Best Jackie Chan releases?

Discussion in 'DVD' started by Mark Riley, Jan 13, 2005.

  1. Mark Riley

    Mark Riley Agent

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    I'm a huge Jackie Chan fan and I want to get as many of his movies as possible. Obviously, the more stunts/fight scenes, the better. Which versions of his movies are the best as it regards OAR, picture quality, etc. Maybe we can start a whole chain of this since one person trying to do all the movies is ridiculous. I'm pretty sure we can skip the Tuxedo and the Medallion too from what I've heard about them [​IMG]

    Also, is there any version of Operation Condor available? I saw it on UPN over the summer and it was amazing. It was either 1 or 2, I don't remember but there was a scene with him going down a huge hill in a bubble if that helps.
     
  2. Scott L

    Scott L Producer

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    Operation Condor is my favorite Jackie Chan flick. It doesn't have his absolute best fight scenes but the story, backdrop, and humor combination in this film is the best he's ever done imo. And just fyi the Chinese name is Armor of God 2: Operation Condor.

    As for the discs don't get your hopes up. Almost everything is letterboxed and non-anamorphic. www.dvdpricesearch.com should tell you what's available and what's not. www.hkflix.com will carry things that aren't released on R1.

    Other movies of interest:

    - Drunken Master 1
    - Drunken Master 2 (Legend of Drunken Master for R1, original dubbing is much better, and probably his best fight scenes)
    - Rumble in the Bronx
    - Wheels on Meals (his fight with Benny the Jet was voted best fight scene evAR! by Kung Fu Mag)
    - Police Story 3: Supercop (best one of the series)
    - Police Story 4 First Strike (nice acrobatics)
    - Dragons Forever aka- Cyclone Z
    - Project A
    - Gorgeous (bleh love story but 2 awesome fights)
    - Mr. Nice Guy (far from his best but it's hilarious)
    - Half a Loaf of Kung Fu & Fearless Hyena (usually come in a combo pack)
     
  3. andrew markworthy

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    Scott has listed a lot of the plums from Jackie's long career. However, I'd add to the list:

    Project A Pt 1
    Project A Pt 2
    Shaolin Wooden Men (aka 36 Wooden Men)
    Who Am I?
    Accidental Spy

    Worth renting just to see how well JC can direct (a shame the story isn't v. thrilling):

    Miracles

    Also worth renting at least:

    Rush Hour 1 and 2 (they're not as bad as you might suppose)
    Shanghai Noon

    I personally would avoid any of the Lucky Stars movies unless you're desperate to see literally everything he's done (Chinese comedy of the slapstick variety doesn't export well).

    I'd also personally avoid The Medallion and Shanghai Knights like the plague.

    A couple of other things:

    If you can play R2 discs, then head straight for anything of JC's released by Hong Kong Legends - almost invariably the best and most complete prints, and usually a lot of extras as well.

    I used to have every single thing by JC that was available on DVD. To be honest, after a while the interest began to wane. The plots, etc, tend to roll into one after a while, and eventually I sold a lot of the more obscure titles.
     
  4. Phil Menard

    Phil Menard Stunt Coordinator

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    If you have all-region capabilities, I highly recommend the POLICE STORY Trilogy box set from Fortune Star (I know, it's not really a trilogy - they forgot about FIRST STRIKE). The picture quality is better than Hong Kong Legends, plus all 3 have a Cantonese dts track.

    Hong Kong Legends came out with a great PROJECT A & PROJECT A II collection. This is also in a box set from Fortune Star, but I have not seen the quality yet. HKL release of MIRACLES is also very good.

    I second the Dimension release of LEGEND OF THE DRUNKEN MASTER (aka DRUNKEN MASTER 2). This is by far my favorite Jackie Chan movie. Now if only we could get a real Cantonese track to go with the excellent picture quality. The R3 (Tiawan, I believe) is in the wrong aspect ratio of 1.85:1, but does have the original soundtrack.

    Fox in the US continues to trickle out budget releases (of Fortune Star prints) and a good one was THE YOUNG MASTER. Heck, since the price is so low, pick up CITY HUNTER and BATTLE CREEK BRAWL (aka THE BIG BRAWL) as well.

    A few of the R1 Columbia Tristar releases are good, namely SNAKE IN THE EAGLES SHADOW (directed by Yuen Woo Ping)and the slightly flawed DRUNKEN MASTER (little soundtrack problems).

