Director: Jack Gold
Starring: Elliot Gould, Trevor Howard, Joseph Bova, Edward Grover & James Noble
Released by: Kino Lorber Studio Classics
Reviewed by Mike Kenny
Following the disappearance of a noted American scientist after a near fatal wreck in the Soviet Union, Who? finds the survivor reappearing unrecognizable as a robotic-hybrid of his former self. Tasked with determining the true identity of this metallic being, FBI agent Sean Rogers (Elliot Gould, The Long Goodbye) remains cautiously unsure whether who stands before him is the wounded scientist or an elaborate rouse by Russian forces. Trevor Howard (Meteor), Joseph Bova (Serpico), Edward Grover (Death Wish) and James Noble (Benson) costar.
Based on the sci-fi novel by Algis Budrys, Who? stages a tediously dull thriller of uncertain identities and international espionage, brought to life by performances as yawningly robotic as the film’s scientist in metal clothing. After American scientist and leader of the confidential Neptune Project, Lucas Martino (Bova), vanishes following a deadly car crash along the Soviet border, the thought to be dead professor emerges with his brain and right arm intact whereas the remainder of his body is of robotic material. Escorted back to the custody of domestic agencies, FBI agent Sean Rogers is all but certain Martino is not who he says he is. Part paranoid and inclined to trust his instincts, Rogers, through countless interrogations and investigations into the roboman’s past, must determine the truth including the likelihood of Russian intelligence attempting to obtain more information on the Neptune Project. Juxtaposing between the FBI and the Soviet’s time with the robot assumed to be Martino, Who? is a slow-burn that stumbles to remain interesting or exciting with the exception of a far too short airport runway car chase. Unintentionally silly in its roboman design and doused in somber tones leaving the film cold to the touch, Who? sounds far more intriguing than it is entertaining resulting in an otherwise forgettable curiosity piece.
KL Studio Classics presents Who? with a 1080p transfer, preserving its 1.78:1 aspect ratio. Containing numerous instances of scratches, speckles and cigarette burns to varying degrees, picture quality falls generally softer with black levels, evident in the film’s opening border exchange of Martino, leaving more to be desired. In addition, skin tones are handled decently while, detail is not of the sharpest caliber with colors occasionally failing to remain consistent. Although its elements appear to not be the most well maintained, the high-definition transfer remains of average grade. Accompanied with a DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 that neither gravely disappoints or overwhelming satisfies, dialogue is efficiently exchanged with cracks and pops present mostly during reel changes. Meanwhile, special features include, an Audio Commentary with Director Jack Gold, moderated by Film Historian Anthony Sloman. Finally, a Trailer Gallery consisting of The Long Goodbye (2:31), Busting (2:45), The Offence (1:51) and The Naked Face (2:10) conclude the disc’s supplemental package.
An intriguing premise that lacks style, Who? short-circuits quickly turning a quality cast into a siege of wooden performances, chalking this Cold War thriller into a battle badly lost. Marking its Blu-ray debut, KL Studio Classics brings the peculiar spy feature to hi-def with passable grades that bare their fair share of battle wounds yet, get the job done all the same.