King Richard (Warner Bros., Blu-ray or DVD, PG-13, 145 min.). No this “King Richard” is not Shakespeare; rather it is the story of Richard Williams, the father of tennis superstars Venus and Serena Williams, who often states he had a 78-page plan drawn up for their tennis development and stardom, in what up until then had been a white dominated sport, even before his daughters were born. The film is based on the true story and goes through to Venus’ pro debut at age 14, but with four members of the Williams family, including Richard, as executive directors, methinks his rough edges have been smoothed out. Not entirely though, as Richard often argues loudly with tennis coaches and even wife Brandy (Aunjanue Ellis), as he is 100 percent convinced he is always right, even about that wide tennis stance.

Having the likable Smith play Richard helps make the character appealing and do not doubt this, the film is about Richard. We get very little real insight into Venus (Saniyya Sidney) and Serena (Demi Singleton), other than the latter’s disappointment in becoming a lesser light to Venus, especially when they switch from coach Vic Braden (Kevin Dunn) to Rick Macci (Jon Bernthal). The latter moves them from local, substandard Compton, California neighborhood courts to a professional-style facility in Florida.

Along the way, dad Richard has a change of heart, pulling his daughters from the Juniors circuit – the usual path to turning pro – to just practicing with him for three years because he wants them to enjoy being kids. Of course, they still need to get all A’s in school.

Smith has a good shot at getting a Best Actor Oscar nomination this week. Extras look at the making of the film (9:07), Smith becoming Richard (6:26), n the film’s reality (5:51) and two deleted scenes (3:03). Grade: film 3 stars; extras 2 stars

Rating guide: 5 stars = classic; 4 stars = excellent; 3 stars = good; 2 stars = fair; dog = skip it

Apex (RLJE Films, Blu-ray or DVD, NR, 93 min.). This is another in Bruce Willis’ lamentable string of dud films in which he appears, but hardly acts. In “Apex,” he plays a convict who is transferred to a remote island so he can be hunted by six people, one of them played by a good-nasty Neal McDonough. If Willis’ Thomas Malone survives the hunt, he will be set free. Sounds like drastic stakes, yet for nearly all of the film, Willis’ character just roams the island looking tired and old. He basically leaves it to the bickering hunters to off each other.

The film is directed and co-written, with Corey Large (also a producer and a part in the film), by Edward Drake. Drake co-wrote 2020’s “Breach” (1.5 stars) and directed 2021’s “Cosmic Sin” (2 stars), both starring a seemingly-bored Willis and rooted in science fiction. There is a sci-fi element here too, with transporters for humans and supplies, and a holographic gamemaster. Midway through the boredom – aka chase – Drake opts for weird bouncy, happy music that is totally out of place. When the game changes late, and not in a fair way, Malone is finally forced into some action. There are no bonus features. Grade: film 1.5 stars

Legendary Weapons of China (Hong Kong, 1982, 88 Films, Blu-ray, NR, 109 min.). This is another solid kung fu movie from the Shaw Brothers, but with a twist as director Liu Chai-Liang also pokes fun at the tropes of the genre, such as director Cheh Chang’s penchant for having his heroes stabbed, but able to keep fighting after stuffing their intestines back inside their body … and he does this using the same actor, Aklexander Sheng Fu, that Chang used at least twice in this manner (see “Chinatown Kid” and “Disciples of Shaolin,” or Chen Kuan-tai in “The Boxer from Shantung”).

In this film, Fu plays Charlatan Wu (also called Mo), who pretends to be a master fighter. At one point, obviously fake intestines shoot out from his clothing and he then pushes them back in and ties off his stomach. However, Wu literally ends up almost drowning in shit. In another scene, Wu’s actions during a fight are controlled by moving a doll’s arms and legs. It is a very funny scene.

In the film’s beginning, we learn that three years after he was sent to Yunnan to set up a new branch of the Boxer society, expert fighter Lui Gung (Lau Kar-leung) has instead dissolved the group because he is tired of disciples needlessly dying when trying to become impervious to modern guns. Master Li Lin-ying orders Lui’s death and three assassins are chosen to carry out the deed: Maoshan clansman Lui Ying (Lau Kar-wing), young fighter Tieh Hau (Hsiao Hou) of the sorcerers and master fighter Ti Tan (Gordon Lau Kar-fai). Each is sent out separately, unaware of the others. In Guangdong, Tieh Hau encounters aged firewood salesman Yu whose strength and agility convince him that Uncle Yu may actually be Lui Gung.

