Yau's much lauded production, Expect The Unexpected, was said to
be one of the best films of 98, and a sign of the changing times
of Hong Kong Cinema.
Anticipating a film which would further confirm my belief that the
H.K. film industry is on its way up, I ordered Universe's DVD release.
Expect The Unexpected follows a group of officers from the Organised
Crime Bureau as they attempt to track-down a ruthless gang of Mainland
Having already held-up a local jewellery store, resulting in a bloody
street shoot-out, the OCB agents become increasingly worried about
the extremes the criminals will go to in order to carry out their
Running out of time, and clues, the OCB unit must find the remaining
members of the gang before its too late...
From the excellent opening scenes, which not only clearly define
the cops, but also the robbers, all the signs were good that this
would live up to its reputation.
The talented pool of actors, some established, others fairly new,
create the thoroughly believable world which they inhabit, and as
each plot device successfully unfolded I found myself drawn deeper
into their lives.
Unfortunately, my praise ends here...
Having expertly created a feeling of tension, and concern for his
characters, Patrick Yau ruins the film within the last 10 minutes,
with an ending so unbelievable and dissatisfying, it's hard to believe
it belongs to the same film.
good transfer, guilty of only occasional softnessand smearing, is
presented on this Universe disc.
Very minor artifacting and
print marks are visible in a handful of scenes, but overall this
is an appealing transfer.
The colour definition and detail levels combine to create a solid
and crisp picture which is generally a pleasure to watch.
Dolby Surround and remixed to 5.1 Digital, the audio quality is
There are a number of scenes when the surrounds are used very effectively,
but the the dialogue can sound muffled at times.
subtitles which for the most part are free from grammatical and
syntax errors. However, the subs occasionally get a bit sloppy,
with basic errors such as "Yes, I'm." given as an answer,
instead of "Yes, I am."
cluttered menu greets you upon loading the disc. Although it's easily
navigated, Universe could have cleared things up by having a separate
"extra features" menu, instead of dumping all the options
on the one screen.
Thankfully, the untidy design is limited to the opening menu, with
the subsequent screens appearing much clearer, with better layouts.
number of "real" extras accompany the standard features
(chapter stops, biographies, theatrical trailer) found on the disc.
A pretty dull, silent, N.G. footage roll is probably the weakest
of the extras, with little shown that is of any interest.
However, there's an interview gallery featuring Yo Yo Mong, Johnnie
To, Ruby Wong and Raymond Wong, as well as a 5 minute feature about
the Hong Kong film premiere.
Irritatingly, these interesting extras are made redundant to non-Cantonese
speaking viewers, as Universe failed to subtitle them.
To make matters worse, the interview gallery includes the English
translation of the Chinese questions that can be asked of the actors,
leading you to believe that subtitles would be present.
Note: Thanks to the help of Luis Canau (again), a full
transcription of the "missing" subtitles are available
great transfer and a very good selection of extras are unfortunately
undermined by the most important aspect of the disc - the film.
My criticism may sound harsh, but my liking of the film, and my
subsequent dissatisfaction with the ending, leaves me hesitant to
recommend this disc.
If you particularly like one of the cast, or want to own an excellent
HK DVD, then pick it up. However, don't just expect the unexpected,
be prepared to expect the disappointment...