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Asian Cinema on DVD


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#21 of 685 ChrisBEA

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Posted February 20 2004 - 01:33 PM

Max:
That's awesome! You have to see the movie, especially if you're a Godzilla fan. It may be my favorite of the bunch, Although I think I would have preferred Angilas to Baragon. Another Godzilla note is that the original is being released uncut and subbed to theaters this year for the 50th anniversary by Rialto studios. Hopefully this will lead to a nice DVD release (possibly by Criterion?)

I have really enjoyed both waves of Fox releases. I think the 1 I cared for the least was Eastern Condors, a good movie, but it didn't hold me like In the Line of Duty IV or Magnificient Butcher grabbed me. I look forward to whatever other titles they have to offer.

As was mentioned earlier regarding this thread becoming too positive, I hope that both sides weigh in here. More often than not I enjoy a lot of what I've seen, I am still just enamored with the differences in story and tone than we get from Hollywood, I'm sure that will wear off.

I wish I could say when the moment really hit me about loving Asian films. I honestly have no idea. Most of friends don't understand it, they have a thing about subtitles. Oh well, their loss, hopefully one day they'll come aroundPosted Image

Maybe a few of us should post a list (partial or not) of Asian films in their collection to try and get a look at where our preferences lie? I'll post mine this weekend.

#22 of 685 BryanV

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Posted February 20 2004 - 06:35 PM

Well, if you saw my top movie list of all time you would probably run screaming.

That being said most of my above recomendations all one some sort of prize at Cannes im sure. And when your watching HK movies like tokyo raiders you have to take them with a grain of salt somtimes and just laugh along with them. There are jokes that we do not get because of them being a different culture. They also do not have the budget that bad boys 2 did, but seriously, what would you rather have to watch.

#23 of 685 Lloyd White

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Posted February 20 2004 - 11:22 PM

I really didn't mean to badmouth Tokyo Raiders that badly, it really is a fun movie with some parts I liked, but wouldnt be something that I'm looking for (Charlies Angels is also pop, and I can't stand that movie series). I have no problem with people listing reasons why they liked something instead of just listing movies, which does nobody any good

Now, I'd want to avoid silly comedies, romantic comedies (like the god aweful Georgous), those weird fantasy movies for sure. Same thing I do with American movies. Topnotch action and very good drama is more like it, though not too mundane like many of those European movies about family problems or something too normal.

Basically, since I'm a huge fan of Hard Boiled and the Killer, I want to complete the collection of John Woo's best of that era. Not so easy since damn near everything John Woo in R1 is going to be cut up, and I'm not going for that. I'm a big fan of Jackie Chan, but only really want his best action films, something like the Police Story series, uncut, as well as those series of movies with sammo hung and crew, and those duels with Bobby Chet or whatever the hell his name was (short white guy with badass skills).

Also interested in finding any good movies with Chow Yun Fat and Tony Leung. I have seen a couple like Chungking Express. Now, about that movie that I really liked was the on location shooting. So any movie that has a lot of footage of Asian countries I would also be interested in.

Check out my dvd collection and wish list for stuff that I'm into. Offhand, I cannot think of one drama Asian movie (non animated that is)that I have seen that has blown me away, so besides those action movies I listed, that is what I'd like to find. I am very enthusiastic about Asian films, and I'm willing to bet there's plenty of gems that I haven't even heard of that I haven't seen yet. My jaw still hasn't left the floor from the first time I saw Hard Boiled.
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#24 of 685 LorenzoL

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Posted February 21 2004 - 03:09 AM

Quote:
This thread makes me , because a modern Chinese classic, and perhaps my very favorite film, is not available on DVD.

Please bring Raise the Red Lantern to DVD...
And a new edition of Ju Dou would be nice as well.


I read posts on the Criterion Forum that they are thinking of making the above movies.
Criterion has done an excellent job in bringing Japanese films to DVD especially the Kurosawa's films and I think it's time for them to pay attention to other Asian countries.