In order to lure Lui Gung out into the open, Lui Ying hires bumbling conman Wu to impersonate Lui Gung, but when a complete cache of the legendary 18 weapons is discovered in Yu’s home, his identity is compromised. However, Yi Ho clanswoman Fang Shau-ching (Kara Hui Ying-hung in male garb) supports Lui Gung’s ideals and helps him regain his martial abilities, in time for the film’s showdowns. During those final two fights, most of the 18 weapons are used and each is identified on screen. The final battle is between real-life brothers Lau Kar-leung and Lau Kar-wing, who play long-estranged brothers in the film.

Extras include David West discussing the film (13:18), interviews with actor Gordon Lau (15:09) and producer Titus Ho (24:33; in English) and three audio commentaries by Asian cinema experts Mike Leeder and Anne Venema, by Asian cinema expert Frank Djeng and actor/martial artist Michael Worth, and by Djeng alone. The slipcase has new artwork by R.P. O’Brien and there are a double-sided poster and a booklet with an essay by Andrew Graves. Grade: film 3.75 stars; extras 3.5 stars

Expresso Bongo (Great Britain, 1959, Cohen Film Collection, Blu-ray, NR, 111 min.). Produced and directed by Val Guest, the film stars then-19 Cliff Richard as a young singer/bongo player whom down-on-his-luck talent agent Johnny Jackson (a wonderful Laurence Harvey, who also star in “The Manchurian Candidate,” “Room at the Top”) feels could be his ticket to success and fortune. He signs 18-year-old Bert Rudge to an outrageous 50-50 split of profit contract and changes the lad’s name to Bongo Herbert, who soon becomes a sensation with his expresso club performances and first two singles.

Johnny, whose girlfriend Maisie King (Sylvia Syms of “The Queen,” “Amazons of Rome”) performs in a burlesque show but wants more as a singer, is every much a pusher of talent as Richard Williams, but much more the conman as well in this fun satire of the music business. Aging American singing star Dixie Collins (Yolande Donlan) attracts naïve Bert and destroys his relationship with Johnny, as she has her own plans for Bert.

The semi-musical features nine songs – three of which are sung by soon-to-be-hot in real life Richard – and two instruments. Syms sings “You Can Look at the Goods but Don’t Touch.” Another fun song, sung by Harvey and Meier Tzeiniker (as Garrick Records head Mayer), is “Nausea,” about Mayer’s reaction to modern music.

The film is presented in its full 1959 theatrical version in a new 2K restoration, rather than the more common 1962 version that cut out several songs. There are no extras. Grade: film 3.5 stars

Catwoman: Hunted (DC/Warner Bros., 4K Ultra HD + Blu-ray or Blu-ray, PG-13, 78 min.). This new animated feature, made in conjunction with Japanese studios and director Shinsuke Terasawa, brings together several DC heroes and even more villains, plus more than a touch of anime. The plot is razor thin, but there is lots of action, including a lengthy car chase down a mountain road, after Catwoman/Selina Kyle steals the Cat’s Eye Emerald from the Leviathan Crime Syndicate during a masquerade party, and the last half-hour or so is all fighting.

Catwoman is forced to work with Batwoman – some faux, or perhaps not, sexual tension there – and a couple of Interpol agents who want to dismantle Leviathan, which is run by Barbara Minerva, aka Cheetah. The best of the final battles is between Catwoman and giant Cheetah. Also in the closing battles are Cheshire and Nosferata of the League of Assassins and a resurrected Solomon Grundy.

Better than the serviceable film are the extras, particularly the look (39:52) at Catwoman in the comics through the years, plus films and TV shows, with interviews with all the actresses who played her, as well as her directors. Those actresses include Adrienne Barbeau, Julie Newmar, Lee Meriwether, Anne Hathaway, Halle Berry, Camren Bicondova, Eartha Kitt and even Zoe Kravitz from the upcoming “The Batman.” Another extra (18:57) looks more at the versatility of the Catwoman character. Grade: film 2.75 stars; extras 3.5 stars

A Hard Day’s Night (Great Britain, 1964, The Criterion Collection, 4K Ultra HD + Blu-ray, NR, 87 min.). Speaking of Ultra HD Blu-ray, The Beatles’ delightful first film, directed by Richard Lester, makes its debut in that format, complete with all the same extras from Criterion’s 2014 release. Those extras include an audio commentary by cast and crew, a 1964 program with Beatles interviews and behind-the-scenes footage, a 1994 making-of documentary and others centering on Lester’s career. In the film itself, The Beatles play slapstick versions of themselves. Grade: film 4 stars; extras 5 stars.

Tom Von Malder of Owls Head has reviewed music since 1972, just after graduation from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism. He has reviewed videos/DVDs since 1988.