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