#25 of 685 Andy Sheets

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Posted February 21 2004 - 05:46 AM

Quote:
Now, I'd want to avoid silly comedies, romantic comedies (like the god aweful Georgous), those weird fantasy movies for sure. Same thing I do with American movies. Topnotch action and very good drama is more like it, though not too mundane like many of those European movies about family problems or something too normal.

Infernal Affairs might be something to look into. It's not a straight up action movie like John Woo's, but it's a cool cop thriller with Tony Leung in it, and one of the more popular Hong Kong movies in recent years. (FWIW, my girlfriend, who's basically an Asian film newbie, quite liked it as well Posted Image)

#26 of 685 ChrisYK

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Posted February 21 2004 - 07:12 AM

Quote:
Criterion has done an excellent job in bringing Japanese films to DVD especially the Kurosawa's films and I think it's time for them to pay attention to other Asian countries.

I wholeheartedly agree. I think they eventually will as they realize the market for movies coming out of Asia has blown up in the past several years. I say this with the caveat that being a Criterion movie does not legitimize it as a "groundbreaking" or "classic" movie (i.e. Armageddon).
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#27 of 685 WillKTaylor

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Posted February 21 2004 - 02:08 PM

In response to your (Chris') suggestion in the posting of Asian collections, here's mine. Without venturing into too much depth (as I may do a follow up on how Asian films have influenced me), I'll just post the list for now with ratings. This is what I own and the rating is based upon a weighted average between story/film interest and DVD quality.

[out of ***** stars]

A Better Tomorrow (Ying huang boon sik) [***1/2]
A Better Tomorrow II (Ying huang boon sik) [****]
Branded To Kill (Koroshi no rakuin) Criterion [****1/2]
Bullet In the Head, A (Die xue jie tou) [****1/2]
Contract Killer (Sat sau ji wong) [***1/2]
Full Contact (Xia dao Gao Fei) [****1/2]
Fulltime Killer (Chuen jik sat sau) [***]
Hard Boiled (Lashou shentan)Criterion [*****]
Hard Boiled (Lashou shentan)DTS [*****]
Hidden Fortress, The (Kakushi toride no san akunin) [*****] Criterion
Ichi The Killer [***1/2]
Killer, The (Die xue shuang xiong) [****]
Kiss of the Dragon [***1/2]
Volcano High [not seen]
Musa: The Warrior [****]
Chungking Express (Chong qing sen lin) [***1/2]
Battle Royale [****]
Fallen Angels {****]
Hong Kong 1941 (Dang doi lai ming) [****]
Infernal Affairs [****]
Suicide Club [**1/2]
Underworld Beauty [not seen]
Wasabi [***1/2]
Ran [****]
Rashomon [****1/2] Criterion
Daimajin: The Complete Collection [***1/2]
Audition (Oodishon) [****1/2]
Kaidan (Kwaidan) [****] Criterion
Versus [***1/2] would have been a four for coolness factor
Bride With White Hair, The (Bai fa mo nu zhuan) [****]
Buddhist Fist (Fo Zhang luo han quan) [***1/2]
Butterfly Sword (Xin liu xing hu die jian) [***]
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (Wu hu cang long) [***1/2]
Hero (Ying xiong) [****]
Iron Monkey (Siuin Wong Fei-hung tsi titmalau) [****]
Iron Monkey II (Jie tou sha shou) [***]
Kung Fu Cult Master, The (Lord of the Wu Tang) (Yi tian tu long ji zhi mo jiao jiao zhu) [****]
Legend, The (Fong Sai-Yuk) [***1/2]
Magnificent Butcher (Lin shi rong) [****]
Master of the Flying Guillotine Du bi quan wang da po zue di zi) [***1/2]
Once Upon a Time in China (Wong Fei-hung) [****1/2]
Once Upon a Time in China II (Wong Fei-hung ji yi: Naam yi dong ji keung) [****1/2]
Once Upon a Time in China III (Wong Fei-hung tsi sam: Siwong tsangba) [***]
Return of the Street Fighter (Satsujin ken II) [***1/2]
Seven Samurai (Shichinin no samurai) [*****] Criterion
Storm Riders (Feng yun xiong ba tian xia) [****1/2]
Street Fighter, The (Gekitotsu! Satsujin ken) [****1/2]
Street Fighter's Last Revenge, The (Gyakushu Satsujin ken) [***]
Wing Chun (Yong Chun) [***1/2]
Yojimbo (The Bodyguard) [****] Criterion
Returner [***1/2]
Tetsuo II: Body Hammer [***1/2]
Legend of Zu, The [***]
Tokyo X Erotica [**1/2]
Tora, Tora, Tora [****1/2]

Looking forward to seeing Underworld Beauty and Ikiru this week. Next week, if deepdiscount comes through, In the Line of Duty 4, Bichunmoo, Tokyo Drifter and JSA will be on the board. Can't wait.

