Big Bullet
UNIVERSE
 
Starring:
Directed By:
Benny Chan
Year:
1996
Run Time:
92 mins
Producer: Universe
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Languages:
CANTONESE 5.1, Mandarin 5.1
Subtitles:
Chinese (S&T), English
W/S Subtitles:
No
Ratio:
1.85:1
Region:
NTSC 0
Genre:
Action / Adventure - IIB
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MOVIE
8/10

After assaulting a fellow officer following a botched raid, Bill Zhu (Lau Ching-Wan) is transferred to the 'Emergency Unit': a group of officers who patrol the streets of Hong Kong in Police vans.
Bill is teamed with an eclectic bunch of cops (by-the-book Jeff, cutie-pie Apple, gun-worshipping Matt, and old stager Dan), and having been put in charge of this unit, must also keep control of himself.
Headed by Professor (Yu Rong-Kwong), a group of gun-toting thieves are out on the streets of Hong Kong causing mayhem. Killing Bill's friend and colleague in a hectic restaurant shoot-out causes Bill to ignore his orders and track down the gang.
But will Bill's new team be willing to follow him into the danger zone, and possibly out of their jobs?

Whilst the film has some rather bloody shoot-outs, Benny Chan's '96 movie never takes itself too seriously, and thanks to an impressive script, provides a group of distinct E.U. team-members for the viewer to grow attached to.

Apart Lau Ching-Wan's excellent portrayal of Bill Zhu, a quite brilliant line-up of characters are placed alongside him.
I've always been a big fan of Jordan Chan, and once again he fails to disappoint. His initially stuffy and straight-laced character is fleshed out particularly well, and his subsequent change of heart therefore feels very natural.
In fact, the whole cast, and in particular Bill's four E.U. team-mates, play their roles with a great deal of warmth and each is given a moment to shine.
For example, the adorable Apple, played by Theresa Lee, is so utterly cute that she could quite easily have become utterly irritating. But thanks to some great dialogue and a couple of action scenes, this possible problem never arises.

Action scenes are impressive, and well directed, as is the film as a whole.
However, my main sticking point comes in the film's finale, which although unfolds inside a huge plane, runs out of steam very quickly.

To sum up the movie in two words, I'd have to say "ensemble piece".
This really is one of those rare occasions when a group of talented actors are placed on-screen, given a great script, and are allowed to let their natural chemistry flow, producing a wonderfully entertaining hour and a half.

PICTURE
6/10

From the films' opening, the transfer looks very soft, lacking fine detail. Although at times the image appears to sharpen somewhat, the overall clarity on offer is poor.
Smearing can also be seen on a number of occasions, but artifacting is not in evidence.
The movies primary colours are reproduced well, although due to the soft image, they appear to bleed slightly.
As a large part of the film occurs at night, blacks are thankfully deep and solid, with shadow detail remaining good throughout...
A transfer which just about does the job.

SOUND
7/10

Although not listed in the credits, as far as I can tell, the films was shot in synch-sound. I think it's due to this fact that the characters come across so well, as none of their performance is lost due to post-dubbing.
These synch-sound credentials should also guarantee a good 5.1 mix...unfortunately, they don't.
Directional effects are very good, with crisp sound being effectively panned across the front speakers. However, dialogue is often muffled and can be slightly off-putting to listen to, as it feels as if your ears have "popped".

SUBTITLES
4/10

The worst aspect of this disc by some way....
Let's get the positives out of the way first:
The general standard of the subs are good, and Chinese dialogue is translated with little problem.
All of the verbal jokes are translated well enough for Western viewers to understand and appreciate.

Now onto the bad:
English dialogue is spoken in fairly large chunks throughout, but the accompanying subtitles bear no relation to it whatsoever.
Anthony Wong's Italian-speaking villain fairs far worse, with all of his linguistic skills being reduced to a single "Damn", no matter how many words are spoken.
Spelling and grammar errors are frequent, although to be fair, they aren't particularly distracting.
And last, but not least, Chinese dialogue is often simplified, leaving long exchanges reduced to single lines of subtitles.

EXTRAS
4/10

What do you expect? A Making Of...? Out-take footage? Wishful thinking....
Star Files for Lau Ching-Wan, Jordan Chan, Theresa Lee, Cheung Tat-Ming and Benny Chan.
The Theatrical trailer - which is left unsubtitled.
Trailers for Expect The Unexpected, Lifeline, The Longest Nite and Young And Dangerous 3.

CONCLUSION
6/10

So, this doesn't sound too good, does it? Not great image quality, not great sound quality, and below average subs....but a great film....
For the cost of the disc (about £4) and the quality of the film, even with the aforementioned shortcomings this is still a highly recommended purchase.

MOVIE 8/10
PICTURE
6/10
SOUND
7/10
SUBTITLES
4/10
EXTRAS
4/10
MENUS
5/10
PACKAGING
5/10
OVERALL 6/10