City Hunter
HONG KONG LEGENDS
 
Starring:
Directed By:
Wong Jing
Year:
1993
Run Time:
95 mins
Producer: Hong Kong Legends
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Languages:
CANTONESE 5.1, English 5.1
Subtitles:
English, Dutch
W/S Subtitles:
Yes
Ratio:
1.85:1 Anamorphic
Region:
PAL 2
Genre:
Manga-In-Motion / Comedy - 12 (UK)
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MOVIE
8/10

Based on the Japanese Manga 'City Hunter', Jackie Chan stars as the titular hero in this light-hearted remake of the more adult orientated comic.

After being hired to track down a wealthy Japanese businessman's daughter (Kumiko Goto), Jackie finds himself aboard the Fuji Maru - a luxury liner.
Also on board are Jackie's would-be girlfriend (Joey Wong), an undercover cop (Chingamy Yau), and MacDonald (Richard Norton), an ex-commando with plans to rob the passenger's.

This being a Wong Jing directed film, there's little time spent on characterisation or subtle plot development, and for a film based on a comic, that can either be good or bad...
Thankfully, Jing manages to capture the feel of the comic perfectly, with bold sets and even bolder characters.
Whilst some jokes are left dead in the water, the majority of the film's gags work perfectly, resulting in a film which is both fun and consistently funny. It also features a plethora of gorgeous woman, some inspired fight sequences, and the greatest re-creation of the Street Fighter franchise ever.

PICTURE
9/10

Getting the worst out of the way first - mild artifacting and print grain is noticeable occasionally...and that's it!
Quite simply, the picture is superb, and, with a film containing an abundance of vibrantly lit sets and strong colour schemes, is made for DVD.
Colour reproduction is excellent throughout, with only a tiny amount of minor colour bleed. This is allied with a crisp, highly detailed image, and I can't imagine the film having looked better.
HKL also must have spent some time cleaning up the print, as you're presented with an almost completely unmarked image throughout.

SOUND
6/10

I was disappointed with the Cantonese track, with its purported 5.1 remix. Not only is the surround usage barely noticeable, the soundtrack often sounds slightly distorted, bringing an evident reverb effect to quite a few scenes. This distortion wasn't present on the VHS copy I own, and can only be put down to poor mixing.
Dialogue is perfectly clear throughout, although it sounds slightly restrained.
As with every other HKL disc, the new English dub is dreadful, and irritatingly it's the default track - please rectify this in the future HKL!

SUBTITLES
8/10

Very well translated and free from spelling mistakes, the subtitles are generally of a high standard. However, the more explicit dialogue used during the (supposedly) gay villain's attempt to board the liner have been reworked. I expect this was done in order for the film to obtain a 12 certificate, but is none the less a disappointing decision.
Also the "Gala Gala Happy" song/rap and the City Hunter theme are left unsubbed, which I was also disappointed about.

One other aspect which I hope will be rectified in future releases is the subtitle's border. It's just a bit too thin to make for completely comfortable reading against very bright backgrounds.

MENUS
10/10

Cleverly, the opening animation for the main menu resembles a Bond, with a silhouetted woman dancing over the the film's title. Once this short animation finishes, the resulting menu is very appealing, with a selection of scenes running at the top of the screen.
From there, the options are easily selected, and all the subsequent menus are consistent in their quality and clarity.

EXTRAS
9/10

Interview Showcase: Jackie Chan interview (3.5 mins), Richard Norton (15 mins), and Gary Daniels (30 mins).

The pick of the interviews is most definitely Daniels. Not only does he come across as one incredibly pleasant guy, but he's also as an eloquent and thoroughly interesting interviewee.
Covering his early career, and then moving on to his experiences on City Hunter, Gary reveals some real gems of information, and many of his personal feelings about the film.

Interspersed are clips of camcorder footage taken on set, with some eye-opening moments - not least when Daniels actually connects with Jackie's head during the filming of one of their fight sequences.
Although at first I was rather uninterested in his background etc., I soon changed my mind, and was desparate for this 30 minute interview to last longer.

Out-Takes Montage: Mainly consisting of the out-takes from the end of the film (minus the credits), further camcorder footage is also included.

Trailers: The theatrical trailer (with optional subs - yay!) and the rather unimpressive HKL trailer - which presents the film in a style completely removed from its true origins.

Further Attractions: Trailers and information for many other HKL titles.

Biography Showcase: The recurrent 10 part Jackie Chan biography is joined by a 7 minute spoken bio. for Joey Wong.
Again, the Troy McClure sound-alike is just too irritating to listen to, and fast forwarding at 2x speed is just too fast. This means fast-forwarding, pausing, playing, then fast-forwarding over and over, which quickly becomes a waste of time.
In their future releases, I'd like to see text only biographies - then I'd actually be able to read them!

Commentary: Another excellent commentary by Bey Logan rounds off the extremely impressive collection of extras.
Although I felt the commentary would have benefited from another actor or crew member's input alongside Bey's, the information and depth of knowledge Bey exhibits throughout is quite extraordinary.

CONCLUSION
9/10

This is unlikely to ever make your "Top five Jackie Chan films" list, but it's entertaining enough to well deserve a place in your collection.
Unfortunately, HKL have done themselves no favours by producing this awful disc...nah, only joking!
Without a doubt, you'll never see City Hunter look better, and with the superb collection of carefully planned extras, this really is worthy of its "Special Collector's Edition" title - buy it!

MOVIE
8/10
PICTURE
9/10
SOUND
6/10
SUBTITLES
8/10
EXTRAS
10/10
MENUS
9/10
PACKAGING
9/10
OVERALL
9/10