as part of a security team aboard the 'Blue Whale' liner, Alan's
life (Kenny Ho) is no pleasure cruise.
As the New Year approaches, and memories of his dead wife replay
through his mind, Alan uncovers a plot to steal the ship's valuable
Headed by Ngai Sing, the terrorists,
posing as crew, hijack the ship and attempt to steal the Uranium
stored in its safe.
Only one man is willing and capable of stopping the group, and so
Alan moves to save the day.
If this (admittedly tongue-in-cheek) plot-synopsis sounds vaguely
familiar, then that may be because it's rather similar to a film
starring a certain Steven Seagal.
But don't worry, this film has little in common with the groundbreaking
masterpiece (!?) that is 'Under Siege'. No, this film is full of
C-grade actors, dull fight action and unfunny comedy....wait, that's
EXACTLY like Under Siege!!
Unfortunately, HKL have decided to lavish their attention on a film
that's dead in the water after the first couple of minutes.
Ho's attempts to pass himself off as a hard-as-nails fighting
machine falls flat, as does Yuen Woo-Ping's
attempt to make him into a Donnie Yen-style
action star. Love him or loathe him, there is no denying that Yen
can fight. His physical grace and dexterity have elevated many of
Woo-Ping's films, but Kenny Ho's obvious lack of talent is plain
Choreography-wise, the film is also underwhelming. Utilising the
same over-cranked action which made certain scenes of Iron Monkey
look ridiculous, Yuen Woo-Ping adds
little imagination to the fight scenes - in either their direction
One scene in particular which exemplifies this, is the one in which
Kenny Ho takes on a Western terrorist.
It's choreographed, shot, edited and even scored almost identically
to the action in Woo-Ping's earlier and far superior, 'Tiger Cage'.
Apart from the reasonably choreographed final sequence, the rest
of the film lacks the imagination shown in his earlier, and later,
Added to this are some quite dreadful 'actors', and a dull script,
and you're left wondering how this film sneaked into Hong Kong Legend's
Wooden performances by everyone and repetitive action scenes leave
me with little positive to say.
To be fair, Elaine Lui portrays her
character with some gusto, Christy Chung
does her best with a thankless role, and both woman are undeniably
extremely easy on the eye.
But any film which has you rooting for the bad guys, yawning through
the fights, and hoping that the annoying little girl DOES explode
in the finale is not worth wasting your time on.
expected, Hong Kong Legends have done their usual exemplary job
of removing all signs of wear and sparkles from the print. Sadly,
a large amount of grain can be seen for long periods of the film,
which play havoc with the transfer's encoding.
The scenes in which Alan is trapped in the freezer and sets light
to his jacket, is particularly jarring as artifacts dance merrily
across the screen.
The print also suffers from the inconsistencies which dog many older
Hong Kong films. This results in scenes alternating between crisp
and highly detailed, to soft and dated.
Detail is pleasingly high throughout, and blacks stay deep for the
most part, but the transfer's colour can occasionally look drab.
This is particularly evident when you see the ship's buffet table
covered in anaemic-looking food.
The transfer never remains one thing or the other - it's either
extremely good, or extremely average, and certainly won't be a disc
you'll use to impress your friends.
HKL's 5.1 soundtrack is accomplished, with a fairly restrained remix
allowing for some minimalistic surround effects, the actual film's
sound is poor.
Aside from Kenny HO's (or the actor dubbing
him) having a horribly nasal accent, a number of scenes also feature
some plain weird sound effects which seem totally out of place.
Chinese dialogue is clear, but at times the English dialogue is
indistinct to the point that I had difficulty understanding what
had been said.
the odd complete mis-translation pops up, the subs are otherwise
very good. Grammar and spelling, as you'd expect, are perfect, and
the subs remain clear and readable throughout.
feature very impressive menu screens.
Fully animated and scored, the menus are a pleasure to navigate,
although they bear a sneaky resemblance to the ones found on their
City Hunter DVD.
Joined by Christy Chung, this is
possibly Bey Logan's most enjoyable commentary to date. Christy's
bubbly personality and sense of humour mix perfectly with Bey's,
to create an often laugh-out-loud experience.
Probably realising the film is awful, the pair quickly shift their
attentions to discussing a plethora of subjects, from their views
on which action director is the best cook, to the removal of the
Twin-Towers in soon-to-be released films.
In fact, I enjoyed this so much that after suffering through the
film, I listened to the commentary in one sitting.
