New Fox HEART OF DRAGON includes fights from Japanese release

Discussion in 'DVD' started by Brian Thibodeau, Dec 15, 2003.

  1. Brian Thibodeau

    Brian Thibodeau Supporting Actor

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    This is probably old news around here, the Fox release of the Jackie Chan film Heart of Dragon ($5.99 at a US Super K store on the weekend) includes the deleted fight scenes from the Japanese cut of the film as extra features. I've wanted to see these for ages and had all but given up hope when I found this disc. I'm assuming these were on the Hong Kong Legends release of the film, but I never wanted to shell out for that edition as the film proper isn't THAT good.

    The only letdown is the fact that the original audio on these scenes is all but drowned out by some atrocious synth-pop library score garbage. Was this absolutely nexessary? Did they think we wouldn't find 20-year-old fights exciting enough without some thumping musical accompaniment?

    On a related note, i was stunned at the quality of the print, as well as the footage of other HKL/FOX releases in the trailers menu. This is seriously making think of replacing a couple of titles that have always seemed inferior in previous incarnations. The footage from Naked Killer looks like it's from a whole 'nother movie when compared with my Megastar disc, which looks bleary and over contrasted by comparison. Same for the so-so print on the Universe release of Eastern Condors.

    Seeing these brief snippets, and watching major portions of Heart of Dragon makes me realize just how badly Chinese distributors have treated their own product on home video over the years, on both sides of the atlantic. I mean, I've got tonnes of excellent quality HK DVDs of recent vintage, and even some nice rereleases of older gems, but now I'm seriously begining to think the "rough edges" I've always though were in keeping with low-budget Hong Kong style were, in fact, nothing more than the side-effect of poor source materials and remastering!

    Also in the bin at Super K were Eastern Condors, In The Line of Duty 4, Duel to the Death, all of which I've had for years, but am seriously thinking of selling off in favour of these editions, bare bones though they are.
     
  2. BooneG

    BooneG Stunt Coordinator

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    In what town did you find these in?

    I have been waiting for these ever since they announced them.
     
  3. Brian Thibodeau

    Brian Thibodeau Supporting Actor

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    I live in Sarnia, Ontario, which shares the border with Port Huron, Michigan, which might be near "some place you aren't" as your location indicator states [​IMG]. They were in a Super K store at an end of town that I haven't been in for over ten years (I didn't even know it had become a Super K! Hell, being Canadian, I didn't even know what a Super K was!) Anyhoo, they had a standee with a bunch of markdown and newer release catalog stuff like the FOX/HK Legends discs. Another personal guilty pleasure, The Adventures of Ford Fairlane (with Renny Harlin comentary!), was also here for $5.99, but I'd already ordered it from Deep Discount for more. Bummer.

    Seemed like they only had the titles from this second wave (mentioned in my earlier post) of Hong Kong pictures, but I'd imagine if they ever get the others, they'd probably be the same price.

    I also found Hong Kong 1941 in the $5.88 dump bin at Walmart in the same town, but alas, no other Fox/HKL discs, at least not yet. Keep your eyes peeled!

    By the by, if you happen to live in Canada, Future Shop sells them for, I think $9.99 CDN apiece, and Walmart, if they still have any, go for around $11 or $12. However, I'm not sure if they carry any titles beyond the first wave just yet.

    Cheers
     
  4. Brian F

    Brian F Agent

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    Interesting about those Fox HKL discs. I did not think they were supposed to come out until next month. I might have to swing by my local Super K to see if they have them yet!

    The Fox HKL discs are amazing, in the transfer department. Great picture quality, at least as seen on my non-digital Wega. I was also amazed with the quality of the first wave (City Hunter, etc.). I was glad to see the original audio is in-tact, and the price is great too! I only wish Fox could release Armour of God II (my favorite Chan film), along with many other HK films. Unfortunately, many great titles belong to the abysmal and evil Miramax corporation [​IMG]

    Looking forward to more Fox HKL discs in the future! I'll buy them all, even if the films are not the greatest...
     
  5. Jeffrey Nelson

    Jeffrey Nelson Screenwriter

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    The picture on these Fox HK DVDs is indeed stupendous, BUT...the soundtracks are remixed 5.1 garbage with newly-recorded sound f/x that don't at all match the film. They'd be more at home in your average overproduced/underwritten/non-acted Hollywood action film.

    Also, re: the Fox NAKED KILLER DVD, it's cut. The only uncut release is the Megastar Director's Cut DVD, which suits me just fine. :)
     
  6. Brian Thibodeau

    Brian Thibodeau Supporting Actor

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    Yeah, I have to agree about the 5.1 remixes on these discs. Surprisingly, I can tolerate it on the lesser movies, since I was never overly concerned about image or sound quality so much as content, but nonetheless they should at least throw the original mono Cantonese tracks on as an alternative. Celestial took some flak for "sweetening" their Shaw Brothers DVD soundtracks with tweeting birds and other audio distractions, but not having seen the vast majority of the originals in their native language, I'm not certain I'd catch every alteration.

    One question, Jeffrey. That director's cut Naked Killer disc. I'm not sure if that's the megastar disc I have. Was it reissued with a "director's cut" tag on the packaging? I think my Megastar disc might be an earlier release, if there was one. If so, what's been cut to make the shorter version? The usual violence and nudity? The infamous weenie scene?