#28 of 685 ChrisBEA

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Posted February 21 2004 - 02:17 PM

Andy, Infernal Affairs is a fantastic movie, have you seen either of the sequels? Haven't gotten around to ordering them yet...

I also have a couple of questions.
1. regarding John Woo's work, I have only seen a few of his HK films, The Killer, Hard Boiled, and both A Better Tomorrow's. What other titles would you suggest?

2. about the Once Upon a Time in China Series. I have seen parts 1,2,3 and ...In China and America(part 6?). How are the others? I know Jet Li isn't in them, but are they worthy additions, or should they be avoided?
Thanks!

I still plan on getting my list up, just haven't gotten to it yet!

Will! You made it!

#29 of 685 WillKTaylor

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Posted February 21 2004 - 02:42 PM

Lol.. yeah. Had to do it. Unfortunately, I can't contextualize some of the films that I have seen as well as some of the other posters on this board. So, I'll leave it at that .. and the ratings. Any questions on a particular film, I'll do my best.

I've seen two of Woo's earlier films that fit the response you're looking for, Bullet in the Head and Heroes Shed No Tears. I can't recall much about Heroes, so I won't comment. Bullet in the Head on the other hand left an impression. It's seeks a more dramatic ends than Woo's usual story lines or style .. albeit some may argue "barely", but realistically, it's a truly more sadenning and deep affair. Three fellows head off to Vietnam, I believe is the location, to resist arrest and the story pretty much follows the trials of friendship and the implications of the choices made of the three main characters to get to where they desire to be and run from where they had been. Without getting into too much detail, I'd say that if you enjoy Woo's work, don't miss out on this one. IMO, it is one of the most crucial works that he has taken on, never leaving out the traditional style that he is known for in his earlier days. Great performances by Tony Leung, Jacky Cheung and Simon Yam. It's a bit more sensitive than usual, I'd even say a gut wrencher that really makes you feel for the characters. Well done, I must say. Anyway, enough talk about it .. just go get it. A definate blind buy if I ever did recommend one. Let us know what you think.

As far and the Once Upon A Time series, I haven't seen any others than 1 through 3, so I can't comment.

Peace

Will

#30 of 685 Chris_Morris

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Posted February 21 2004 - 03:49 PM

Quote:
Please bring Raise the Red Lantern to DVD...


It's out there, but currently out of stock:

Raise the Red Lantern

Quote:
about the Once Upon a Time in China Series. I have seen parts 1,2,3 and ...In China and America(part 6?). How are the others? I know Jet Li isn't in them, but are they worthy additions, or should they be avoided?


I've never seen them either, and I'm not even sure they are available, but without Jet Li, I don't even want to think about how horrible they would be. As if pt. 6 wasn't bad enough....

Though OUATIC 1-3 are my all time favorite HK/MA movies.

Chris

#31 of 685 Rob Lutter

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Posted February 21 2004 - 05:23 PM

I just watched Takashi Miike's Audition for the first time. Now, I'd seen some of his previous films (Ichi the Killer is constantly finding its' way into my player), but this one takes the cake.

A wonderfully mundane and innocent tale for the first half-or-so... the tension slowly builds in the next 1/4 of the movie... almost without effort into a violent and psychotic last 1/4. It's quite a beautiful bit of filmmaking and screenwriting.

The disc is non-anamorphic (with the subs outside of the 16x9 area, which means you won't be able to zoom it on an HDTV), but still nice to my eyes. I noticed 1 or 2 translation errors and dropped lines (just a "hai" [yes] and a "baka" [idiot]), but nothing to really get upset about. Extras are non-fluffy interviews with the Miike-meister himself... and I found them quite enjoyable along with the trailers for the film.