Ninja In The Dragons Den
Police Story 2
Upon A Time In China 3
Hong Kong: 1941
Game Of Death
The following are the extras found on disc two. They're split up
into different areas in much the same way as TFI's In
The Mood For Love DVD:
On Delivery (18 mins)
This specially commissioned interview with Christy
Chung is a diverting feature, as she talks animatedly about
her work in the Hong Kong film industry. Whilst many areas are covered,
the interview remains nicely focused on her role in Red Wolf.
The Bare Facts
Christy Chung's extensive and fascinating
biography is made even more appealing by the fact that it is entirely
text-based and self-navigated. Although not providing a filmography
as such, the material discusses her movie career to date.
Lights, Camera, Action
Elaine Lui talks of her feelings about
'Red Wolf', her character, and fight choreography, in this interesting
16 minute feature.
Martial Law Uncovered (15 mins)
This interview with Elaine Lui centres
a great deal on her experiences on the set of Martial Law. Bolstered
by numerous behind-the-scenes segments from the TV series, Elaine's
interview is both illuminating and good humoured.
Angel On Fire
A huge collection of photos featuring the beautiful Elaine
Lui looking even more gorgeous than ever. This is certainly
a welcome departure from the usual stills selection found on previous
HKL discs, as the photos are more along the lines of promotional
and glamour (no, not THAT sort of glamour!) shots.
Red Wolf Revisited (19 mins)
Having played one of the Western terrorists onboard the liner, Bobby
Samuels recounts many stories of his time on Red Wolf. An eloquent
and laid-back interviewee, Samuels's interview makes for another
In a nice spin on their usual biographies, Hong Kong Legends invite
Bobby Samuels to verbally retread the path that took him from the
US, to Hong Kong, and back again.
Some incredible tales are retold, including his near-death experience
at the hands of a Chinese culinary speciality - Scorpion - and also
his relationship with Sammo Hung.
A superb addition to this already impressive canon of extras.
A small selection of on-set photos from Red-Wolf.
Steve Brettingham - When Opportunity Knocks (16 mins)
Playing (rather campily) the ship's captain, Steve Brettingham becomes
the focus of this interview, as he speaks of his time working in
Hong Kong, as well as his experiences on Red Wolf.
Coming across like a genuinely nice guy, Steve makes some interesting
observations regarding the people he's worked with.
W hilst this is a neat little extra, it would have benefited from
a longer running time.
Ngai Sing Stunt Workshop
Filmed inside a mirrored exercise room, using a camcorder, this
stunt workshop is an entertaining addition.
Ngai Sing takes a group of young, and
in my opinion rather untalented, trainee stuntmen through a number
of different exercises. These range from somersault training, to
a mini fight sequence.
Although the 37 minute running time initially drags, time flies
by as you get sucked into the feature.
Heromakers: Hong Kong Stuntmen In Their Own Words
In what must rank as one of the greatest extras produced for a Hong
Kong DVD, this 1 hour and 10 minute glimpse into the lives of Hong
Kong Stuntmen makes for stunning viewing.
Jude Poyer, Chin Kar-Lok, and Ridley Tsui are just a few of the
many artists interviewed. Among the subjects covered are stunts
that went wrong, views on Hong Kong film making, and the role of
the Hong Kong Stuntmen Association.
This is quite simply the highlight of the disc, as unseen footage
is interspersed with the incredible accounts of the often unsung
heroes of Hong Kong cinema.
Woo-Ping - Genius On the Move (10 mins)
ARRGGHH!! A non-text, 'voice-over man' biography = sound muted after
A word of warning to any new fans - don't watch this unless you've
seen just about every Yuen Woo-Ping
directed, HKL release. Large amounts of action is shown from those
DVDs, and will spoil the experience for first-time viewers.
Red Wolf UK Promo Trailer
In The Line Of Duty UK Promo Trailer
Red Wolf Original Theatrical Trailer
designed outer sleeve is accompanied by an equally pleasing DVD
One thing which did grate with me was the intimation on the back
cover that the film features Battling
Babes action. Apart from a brief and ridiculous bout between
Christy Chung and Elaine
Lui, the film is tightly focused on Kenny
you can tell, the second disc of this Platinum Edition is brimming
with superb extras which save this release from being a complete
waste of space.
However, my job is first and foremost to review the film, and because
of that I cannot recommend this DVD at all.
Perhaps if a rental is available it would be worth a few quid for
the extras disc, but as it stands this Red Wolf needs to be cast
out to sea...