Saviour Of The Soul
UNIVERSE
 
Starring:
Directed By:
Yuen Kwai & David Lai
Year:
1991
Run Time:
98mins
Producer: Universe
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Languages:
CANTONESE 2.0, Mandarin 2.0
Subtitles:
Removable Chinese (S+T), English
W/S Subtitles:
Yes
Ratio:
1.85:1 Non Anamorphic
Region:
NTSC 0
Genre:
Manga-In-Motion - II
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MOVIE
8/10

Few films have managed to better capture the style and imagination of the Manga on which they're based, than Yuen Kwai and David Lai's 1991 collaboration.
Featuring some of the most sublime cinematography ever filmed, Saviour Of The Soul was a prime candidate for a DVD makeover.

Trying to summarise the storyline is fairly difficult, partly because it would ruin the film, but also because of its rather loose plotting.
In brief, Saviour Of The Soul revolves around a group of bounty hunters played by Andy Lau, Anita Mui and Kenny Bee, whose lives are endangered by the arrival of Silver Fox (Aaron Kwok) - an assassin hell-bent on tracking down Anita in order to avenge his teacher's death.

Whilst not completely "style-over-substance", Saviour Of The Soul's Manga roots come back to haunt it, with many of its slapstick comedy scenes disrupting the flow of the movie, and becoming tiresome on repeat viewings.
However, the more dramatic elements of the plot, namely Lau and Mui's relationship, are handled effectively, adding some much needed depth - something often absent from the genre.

Although not overflowing with action, those scenes containing it are expertly handled, mixing wire-work, swordplay and large doses of imagination.

PICTURE
9/10

As mentioned previously, this is a film which relies heavily on its brilliantly lit sets, and thankfully the transfer handles this aspect with ease.
Artifacting is virtually nil, and although the print suffers from minor sparkles and wear throughout, overall the visuals are superb.
The variety of colour used in the film is quite amazing, and this Universe remaster pays full tribute to this facet, with beautiful colour reproduction.

SOUND
7/10

The first Universe release contained a 5.1 remix of the original stereo tracks, and apparently added a great deal to the viewing experience, but for some reason those tracks have been down-mixed to Mono.
Whilst they're fairly uninvolving, the mono tracks are more than adequate, with only occasional distortion being evident.

SUBTITLES
6/10

The one area of the disc which would have benefited from more attention, were the subtitles.
Many grammatical errors are present throughout, and whilst not incomprehensible, they do become distracting at times.

MENUS
8/10

Very clear with sharp, well-composed background images, the menus are easily navigated and pleasing to the eye.

EXTRAS
3/10

8 Chapter-stops, and trailers for A Moment Of Romance 2, I Have A Date With Spring, and The Last Blood are the meagre extras provided on this disc.
Considering that the cast includes Anita Mui, Kenny Bee, Gloria Yip, Carina Lau, Yuen Kwai and David Lai, Universe's paltry Star Files for Andy Lau and Aaron Kwok are very disappointing.
Also, the theatrical trailer is sadly absent.

PACKAGING
7/10

The sleeve design features a nicely laid out selection of screenshots on both its front and back cover.
Unfortunately, it also contains a plot synopsis bordering on the comical, rife with grammar and spelling errors.

CONCLUSION
8/10

Although overly silly at times, Saviour Of The Soul is still an incredibly entertaining feature, packed with innovative ideas and set-pieces, allied with Peter Pau's world-class cinematography.
Not every element works, but those that do far outweigh those that don't, creating a visually stunning and highly original movie.
As Remasters go, this is a release truly worthy of that title, and one which should definitely take a well deserved place in your collection.

MOVIE 8/10
PICTURE
9/10
SOUND
7/10
SUBTITLES
6/10
EXTRAS
3/10
MENUS
8/10
PACKAGING
7/10
OVERALL 8/10