-

Jump to content



Sign up for a free account!

Signing up for an account is fast and free. As a member you can join in the conversation, enter contests and you won't get the popup ads that guests get. Click here to create your free account.

Photo
DVD Reviews

HTF REVIEW: China STRIKE FORCE



This topic has been archived. This means that you cannot reply to this topic.
6 replies to this topic

#1 of 7 DaViD Boulet

DaViD Boulet

    Lead Actor

  • 8,805 posts
  • Join Date: Feb 24 1999

Posted August 12 2003 - 03:26 AM







Posted Image





CHINA
STRIKE FORCE






Studio: CMC
Year: 2000
Rated: R
Film Length: 91 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 16X9 encoded 2.35:1
Audio: DD 5.1 (English)
Extras: Promos
Release Date: August 26, 2003


Movie...


Ok, so don’t clobber me. I confess that this movie isn’t my usual cup of tea but I'll do my best to be fair for the fans out there.

CHINA STRIKE FORCE follows in the tradition of the Chinese action-adventure (which Jackie Chan has helped popularize here in the U.S.) and as such is an acceptable movie with entertainment value. I didn’t find it as involving or dynamic as some of the better-directed Chan films, but I’m sure there are plenty of fellow citizens who enjoy or would enjoy this film. My primary criticisms are that the acting seems flat, and while it appears that the actors are indeed speaking English in the film (following their lips), the dialogue has a very distinctive "dubbed" sound which I found a bit jarring. Then again…maybe this is how movies of this genre are supposed to look/feel. I’m not an expert, but it seems that this film was not produced with an American audience in mind per-se. In that sense, I reserve passing final judgment as often different cultural perspectives can result in misreading the film-style of a particular movie (i.e. what seems corny to one audience or cultural group may seem serious to another).

Story...

The movie is filmed on location in Shanghai, and that may add some interest for those expecting the more usual Hong Kong. The basic plot centers around a Chinese police team who try to put a halt an organized crime’s drug deal. Where this movie certainly does shine is in the action. There is a rather invigorating car-chase scene and the finale involves a helicopter that is guaranteed to thrill.

Picture...


From a 2-3 screen-width viewing distance the image of this 16x9 encoded 2.35:1 transfer is generally pleasing and film-like in presentation. Some print damage (speckles) is present from time to time but nothing major. Colors are generally muted in tone…which is mostly likely the way they appear in the film elements (indeed, most of what is not to be praised about the picture quality of this DVD has more to do with the source elements and less to do with any digital mastering). My real criticism has to do with the "noisy blacks" (film grain?) that appear to challenge MPEG compression a bit and don’t feel as solid and deep as one would hope. My TV often makes dark scenes appear more noisy than they do on some other systems so your mileage with the black issue may vary (feel free to post your own impressions in this thread once you’ve got the disc).

Edge halos are visible around credit titles, but don’t seem to intrude in any distracting way in the live-action video content. Detail seems adequate from 2 screen widths and sharpens up and looks much more resolved at 2-3+ widths (from where most people will view). Overall the film-tape transfer seems to be pretty good, the real caveat being that one wonders if a better print (with more saturated color or more solid black-level rendition) would have been available, however, I think most fans will be pleased. Given the choice, I’d rather a DVD that looks like a slightly muted print than one that looks like a vivid “video”. Honestly, considering the no-frills treatment of this DVD (no insert/extras) I was surprised to find the picture looking as good as it does.

Picture Rating:

Picture: 4 / 5
Posted ImagePosted ImagePosted ImagePosted Image

Sound...


The 5.1 mix is VERY well delivered if one can overlook the “dubbed” character of the dialogue dialogue (which never quite integrates properly into the otherwise fantastic sounding mix). Surround use is plentiful and forms a cohesive sound-field that pulls the movie action into the room. I’m actually quite impressed with this 5.1 DD mix. It’s rare to find a movie that uses the surround channels effectively this way. The end result is that rather than hearing a “front heavy” soundstage with occasional effects thrown behind you, the sensation is more like a big swirl of sound that just fills the space seamlessly. Very nicely done.

Oddly, the car-chase scene (one of the two big action sequences in the film) didn’t use the rear channels as much as I would have thought given the obvious talent that the audio mixers had on their hands. But without sitting there with your ear glued to the surround speaker waiting for something to happen...it won’t bother you (how many of us sick-o’s out there can’t even enjoy a “movie” anymore because we just sit there waiting to see if something comes out of our surround speakers! Don’t deny it...you KNOW who you are! Posted Image )

The Helicopter scene makes a perfect use of the surround channels to create a cohesive sound-field that pulls the listener into the film and is an excellent example of surround use that both creates a 360 degree sound-field full of atmosphere and at the same time delivers the action-effect goods. Very good, mixing-guys, whoever you are. So, shaving off half a point for the “dubbed” sounding dialogue...