    Just curious...

    BrianF

    I'm now beginning to wonder if Super K broke street on these (and Ford Fairlane for that matter), since you're not the first person who's mentioned they thought the HKL discs were supposed to be out next month. Seems like I've seen a lot of stuff over the last few months hitting shelves before it's supposed to.
     
  7. Randy Korstick

    Randy Korstick Producer

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    Just a quick note. These are not the Hong Kong Legends discs that were released in the U.K. It was intially believed that these were just ports of those disc but these are brand new high def masters and superior to the HKL line. Unfortunately Naked Killer is cut as previously mentioned. These are definately worth the upgrade over any previous versions including the HKL line especially at the price.
     
  8. Matthew Brown

    Matthew Brown Supporting Actor

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    I believe any changes are do to Fortune Star and not Fox. Fortune Star is who Fox licensed the movies from. A lot of companies feel that people don't want mono soundtracks. They go out of their way embelishing soundtracks when they don't realize that the original soundtracks, mono or not, are the best.

    As Far as the cut of Naked Killer, there were several different cuts of the movie and what Fox has is probably just one of them.

    By the way, HEAR OF DRAGON is a really good movie. It will surprise anybody who is only used toJackie Chan's slapstick fights. The fights in this movie are brutal.

    Matt
     
  9. Brian F

    Brian F Agent

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    I have successfully found ALL FIVE of the 'wave 2' Fox HK discs (Duel to the Death, Eastern Condors, Heart of Dragon, In the Line of Duty 4, and My Lucky Stars) at the aformentioned store. Interestingly, they included DTS Cantonese and English tracks on the second wave. I agree that the original mono audio would have been better, along with the audio commentaries that were on some (or all?) of the original Hong Kong Legends discs. They could have left off the DTS..........but I guess that is a selling point for some. I can't complain too much though given the great price and excellent transfers.

    What did they do to the audio to make it 5.1? I am assuming that they used the original audio of the actors (or at least the dub that was originally present) and enhanced the surrounds? Or did they pull a Miramax and re-score the entire film (ala Iron Monkey)?

    Does anyone know if/when/what titles might be in wave 3?
     
  10. Brian Thibodeau

    Brian Thibodeau Supporting Actor

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    Looks like Super K is definitely putting these out early, as several on-line stores have them listed as streeting Dec. 30. And at $5.99, they're cheaper than any online price I've seen so far. Early Christmas presents for ourselves, I suppose...
     
  11. Matthew Brown

    Matthew Brown Supporting Actor

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    Brian -
    For the remixes they sometimes add sound effects that weren't present originally. I can't speak for the Fox titles I haven't seen, but it appears that the music is all original. I think these mixes are done by the original property owners and not so much Fox in this case. The property owners have the original sound elements. There are times when flubs are made, like Anchor Bay's first release of A Better Tomorrow, or Columbia's Full Contact.

    In the case of the UK based HKL, they are at the mercy of the materials they receive. They do the restoration themselves. They most likely get the remixed soundtracks and/or sound elements from the company they license the movies from.

    The orginal soundtracks may not even be an option for either company. Don't forget, many DVD companies use 5.1 Dolby and DTS as a selling point.

    While Fix called these the "Hong Kong Legends" line early on, other than the name I don't believe these have anything in common. For one, the aspect ratio of the Fox Magnificent Warriors is correct while the HKL one is cropped due to their using a 16mm print as a source. Also, Magnificent Butcher doesn't suffer from the picture distortion that the HKL one did. The name also led to hope that the Bey Logan commentary would be included on each. I really wish HKL would put those things on CD so I could listen to them in the car!

    Matt
     
  12. Jeffrey Nelson

    Jeffrey Nelson Screenwriter

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    I'm not so sure that Fox isn't remixing these soundtracks themselves. Fortune Star/Deltamac are putting them out in HK on DVD with the original mono tracks (and these are the only versions I buy). When these titles were previously licensed from Star TV by Media Asia, they were remixed by Media Asia. Fox could have gotten all the original materials, including the original sound stems, and remixed the audio for the U.S. market. I would think that if Fortune Star were going to go to the trouble of creating these remixes, they would use them on the HK releases too.
     
  13. Matthew Brown

    Matthew Brown Supporting Actor

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    Jeffrey -

    That's very possible. Fox could be doing the mixing.

    I received an e-mail from Peter Poon from Fortune STAR a while back that said that they have fully restored the films directly from the inter-positive then did digital restoration. I assumed that they were doing the audio also.

    He had also said that extras and such were totally up to them. He didn't mention Fox at all. I think Fox might just be the distributor here.

    As far as the Deltamac releases go, I think they are using existing prints and/or transfers and soundtracks just to bang them out over in Hong Kong. I don't think these same versions could be sold to a US company. None would want to do the restoration to the print. Fortune STAR is probably restoring movies and selling the rights to those. They are catering to different markets. For the most part, they can get away with average transfers to the HK market because a lot of the people that buy them are just as happy with a VCD of the same movie.

    Matt
     
  14. BooneG

    BooneG Stunt Coordinator

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    has anyone else found these at either the aforementioned store or any other store?
     

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