#32 of 685 Scott_MacD

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Posted February 21 2004 - 05:55 PM

Tokyo Story

I've found myself fascinated by forties and fifties Japanese cinema over the past few months.. Akira Kurosawa's films have been a constant source of joy to me with the genre-bending Rashomon, the deeply felt and brilliant Ikiru, the exciting Samurai films.. and the famous Hidden Fortress (almost everyone knows that this was the inspiration for Star Wars) with his innate mixture of Western storytelling, and quintessential skill of making his films unique and memorable among filmgoers. Further to my investigating Japanese film, Yasujiro Ozu was recommended next. Given that 2003 was the centinniary of his birth, and forty years from his death, many arthouse cinemas are getting prints of a select few of his films, including his masterpiece Tokyo Story.

Throughout the many essays on Ozu, the one word that kept cropping up was "universal". Tokyo Story is a film that can work to any audience, since the story is told so simply, the acting is concise and tells a lot through body language, eyes, and subtle movements in the face. Tokyo Story is the telling of two old people who visit their sons and daughters during a trip to the suburbs of Tokyo. They visit relatives, friends and a frightfully noisy hotel during their visit. After which, they return home. Shortly afterwards, the elderly woman dies, and it's time for the children to make a visit to pay their respects to their mother.

After finishing the film, I started watching the DVD of it again, trying to understand the cinematic structure, but I gave up, still mostly baffled. His choices of filmed angles stem from the piercing need to look directly at the characters, while conversing, he blatantly ignores the line of sight rules, and forces the audience to see themselves as the people that are being talked to. The choice of square angles, perfectly composed within themselves, and leisurely edited together, allowing a few seconds before the actors enter the shot, and a few seconds afterwards. This is due to the nature of his story, it's a slice of everyday life, skillfully and above all simply told. Indeed, truly universal, it trascends boundaries through inviting the viewer to share themselves in the story.

His choices of imagery resonate with some real depth. The generation gaps in the family is impossible to dispel, from the two grandparents always sitting together some distance from their children and grandchildren, to the distance between the grandmother and the youngest child playing in the grass. Another interesting image was the repeated use of tombstones as a kind-of "stairway to heaven" after the mother dies. Ozu's use of filmed angles and the repeated imagery, the intermediate shots, which some refer to as "pillow" shots, give the audience a few moments to orient themselves and prepare for the ongoing storytelling. This is because Ozu's Tokyo Story is so serene, and sincere. It's an especially gentle film, although not without light comedy, or even some irony, but never dares to step into cheap melancholic sarcasm. It respects it's characters and audience too much for that.

Is it a masterpiece? Almost certainly. Only time and repeated viewings can help me with that.

#33 of 685 Andy Sheets

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Posted February 22 2004 - 01:21 AM

Quote:
Andy, Infernal Affairs is a fantastic movie, have you seen either of the sequels? Haven't gotten around to ordering them yet...

I haven't seen the sequels. I think I read some reviews that indicated that they were okay but not as good as the first one, so I'm not in as much of a rush to see them Posted Image

Quote:
Bullet in the Head on the other hand left an impression.

Heh, I felt like someone had disemboweled me after seeing this one. IIRC, it's Woo's take on remaking The Deer Hunter and I remember it being kind of rough around the edges but it definitely had a powerful effect while watching it. I felt horrible for every single person in the movie, which I think was the main idea Posted Image I should probably rewatch this one some day.

#34 of 685 ChrisBEA

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Posted February 22 2004 - 05:17 AM

Well, I said I'd do it, whether you like it or not.
Here is the list of Asian films in my collection:
While putting this together, I had no idea I had this many Asian titles in my list, many of which are sadly still unwatched.