Sound: 4.5 / 5
Posted ImagePosted ImagePosted ImagePosted Image 1/2


Extras...


Zip, unless you count the “promos” for other similar films as an extra. Oh heck...let’s let it count so we can at least have one special feature to talk about! There are promos for other films included on this disc to provide endless enjoyment for curious viewers. Posted Image

Conclusion...


If you’re into the Hong-Kong style Chinese action-adventure movies then you’ll probably enjoy giving this film a try. A reasonable 16x9 transfer and excellent 5.1 DD audio will help make watching this film on DVD a joy for the fans.






Be an Original Aspect Ratio Advocate

Supporter of 1080p24 video and lossless 24 bit audio.

#2 of 7 Chris_Morris

Chris_Morris

    Screenwriter

  • 1,887 posts
  • Join Date: Jan 04 2002

Posted August 12 2003 - 12:27 PM

Never heard of this film, but seeing that Mark Dacascos is in it (a highly underrated MA actor), I'll at least give this a rent. Coolio in it means it is probably not good enough to purchase. Ugh, once again Mark gets saddled with a (probably) poor script, and untalented back-up.

Great reviews David, love the depth and style.


Chris

#3 of 7 Chris_Morris

Chris_Morris

    Screenwriter

  • 1,887 posts
  • Join Date: Jan 04 2002

Posted August 12 2003 - 12:41 PM

Oh, and to answer a few questions (did some quick searching):

Quote:
and while it appears that the actors are indeed speaking English in the film (following their lips), the dialogue has a very distinctive "dubbed" sound which I found a bit jarring



This was shot by a HK company so it most likely was shot without sound (as many are) and then the actors later record the voice track. This is why many HK movies do not feature the real voice of the actors, because they would be away doing another film so a stand-in would do the voice (the first Jet Li HK movie to use his real voice was Hitman, not sure about Jackie Chan). To someone who has not watched alot of HK films, it can be startling, and seem like a sync problem. It was done in Cantonese and English, but has yet to see a NA release (theatrically).

It's real name is "Lei ting zhan jing" and the director, Stanley Tong has done some great movies (Swordsman II, Rumble in the Bronx, First Strike) so it looks a bit more promising.


Chris

#4 of 7 Matt Wallace

Matt Wallace

    Second Unit

  • 400 posts
  • Join Date: Feb 20 1999

Posted August 14 2003 - 11:50 AM

Chris,
It bites, dude! I got a screener a few months ago and it was horrible. Definitely RENT it first. Hell, if it was free I'd send you the screener. And this comes from a huge Dacascos fan (where the HELL is the Only The Strong DVD from FOX......)

Posted Image

Matt
"And I say I'm dead, and I move"....

#5 of 7 DaViD Boulet

DaViD Boulet

    Lead Actor

  • 8,805 posts
  • Join Date: Feb 24 1999

Posted August 19 2003 - 02:33 AM

Thanks for the comments guys. I honestly had no clue about this film (had never heard of it) and wasn't sure if it had a loyal fan-base, was good given its genre (a genre with which I'm generally unfamiliar), or what. Bottom line I didn't really feel like I was able to offer a strong opinion about the "movie" (not really the point of a review anyway) so I'm glad that you stepped in.

dave Posted Image
Be an Original Aspect Ratio Advocate

Supporter of 1080p24 video and lossless 24 bit audio.

#6 of 7 Chris_Morris

Chris_Morris

    Screenwriter

  • 1,887 posts
  • Join Date: Jan 04 2002

Posted December 28 2003 - 09:18 AM

Quote:
where is the Only The Strong DVD from FOX......)


It's here now. Came out on 12/16. P&S on one side, wide on the other. Looks pretty good too.


Chris

#7 of 7 Gary Palmer

Gary Palmer

    Stunt Coordinator

  • 145 posts
  • Join Date: Jun 23 2003

Posted February 25 2004 - 09:46 AM



Chris, could you possibly confirm that Fox's ONLY THE STRONG contains a widescreen (anamorphic?) version on the DVD? I can find absolutely no reliable information/technical specs on this disc anywhere, and I'm reluctant to buy a fullscreen-only version. Thanks for your help!