    The US releases of WHO AM I? and GORGEOUS are edited down from their original running times, but both contain sequences which are extremely well done (the rooftop fight in the former & the fight with Brad Allan in the later).

    The Dimension release of OPERATION CONDOR is ok, but there is a cut to the fight scene at the end of about a minute. I have no idea why the fight was trimmed. The complete scene is on the various Mega Star Hong Kong dvds, along with Cantonese dubs, but the movies are not anamorphic. I'm still waiting for a "best" release for this one.

    I also like the nearly non-stop action in DRAGONS FOREVER. The only release so far is the letterboxed and slightly edited Tai Seng. The good news is that Hong Kong Legends is supposed to be working on a release.
     
  5. PaulaJ

    PaulaJ Supporting Actor

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    Avoid (with one exception noted below) if you can almost every U.S. version of Jackie's Hong Kong movies. These films are all easily available on Region 0 Hong Kong DVDs.

    You absolutely want to avoid the U.S. version of Operation Condor, which has been sliced up. Get the Hong Kong version.

    The only exceptions are the Jackie movies in Fox's waves of martial arts DVDs. They're all uncut (with the exception of Naked Killer, not a Jackie movie) and have beautiful anamorphic transfers. However, all except for the last batch have only remixed soundtracks and dubtitles instead of subtitles. The upcoming releases (April 15) include The Hand of Death (a solid early John Woo martial arts pic with Jackie in a prominent supporting role) and Winners and Sinners. Warning: the Fox version of The Young Master is not properly framed -- not enough room at the top and too much at the bottom. Most of the time it looks OK but there are some scenes where the incorrect framing is annoying. Unfortunately, Fox's DVDs are lacking in any meaningful extras, except for two scenes on the Heart of Dragon DVD that were only in the Japanese release of the film. Unfortunately Fox plastered a very annoying music track onto these two scenes. [​IMG]

    Columbia Tri-Star's DVD of Miracles (now re-titled Black Dragon for copyright reasons) does include the uncut Hong Kong version, but it is one of the worst transfers ever, despite being anamorphic. Almost unwatchable. Every other title's U.S. version is either cut and/or dubbed and/or given new music (usually all three). The HK version looks good for a non-anamorphic transfer but the subtitles aren't as good as the U.S. version. So Hong Kong Legends is the way to go with this title for now.

    Unfortunately a lot of the U.S. DVDs have nicer anamorphic transfers than the Hong Kong ones, but the editing/dubbing is so atrocious that the better picture doesn't make up for the changes. Columbia Tri-Star's version of Gorgeous is worth a rental at least because it has a rarity -- Jackie's commentary, in ENGLISH! [​IMG] However, it cuts out 20 mins from the HK version, including Stephen Chow's amusing cameo.

    By the way, Miracles is one of my most favorite Jackie movies. [​IMG] I love every frame of it, not just the awesome action scenes. [​IMG] And the Lucky Stars movies are worth watching for the action; just fast forward through the juvenile comedy stuff (though even the comedy is worth watching at least once if it's a Hong Kong Legends release because Bey Logan Will Explain It All For You). [​IMG]
    Hong Kong Legends' R2 DVD are excellent and with the best extras, but the newly remastered Region 0/NTSC versions from IVL in Hong Kong have the best pictures (from the comparisons I've seen). (I think some of the HKL's DVDs were cropped at the sides, too -- Project A?) The IVL Police Story box has some troublesome issues with sound. I can look this up if you need. [​IMG] But they sure look great! And they have some good extras, like the deleted scenes from Project A, which includes a terrific scene with Jackie and Yuen Biao fighting in a gym training session.

    For Drunken Master 2, one of Jackie's greatest movies, there is no suitable version available. Unless you have the old laser disc (like I do). [​IMG] Disney's anamorphic U.S. version (retitled The Legend of Drunken Master) is almost uncut and looks great, but they gave it a new musical score which isn't anywhere near as good as the original one, it's dubbed, and they cut the last scene. The HK Thakral DVD is uncut with the original language and music tracks, but it's been cropped down from 2:35:1 to 1:78 and looks kind of crummy besides. Unfortunately Disney has worldwide rights to DM2, so we're not going to get a proper version of this action classic for the forseeable future. [​IMG]

    I confess I like Shanghai Noon a lot. [​IMG] But Shanghai Knights is baaaad. Just fast forward through to the action scenes, especially the big swordfight at the end. The DVD includes the complete versions of the action scenes, which were edited down for the theatrical release.

