Full Contact
MEI-AH
 
Starring:
Directed By:
Ringo Lam
Year:
1992
Run Time:
98mins
Producer: Mei Ah
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Languages:
Cantonese 5.1, Mandarin 5.1, CANTONESE MONO, Mandarin Mono
Subtitles:
Removable Chinese (S+T), English, Korean, Japanese, Indonesian, Malaysian, Thai, Vietnamese
W/S Subtitles:
No
Ratio:
1.85:1 Non Anamorphic
Region:
NTSC 0
Genre:
Heroic Bloodshed - II
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MOVIE
10/10

After so many "Killer With A Conscience" roles, Chow Yun-Fat's decision to take the part of Jeff, a somewhat amoral, and remorseless, gang leader, shocked many viewers upon Full Contacts release in 1992.

In this hugely entertaining movie, Chow looks considerably leaner and meaner than in any of his previous roles, having been specifically asked, by Ringo Lam, to spend some time in the gym prior to filming.

Jeff's initial concerns over his decision to team up with Judge, an effeminate psychopath with a penchant for garish handkerchiefs, soon prove to be well-founded as Jeff is betrayed during a raid on an arms convoy.
To make matters worse, Sam, Jeff's best friend, is appointed executioner, and with no means of escape, Sam must decide whether his life is more important than that of his friend...

I won't spoil any of the resulting surprises for first-time viewers - suffice to say that Chow provides yet another of his trademark charismatic performances, alongside an excellent cast, in this unashamedly over-the-top, ultra-violent slice of Hong Kong Cinema.

One of the most interesting aspects of the direction, differentiating it from so many other Hong Kong actioners, is the use of Bullet-Cam technology during the gun battles.
Although this means fewer shots are fired it does allow the viewer to follow the path each bullet takes, be it ricocheting off a wall, smashing through glass or entering its intended victim.

PICTURE
7/10

As with just about every Mei-Ah disc, there's something not quite right about the picture...
After closer inspection, its evident that the slight blockiness which is present throughout is caused by very mild artifacting - resulting in the pictures "roughened" appearance.

If you already own this on VHS, you'll be very pleased with the transfer, as its colourful and detailed picture quality renders all of your other versions pretty much redundant.
However, comparing it to most of Universe's releases leaves you with the feeling that Mei Ah need to spend a bit more time and money on their mastering process...

SOUND
7/10

The brilliantly awful 5.1 re-mix, which sounds hollow and tinny, could have ruined this disc, but mercifully Mei Ah also decided to include the original Mono track.
It's actually a shame that the 5.1 remix is so poor, as with a little bit of care, the movie could have sounded so much better with some well-directed surround effects.
However, Mei Ah should be commended for their inclusion of the Mono tracks - something I'd like to see available on all Hong Kong DVD's.

SUBTITLES
8/10

Very few grammatical errors are evident in the well-translated subs., allowing you to follow the often crude, but funny, dialogue without a problem.
My only minor gripe is with the font itself - for some reason the black border that surrounds each character is thinner than usual, meaning the subs don't stand out too well in some of the brighter scenes.

PACKAGING
9/10

An excellent design, featuring clear pictures and an uncluttered layout, make this one of the best looking sleeve designs I've seen, although the rather basic plot synopsis detracts from it ever so slightly.
Another nice inclusion is the disc design, as its full colours picture of Chow on his Harley makes for something more eye-catching than the usual "silvery picture with black text" style so often used.

EXTRAS
3/10

Very standard extras include the rather worn theatrical trailer, 9 Chapter stops, a plot synopsis and trailers for Swordsman 2 and Treasure Hunt.

Note:
One thing I can't stand about this, and many other Mei Ah discs, is the fact that it's not been time, or chapter, encoded. This leaves you blindly flicking through the film, not knowing which chapter you're on, or how far into the movie you are - making locating your favourite scenes nigh-on impossible.

CONCLUSION
7/10

Great gunplay, a funky soundtrack, and some excellent performances, create a film which you'll either love or hate.
For some people, the thought of Chow Yun-Fat playing a character so far removed from his usual roles, and lacking so few redeeming features, is enough to turn them off this extremely violent film altogether.
However, if the idea of Mr. Chow wielding a balisong knife, driving a Harley, and just looking pretty damn cool, gets your blood pumping, then I'd recommend you pick up this well-above average Mei Ah release without delay.

MOVIE 10/10
PICTURE
7/10
SOUND
7/10
SUBTITLES
8/10
EXTRAS
3/10
MENUS
7/10
PACKAGING
9/10
OVERALL
7/10