Comments are welcome:

2 Champions of Death
3 Evil Masters
2002
Akira Kurosawa's Dreams
The Assassin
Attack the Gas Station
Audition
Avalon
Avenging Eagle
Bangkok Dangerous
Battle Royale
Battle Royale II
A Better Tomorrow
A Better Tomorrow II
Big Shot's Funeral
Bio Zombie
Black Angek
Brutal Boxer/Shaolin 1
Drunken Master Killer/Breakout From Oppression
Kung Fu Zombie
Black Dragon(aka Miracles)
Black Mask 2: City of Masks
Brave Archer
The Bride with White Hair
Bullets of Love
Chaos
Chinatown Kid
The Chinese Connection
A Chinese Ghost Story
Chinese Super Ninja
Chungking Express
City Hunter
City of Lost Souls
Contract Killer
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
Cure
Dark Water
Deadful Melody
Destroy All Monsters
Dirty Ho
Dragon Inn
Drunken Master
Duel to the Death
Eastern Condors
Eko Eko Azarak: Wizard of Darkness
Eko Eko Azarak II: Birth of the Wizard
Evil Dead Trap
Evil Dead Trap 2: Hideki
Executioner from Shaolin
Fearless Hyena
Fist of Legend
Fist of the White Lotus
Fists of Fury
Five Deadly Venoms
Flag of Iron
Freeze Me
Fudoh: The New Generation
Full Contact
Fulltime Killer
Fury in Shaolin Temple
Gamera: Guardian of the Universe
Gamera: Attack of Legion
Gamera: Revenge of Iris
Ghostly Bus
The God of Cookery
Godzilla: King of the Monsters
Godzilla v Mothra
Godzilla's Revenge
Terror of Mechagodzilla
Godzilla v King Ghidorah/Godzilla & Mothra: The Battle for Earth
Godzilla v Space Godzilla/Godzilla v Destroyah
Godzilla 2000
Godzilla v Megaguirus
Godzilla, Mothra, King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All Out Attack
Happiness of the Katikuris
Heart of Dragon
Hero
The Hidden Fortress
Hong Kong 1941
Ichi the Killer
In the Line of Duty 4
Infernal Affairs
Inner Senses
Invincible Shaolin
Iron Monkey
Iron Monkey 2
JSA - Joint Security Area
Jackie Chan's First Strike
Jackie Chan's Who Am I?
Kid with the Golden Arm
Killer Army
The Killer
The Kung Fu Master
Kunoichi: Lady Ninja
Kwaidan
The Legend
The Legend 2
The Legend of Drunken Master
The Legend of Suriyothai
The Legend of the 7 Golden Vampires
The Legend of the Swordsman
Legendary Weapons of China
Lone Wolf and Cub: Sword of Vengeance
Lone Wolf and Cub: Baby Cart at the River Styx
Magnifienct Butcher
Magnificient Killers
Masked Avengers
Master of the Flying Guillotine
The Master
Meltdown
Mr. Nice Guy
Mr. Vampire
Musa: The Warrior
My Lucky Stars
My Schoolmate the Barbarian
Naked Killer
The New Legend of Shaolin
Odd Couple
Once Upon a Time in China
Once Upon a Time in China II
Once Upon a Time in China 3
Once Upon a Time in China & America
Onmyoji
Operation Condor
Pistol Opera
The Princess Blade
Pyrokinesis
The Quiet Family
Rashomon
The Red Spectacles
Return of Master Killer
Returner
Revenge of the Kung Fu Master
Ringu
Rodan
Running Out of Time
Samurai Fiction
Sanjuro
The Seven Samurai
Shaolin Challenges Ninja
Shaolin Mantis
Shaolin Master Killer
Shaolin Rescuers
Shaolin Soccer
The Shaolin Temple
Shaolin: Wheel of Life
Shiri
Snake in the Eagle's Shadow
So Close
Tattooed Life
Ten Tigers from Kwangtung
Time and Tide
To Seduce an Enemy
Tokyo Raiders
Tomie
Tsui Hark's Vampire Hunters
Twin Warriors
The Twins Effect
Vampire vs Vampire
Versus
Victim
Volcano High
Wasabi
Wild Criminal
Wing Chun
Women on the Run
Yojimbo
Zatoichi: The Tale of Zatoichi
Zatoichi 2: The Tale of Zatoichi Continues
Zatoichi Meets Yojimbo

#35 of 685 ChrisBEA

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Posted February 22 2004 - 05:22 AM

Now back on track.... Posted Image

Rob, Audition was my introduction to the works of Miike and it totally freaked me out. This was such a bizarre, beautiful, disturbing piece of cinema. I was breathless afterwards. Probably the best Miike film I've seen and one of the better films in general.