    You might also want to try Jackie's latest, New Police Story, which has some hair-raising stunts. [​IMG]
     
  6. Joe Wong

    Joe Wong Second Unit

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    Note that Project A and Project A 2, plus the first 3 Police Story films, are now in a remastered anamorphic version from Fortune Star or IVL (try malmusic.com). Just saw Police Story 3 (AKA Supercop) and the transfer is very nice, if a little dark in a couple of spots. Sound (DTS) is also excellent.

    Joe
     
  7. Joe Wong

    Joe Wong Second Unit

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    PaulaJ,

    my dad says the new Police Story is pretty good, tho Jackie is starting to look pretty old. How does it compare with the classics like Police Story 3, the Project As, etc.? Is there a decent amount of hand-to-hand combat? I miss his final fights, like those with Benny Urquidez in Wheels on Meals.

    Cheers,

    Joe
     
  8. PaulaJ

    PaulaJ Supporting Actor

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    >my dad says the new Police Story is pretty good, tho Jackie is starting to look pretty old.

    HEY! Jackie is only one year older than me! I think he looks great. [​IMG] Whoever colors his hair does a great job, too. [​IMG] (Seriously, I think he looks fine -- so what if he's not a youngster anymore.)

    >How does it compare with the classics like Police Story 3, the Project As, etc.?

    Well........ it's not a deathless action classic like the two Project As and the Police Stories. Jackie just can't handle that kind of action anymore. But what he can do as a 50 year old is pretty amazing, especially a 50 year old whose body has taken as much punishment as it has. The action certainly is better than most of his American movies.

    > Is there a decent amount of hand-to-hand combat?

    Nothing like the glory days but there is some pretty good hand to hand, especially with Andy On, a young actor who is not a trained martial artist but seems a quick learner. I was hoping to see Jackie versus Daniel Wu (the main villain) since Daniel is trained in wushu, but alas...no such luck.

    > miss his final fights, like those with Benny Urquidez in Wheels on Meals.

    The NPS fights are good but not up to Jackie versus Benny the Jet standards. I don't know that anyone is doing fights that good any more -- wait, the Thais are! Ong Bak, anyone? But in addition to the hand to hand (which I did enjoy) there are some jaw-dropping stunts, like Jackie and co-star Nicholas Tse rappelling down a skyscraper (did I mention the stunt guy who RIDES A BIKE down the skyscraper?!) or Jackie and Nic getting hung off the top of the Hong Kong convention center. We get some gorgeous views of the city and the bay.

    The wire work is pretty decent, it doesn't look horribly obvious like in the first part of The Medallion, where people who weren't supposed to have superpowers were flying around anyway.

    Warning: this is NOT a comedy. Jackie's character turns into an alcoholic after his squad is ambushed and he has quite a few scenes where he's sniffling into his whiskey or otherwise shedding tears. The crying does get to be a bit too much at times.

    On the other hand, it definitely is a *Jackie Chan movie* (even if Benny Chan directed) and he's front and center. (You can see Jackie directing the action sequences in the extras.) NPS doesn't give you that horrible feeling you get (or at least I get) from most of his American movies, which treat him as something strange and foreign and only to be let out in the company of a fast-talking American or Brit. (This includes The Medallion, despite its Hong Kong origins.)

    For all you guys who like the HK actresses -- Charlie Yeung in her comeback role is quite charming but there isn't much to the character. The other major female role is played by Twin Charlene Choi, who gives me hives. [​IMG] (I prefer the other Twin, Gillian Cheung, if I must have a Twin.)
     
  9. Joe Wong

    Joe Wong Second Unit

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    Oops! Apologies...didn't mean to imply that 50 is old...:b

    Good to have some JC fans here...are the HK rights for Drunken Master 2 also with Disney? D*mn! Was hoping for an anamorphic OAR remaster with DTS, like the IVLs...(currently have the Thakral...but hate the cropping and poor quality).

    If you've seen Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, compare the motorcycle chase (as they escape the Bavarian castle) to the bicycle chase in Project A. Coincidence? Inspiration? Homage?[​IMG]

    Cheers,

    Joe
     
  10. Mark Pytel

    Mark Pytel Second Unit

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    Joe,
    I have the original Mega Star versions of
    all three Police Story Films and both Project A movies.

