Eastern Condors
UNIVERSE
 
Starring:
Directed By:
Sammo Hung
Year:
1987
Run Time:
97mins
Producer: Universe
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Languages:
CANTONESE 5.1, Mandarin 5.1
Subtitles:
Removable Chinese (S+T), English, Japanese, Indonesian, Malaysian, Thai, Korean, Vietnamese
W/S Subtitles:
Yes
Ratio:
2.35:1 Non Anamorphic
Region:
NTSC 0
Genre:
Modern Day Action - II
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MOVIE
10/10

In my opinion, no other film has matched, or bettered, Eastern Condor's level of brutality in its fight scenes - I can't think of any other film which provokes so many "ooh - that's gotta hurt" moments in it, and makes Jackie Chan's "stunts gone wrong" out-takes look like a walk in the park.

Sammo and some of his fellow inmates are released from an American prison, on the condition that they take on a mission for the US government. This mission involves flying into Vietnam to search out a munitions dump, and destroy it, before the VC get their grubby little mits on the goodies.

What follows is a film some have described as part Deer Hunter, part Dirty Dozen. Now, I'm not saying this doesn't have a gripping plot and good characters, but this certainly isn't a deep exploration of the horrors of war.
What you DO get is a Kung-Fu War film, which, as I mentioned above, contains some of the most vicious combat scenes ever filmed...

READ THE DVD COMPARISON HERE

PICTURE
8/10

I first got this on VHS and to be honest it wasn't that hot - it lacked detail and the colours blurred horribly. Universe, however, has done a superb job cleaning this up - yes, at the beginning of the film there are quite a few speckles, but these soon clear away to leave the best representation of this film since its theatrical release. Details, which you never knew existed on the VHS version, jump out at you and this crispness adds a huge amount to the overall experience.
An unfortunate down-side to this improved clarity is the noticable artfiacting which is apparent in very dark scenes. However, this occurs extremely infrequently, and all-in-all I'm very happy with the transfer.

SOUND
7/10

Although it says Dolby 5.1 on the box, you'd be hard pressed to pick out a scene with any really aggressive use of the surrounds. However, the dialogue is clear and doesn't suffer from any distortion. The only slightly eccentric part of the sound is the Bass level. Someone at Universe must have accidentally left it on high whilst it was being remastered, because once the fights kick-in, your walls will start shaking! I found the best way to remedy this was to turn the Bass as far down as possible and, the Treble up. You shouldn't really have to do this, but it's only a minor negative point to an other wise A+ disc.

SUBTITLES
10/10

Universe does an excellent job, again. No grammatical, or syntax errors and although the theme song isn't subbed (Boo!), there's nothing else to complain about.

EXTRAS
4/10

A bit stingy - theatrical trailer, which contains scenes not in the final print, trailers for The Prodigal Son and Winners and Sinners. Bios are included for Sammo, and Yuen Biao, but why they didn't include any more is beyond me...Joyce Godenzi, Lam Ching-Ying, Yuen Wah, Dick Wei etc.

CONCLUSION
8/10

The difference in quality is astounding - the DVD is a 100% improvement over the tape - and with this release, it's now possible to own one of Hong Kong Action Cinema's greatest movies.
If you've never seen this before, you're really missing out - there's no better time to buy it.
If you already own it on VHS, this is such such a vast improvement that I'd recommend you buying it again!

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