Re: Infernal Affairs, I heard the third was better than the second, and neither as good as the first, but I am still interested to see what directions this story goes in. I'll probably pick them up at somepoint.

Re: Ozu, I've never seen any of his films, although I have heard they are very good. I still have to watch more Kurosawa, the only one of his I've seen in its entirety is Rashomon. I have the Samurai box and I am interested in getting Red Beard, Throne of Blood, and Ran.

As someone's sig says:
So many films, so little time.

#36 of 685 Raymond_H

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Posted February 22 2004 - 05:38 AM

Quote:
I still have to watch more Kurosawa, the only one of his I've seen in its entirety is Rashomon. I have the Samurai box and I am interested in getting Red Beard, Throne of Blood, and Ran.

Definetly watch Seven Samurai, then watch it with the commentary. Its just a incredible movie and with the commentary you get to learn alot about just how advance Kurosawa was with his techniques.

Raymond.

#37 of 685 JohnAP

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Posted February 22 2004 - 07:33 AM

I'm glad someone started this thread. I like hearing what other people have enjoyed so I don't feel completely lost when buying asian films. I think it's hard for people to get into asian films sometimes simply because the only outlet is actually buying movies releatively blind since video rental stores rarely have many and almost none get theatrical release.

I'm a relative novice on asian films, but my interest in them has been growing throughout the last year. Also, I think I just made four new converts when I showed my roomates Battle Royale the other night. I bought the Korean special version of that one, which I heard was one of the best for Region 0, though the subtitles were a little poor.

#38 of 685 ChrisBEA

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Posted February 22 2004 - 11:00 AM

Welcome John!

Just ordered some titles from DDhouse.com
Bullet in the Head
Hard Boiled
Gen-X Cops
The Storm Riders
Zu: Warriors from the Magic Mountain

#39 of 685 WillKTaylor

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Posted February 22 2004 - 11:38 AM

Chris

Ended up picking up Miike's Ley Lines today after all. Not a bad little film, but not Miike's best, nor his typical. It's about two Chinese born brothers and a friend shooting off to Tokyo, with no better place in mind, and trying to survive the local streets of Shinjuko. They cross paths with a local boss and the story branches from there.

It's pacing is like some Miike's other stuff, with very little soundtrack movement. The there's some decent comical aspects to take the edge of, notably the sidekick. There's seemless branching of Miike's usual plot line being fairly innocent, the next you're in the middle of someone dying like it's another walk in the park. No big deal. Funny really. And lastly, there's a rather interesting POV shot during one particular scene that reads Miike all over it.

On the video side, the colors are a bit washed, leaving a fairly dark transfer. The audio is not the worst I've heard for 2 channel, but not bad with some rear surround effects. Don't know if I'd dish out 30 for the Tartan release, but if you're a fan of Miike, it's a worthy enough addition.

Also picked up Shaolin Soccer today.. what a wacky story that is.

Anyway, good to see you picking up Bullet in the Head and Hard Boiled. Great films. .. Storm Riders as well. If you can deal with martial arts fantasy movies with a comic book feel, this one will do it for you. The effects, as aged as they could be considered still hold ground today. The audio is great as well. Just wish I managed a DTS copy of this film.

Regards.

#40 of 685 Chris_Morris

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Posted February 22 2004 - 12:34 PM

Quote:
Storm Riders as well. If you can deal with martial arts fantasy movies with a comic book feel,


They make other types of movies? Posted Image

DDDHouse still has Stormriders DTS for $25 HK

A good site for news on HK movies I've found is MonkeyPeaches
http://www.monkeypeaches.com

And I'm hoping that Shi Mian Mai Fu hits R0 DVD by the end of the year (its theatrical debut will be around July). The production stills look amazing, and who doesn't love a wire fight in a bamboo forest?


Chris


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