    Do these new versions contain the complete uncut films?
    Are these new versions in the proper aspect ratio?
    Are they NTSC All Region?

    If so that would be great as with having a Widescreen TV, it would be nice to have 16:89 Discs.
    -Thanks again,
    -Mark
     
  11. Joe Wong

    Joe Wong Second Unit

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    Mark,

    I will try to check. PS 3 seems to be uncut and in 2.35:1, with the original soundtrack and voices (often the voices in HK films are dubbed by someone else).

    Also note that the A Better Tomorrow Trilogy, Hard Boiled, and a John Woo 2-pack of Bullet In the Head/The Killer are also remastered and now available.

    Joe
     
  12. Mark Pytel

    Mark Pytel Second Unit

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    joe,
    Is that website that you mentioned pretty reliable? If so, I might consider ordering some of the movies. How do the do the conversion to US dollars?
    -Thanks again,
    Mark
     
  13. Joe Wong

    Joe Wong Second Unit

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    Mark,

    I ordered from Malmusic once, to get the Police Stories, Project As, and Once Upon a Time in Chinas (also remastered, anamorpic WS, and DTS). I think it took some 2 weeks for it to get here, but this was just before the holiday season.

    Other places I have ordered HK films from include hkflix.com and Asiandiscs.com.

    Cheers,

    Joe
     
  14. Andy Patrizio

    Andy Patrizio Stunt Coordinator

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    All I've got is the Dimension release of Supercop and that thing is seriously deficient. So, can someone recommend a better release?
     
  15. Shane Dodson

    Shane Dodson Stunt Coordinator

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    I would second (or third) the recommendation of the Fortune Star POLICE STORY trilogy boxed set. All three films have (obviously) been remastered in anamorophic widescreen, and the prints used look (surprisingly) in good shape for their age. The only quibble would be the new 5.1 tracks (both Dolby Digital and DTS). The punches and kicks have apparently been beefed up, and the effect can be distracting if that sort of thing bothers you. However, I didn't have a problem with the punched up sound at all...that is until I got to PS 3: SUPERCOP. The gunshots and explosions in that film (there are PLENTY) have been artificially jazzed up to a rather annoying degree, and the effect is even more apparent when you can hear the original mono sound FX layered in. On the plus side, the film IS presented UNCUT (not the Disney version), and much of the dialouge is presented as originally recorded on the set, making the talky passages easy on the ears.

    PS and PS2 don't fare as well in the dialouge department, with some pretty obvious dubbing throughout (and is that really Chan's voice used in the dubbing...he doesn't really sound like himself, but I could be wrong).

    But I can't recommend this boxed set highly enough based simply on the gorgeous transfers each film receives.

    As for NEW POLICE STORY...I liked it. Be sure and get the 2-disc special edition with the DTS track. Somehow I ended up getting a single disc version that turned out being a bad bootleg...with a non-anamorphic picture and a lousy Dolby Digital 2.0 track. The 2-disc DTS version sports an amazing anamorphic transfer (2.35:1...shot in Super 35) and a glorious 5.1 track. Supposedly, this is the biggest budgeted film ever made in Hong Kong, and it shows. Jackie isn't exactly in prime form here (how could he be, really)...but the fights are good. Just get ready for some heavy-duty melodrama in the vein of John Woo. It's a bit strang watching Jackie trying to emote as much as he does...but the action sequences more than make up for the cheese.

    At any rate, the Fortune Star boxed set is all-region, as is the NEW POLICE STORY release. I ordered both off of Ebay, and got them pretty quickly.

    Regards,

    - Shane D.
     
  16. PaulaJ

    PaulaJ Supporting Actor

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    The IVL remastered Police Story and Project A box sets DO have the original Cantonese 2.0 soundtracks,but you have to access them through the DVDs' menus, because the default is to the new 5.1 tracks. Unfortunately, the original 2.0 tracks for Police Story 1 and 2 are out of sync though which is why the dubbing seems even more obvious. Supercop (Police Story 3) was filmed in soundsync and is OK. The films also have Mandarin soundtracks -- something I'd avoid, except for the end credits of Police Story 3, because the Mandarin version of the end credits song (sung by Jackie) is quite different than the Cantonese one. [​IMG]

    >Also note that the A Better Tomorrow Trilogy, Hard Boiled, and a John Woo 2-pack of Bullet In the Head/The Killer are also remastered and now available.

