man.

This reboot uses the basic blueprint from the 1987 movie starring Peter Weller. It’s been modified and updated to create a sleeker design, but it is not as intellectually cutting-edge.

Big business has become the new go-to villain now that the Russians aren’t as scary, making the film less of a cautionary tale about how machines are taking over our lives and more focused on the evils of corporate America. What the new “RoboCop” loses in its message, it makes up for with first-rate fights.

• “Breaking Bad: The Complete Series,” A: All 62 uncut episodes of this amazing cable series about a high school chemistry teacher turned meth kingpin is available in this set.

If the outstanding writing, cinematography and acting aren’t reason enough to own the set, the 16-disc Blu-ray set features about 55 hours of content, including the “No Half Measures: Creating the Final Season of Breaking Bad” documentary that chronicles the making of the final season.

Also new on DVD:

“Son of God”: Story of the life of Jesus.

“In the Blood”: Gina Carano plays a trained fighter with a dark past.

“We Always Lie to Strangers”: A look at life in the Branson entertainment world.

“The New Adventures of Superman Seasons 2 & 3”: The Man of Steel continues to conquer the world’s villains.

“Valentine Road”: Documentary looks at school shooting that took the life of a gay teen.

“Pretty Little Liars: The Complete Fourth Season”: Hits stores in time for the season five premiere on ABC Family.

“Barbary Coast”: William Shatner plays an undercover agent patrolling the streets of 1880s San Francisco.

“Graceland: Season 1”: Cable series about an FBI agent assigned to an undercover team based in a Los Angeles beachfront mansion.

“Axel: The Biggest Little Hero”: Mischievous boy pulls pranks while his village runs out of food.

“The Motel Life”: Two brothers try to avoid the law.

“Rawhide: The Eighth and Final Season”: It’s the end of the road for the Clint Eastwood series.

“Beyond the Trophy”: Story of men’s obsession with power and how far they will go to collect the prize.

“The Pretty One”: Zoe Kazan stars in this tale of self-discovery and empowerment.

“Workaholics: Season Four”: Comedy Central series about very different employees.

“Power Rangers Turbo, Volume 2”: Power Rangers battle Divatox.

“New Tricks, Season 10”: Semi-retired curmudgeons solve cold cases.

“The Nutty Professor”: Jerry Lewis film is being released as a “50th Anniversary Collector’s Edition.”

“The Adventures of Batman”: Animated series first broadcast as part of “The Batman/Superman Hour” in 1968.

“Mirage Men”: Journey through the badlands and backwaters of America.

“Littlest Pet Shop: Strike A Pose!”: Blythe and her friends film a TV commercial.

“Breaking Through”: A look at the journeys of openly LGBT elected officials.

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