Beast Cops : R2 Vs R0
 
Producer: Hong Kong Legends
Languages:
CANTONESE 5.1, English 5.1
Subtitles
English, Dutch
Extras:
Commentary, Interview Gallery (Gordon Chan, Anthony Wong, Stephanie Che), Theatrical Trailer, Stills Gallery, Further Attractions
Menus:
Animated
W/S Subs:
Ratio
1.85:1 Anamorphic
Region
PAL 2 & 4

Producer: Mega Star
Languages:
CANTONESE 5.1, Mandarin 5.1, English 5.1
Subtitles
Removable Chinese (S+T), English, Japanese, Korean, Malaysian, Thai, Spanish.
Extras:
Theatrical Trailer, Further Trailers, Biographies (Anthony Wong, Roy Cheung, Michael Wong, Kathy Chau, Gordon Chan, Dante Lam)
Menus:
Static
W/S Subs:
Ratio
1.85:1 Non Anamorphic
Region
NTSC 0
 
MOVIE

Having already received a somewhat lacking visual presentation at the hands of Mega Star, Gordon Chan's acclaimed drama has finally made its way onto the HKL books.
After their recent trouncing of another Mega Star title, Encounters Of The Spooky Kind, could this great British company follow up that success with another? Read on to find out...

READ THE FILM REVIEW HERE

PICTURE
HKL

First and foremost, the one advantage the PAL HKL disc has, is its handling of the sweeping camerawork used throughout. At times, the Region 0 disc suffers from a noticeable stuttering effect due to its NTSC roots - this is never a problem with the PAL R2 transfer.

One major improvement made by HKL is their use of a much more vibrantly coloured print, which finally does justice to the film's often stunning photography. HKL's print is also significantly stronger in its representation of black, side-stepping the problems exhibited by Mega Star's overly-bright print. This is nowhere more noticeable than in the the flashback scene involving Michael Wong's character. The region 0 disc's tones appear to range between light and dark grey - a far cry from the film's intended black and white photography. However, the Region 2 disc is far superior, adding a much needed crispness to the visuals.

Moving on to comparing detail levels, HKL's disc move ahead yet again, as the Anamorphic nature of the print reveals even more fine detail than is present on the M.S. release.

The most disappointing aspect of the Mega Star transfer was always the abundant grain and artifacting. Whilst HKL go a long way to rectify this problem, it's still evident in certain scenes.
Depressingly, HKL's Layer-change is once again very noticeable.

A final sidenote with regard to the picture, is that there's a rather odd inconsistency between the two prints:
Firstly, the Best Cops logo at the beginning of the film is a bright golden colour on the Region 0 disc, but an almost bronze/red hue on the Region 2. Secondly, during Michael Wong's flashback, a blue and white roll of police tape moves across the screen on the Region 0 disc. On the Region 2, it's black and white.
These deviations make no difference to the film as a whole, but are strange none the less.

SOUND
HKL

Both discs present the film in its original Dolby Digital 5.1 format, and both sound excellent.
The HKL soundtrack is not quite as loud as Mega Star's, although it doesn't contain the slight hiss which is occasionally apparent on the Region 0 disc.
Very little separates the two releases, but HKL just about edge it with their ever-so-slightly superior presentation of the soundtrack.

SUBTITLES
HKL

For once, HKL go all-out to deliver proper, un-Anglicised subititles...and succeed.
The subtitles are eerily similar to those found on the Mega Star disc, and I wouldn't be surprised if HKL had used them as the blueprint for theirs.
Mega Star's subs were always very good, being extremely well-written and correctly translated. Although Hong Kong Legends occasionally rejig the dialogue slightly, their smaller size results in more lines being placed onscreen at one time, making for easier reading.

MENUS
HKL

Although there is little wrong with Mega Star's nicely composed menu screens, they pale in comparison to the HKL's stylish, animated designs.

EXTRAS
HKL

HKL:

Commentary
Just as I was beginning to tire of Bey Logan's commentaries, along comes a fascinating, and detailed, double-act featuring Bey and Gordon Chan.
Logan manages to ask all the right questions at the right times, which makes for one of Hong Kong Legend's best commentaries for some while.
A slight irritation comes in the form of the English dub, which runs alongside the commentary, and can sometimes become distracting.

Photo Gallery
31 stills - some interesting, most not.

Trailers
UK Promo Trailer
An awful trailer, which ranks alongside HKLs worst efforts.
Not only is it pasted together in the same vomit-inducing, fast-cutting manner as some of their other trailers, but it also misrepresents the film as an all-out action thriller.
Original Theatrical Trailer
A far more stylish, and far truer, representation of the film.
2000AD UK Promo Trailer

Interview Gallery
Gordon Chan
In this 15 minute interview, Gordon Chan once again utilises his eloquent English to discuss some of the film's main points.
Although some of the material is also covered in the commentary, this is still worth watching.

Anthony Wong
Wong's, shall we say, "reluctant" attitude to answering questions doesn't help this already hard-going interview.
His short, sharp responses give the impression that he is more irritated than interested by the questions , and therefore this isn't an area of the disc I shall be returning to.

Stephanie Che
This was one interview which really surprised me, not because of its content, but because of its subject. Stephanie Che makes little more than a cameo appearance in the film, and so I found it strange that she should be given so much coverage. True, the interview is fairly interesting, but I keep thinking that Kathy Chau, Roy Cheung or Patrick Tam warranted an interview ahead of Stephanie.

Further Attractions
MiraclesIron Fisted Monk • Game Of Death • In The Line Of Duty • Eastern Condors
Magnificent Butcher • Hong Kong: 1941 • Once Upon A Time In China 3Purple Storm • Game Of Death 2 •

Mega Star:

Out-takes and behind-the-scenes snippets precede interesting biographies for Gordon Chan, Dante Lam, Michael Wong, Anthony Wong, Kathy Chau and Roy Cheung.
The theatrical trailer is also included alongside trailers for King Of Beggars, Option Zero and Final Option

CUTS / CHANGES
DRAW

Absolutely no cuts have been made to either DVD.

CONCLUSION
HKL

It's perfectly evident from the table below that not only does HKL's disc make Beast Cops look and sound better than ever before, but that it also puts Mega Star's release in its rightful place...second.
Whilst the extras aren't as impressive as they first appear, the Region 2 disc still ranks alongside some of the best HKL releases. And although my feelings towards the films good and bad points remain, for first-time viewers, or long-time fans, you can't get any better than this excellent Pal disc.

COMPANY
Hong Kong Legends
Mega Star
Winner
MOVIE
8/10
8/10
DRAW
PICTURE
9/10
7/10
HKL
SOUND
10/10
9/10
HKL
SUBTITLES
10/10
9/10
HKL
EXTRAS
7/10
5/10
HKL
MENUS
10/10
7/10
HKL
PACKAGING
8/10
7/10
HKL
OVERALL
9/10
8/10
HKL