    Also from the same folks (IVL). [​IMG] Except for Hard Boiled, which is one of the new Mei Ah remasters. Also currently available is a box set of Hui Brothers films, and coming up soon are box sets of the Chinese Ghost Story trilogy and the Aces Go Places series.
     
  17. PaulaJ

    PaulaJ Supporting Actor

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    Oops! Forgot to mention that IVL has also released a very nice boxed set of the Once Upon a Time in China trilogy with Jet Li. Must-see cinema! I actually managed to see the first one in a theater some months ago and it was a fabulous experience.
     
  18. Joe Wong

    Joe Wong Second Unit

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    Would like to see remasters of Wheels on Meals and Dragons Forever, featuring two of the best one-on-one, hand-to-hand fights in movie history, both involving Jackie and Benny Urquidez.

    Joe
     
  19. Sean Moon

    Sean Moon Cinematographer

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    Make it your goal in life to track down a copy of Wheels on Meals. The final fight between Jackie and Benny at the end has to be seen to be believed. Just the most amazing fight scene ever put on film. There is a rumor as well that there was a very heated rivalry betwen those two stars at the time, and during the filming of that scene they were truly trying their hardest to hurt the other. It looked convincing enough to me. The part in that fight where I went "jesus" was when benny has jackie trapped against a table, punching at him, then tries to roundhouse kick him in the head. Jackie ducks as the kick goes flying over him, but the force of the kick extinguishes all the candles on the table behind him. It happens VERY fast too, just in the blink of an eye, but amazing.

    Young Master has another great great fight at the end. An epic 17 minute fight that Dave Chappelle would describe as "one of the most spectacular ass beatings ever witnessed in the atlantic northwest." The first thirteen minutes of this fight, Jackie only touches his opponent twice. Just a truly painful sequence to watch, but amazing to see the skill of his opponent and the superb body conditioning skills of Jackie.

    My Lucky Stars is a pretty stupid film, but with a few really cool fight sequences in it. The Ninjas in suits is quite funny.

    Miracles is a really good film as well, and as others have said, the US transfer (Black Dragon.....ugh) is VERY poor. In interviews Jackie has stated this is his favorite movie he has ever done, and it is that good. The main henchman he battles at the end in the rope factory would later go on to battle jet li at the end of Fist of Legend.

    Project A movies are good for fights too, and for one insane stunt where jackie broke his neck falling from a building.

    Drunken Master II is amazing as well, or Legend of Drunken Master as MiramAXE called it. Just amazing fight after amazing fight, culminating in a showdown between Ken Lo and Jackie at the end. Truly breathtaking.

    Of his recent stuff Gorgeous and Who am I have some amazing fights. Considering Jackie was in his mid to late forties doing these films is even more amazing, but the man still has it.

    In Who am I there is not only a great car chase in it (with hot women to boot) but one of my personal favorite fight scenes. Jackie goes against two henchmen on a roof of a high rise. The first attacking him with Long Fist style, but when the Tae Kwon Do henchman, played by Ron Smoorenberg, comes in, the fight is a sight to behold. Ron was supposedly so fast that parts of the fight had to be done using a double for Ron because Jackie couldnt keep up with him. Just watch frame by frame has Ron runs in for the jump kicks at the start of the fight. You will see that it is actually Bradley James Allen and not Ron! After that, the two henchmen gang up on Jackie. Great stuff.

    Speaking of Brad Allen, Gorgeous is a fun movie too. Tony Leung plays a very funny role in the film. But there are only two real fights in it, both against Bradley James Allen. Brad is the first and only non asian on Jackie's stunt team. Along with Ken Lo from Drunken Master II, he is also Jackie's bodyguard in real life, or at least was. The fights with brad are both civil and fair. They are mainly doing it for sport, to see who is better, and that adds a neat dynamic to the fight. But Brad is amazing to watch, just a great show off for a great martial artist. And an inside joke in my home is that I look almost exactly like Brad Allen, so we pull this film out for a good laugh sometimes.

    Grab those films for proof why Jackie is and always has been the best.
     
  20. Scott L

    Scott L Producer

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    Jackie said in an interview during parts of the scene they were pretty much sparring, with no pre-choreographed moves. His exact words in the interview went something like this:

    "Ok try to hit me.. whackwhackwhackwhack POW!... ok good, again! whackwhackwhackwhack POW!... again!"

    [​IMG]
     

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