Sammo Hung classic makes its way to DVD, courtesy of Media Asia,
and, being the massive Sammo fan that I am, I couldn't resist picking
it up for a test-drive.
Working as a servant for Master Tam, Courageous Cheung (Sammo Hung)
has a habit of getting himself into situations he shouldn't - Cheung,
unfortunately, can't resist a challenge to his self-proclaimed fearlessness,
and soon regrets his posturing as "the bravest man in town". Unbeknownst
to him, Master Tam is having an affair with Cheung's other half,
and after a few failed attempts to scare him to death, using black
magic, Tam frames Cheung with his wife's murder.
Along with 'Mr.Vampire' this is one of the best examples of the
Kung-Fu Horror genre ever made, containing a perfect blend of beautifully
choreographed action, supernatural horror, finely played comedy,
and an engrossing plot.
READ THE DVD COMPARISON HERE
in mind that this was made in 1980, the transfer is of a very high
standard. The clarity and colour reproduction put the VHS version
to shame, and although there are frequent scratches on the print,
they never become too distracting.
Mild artifacts are fairly
noticable in the night-time scenes, and blacks appear as dark greys
However, taking all of these elements into account, I was very happy
with the presentation of one of my all time favourite films.
Media Asia have re-mixed the original mono tracks to Dolby 5.1,
but, to be honest, you'd be hard pushed to identify many split-surround,
or rear-speaker, effects. Having said that, the sound is clear and
solid and does the job perfectly well.
these contain the odd grammar and syntax error, they appear clear
and very readable throughout. However, I did notice in a few instances
that the subs were slightly "dumbed-down", simplifying some of the
dialogue. This occurred only on a few occasions, and whilst you
probably wouldn't notice unless you spoke Cantonese, I did cite
it as a (very) minor negative point.
stunning, the extras consist of a very worn theatrical trailer and
bonus trailers for Eastern Condors,
The Prodigal Son, 'Zu:
Warriors From The Magic Mountain' and 'Lucky Stars Go Places',
plus the generic Media Asia DVD booklet.
The most disappointing aspect of the extras, and the biggest letdown
of the DVD, are the Biographies/Filmographies. For a film containing
so many recognizable Hong Kong actors, such as Sammo Hung, Lam Ching-Ying,
Chong Fat etc., Media Asia should have offered more than their paltry
biography of Sammo Hung.
In my opinion, biographies are one of the best ways to expand your
knowledge of Hong Kong cinema, allowing you to familiarize yourself
with new names, faces and films. You may feel that this is nit picking,
but I find it frustrating when legends such as Lam Ching-Ying, who
died of cancer not long ago, aren't given the respect they so richly
now seen this movie in many different guises, I can honestly say
that this is the best it's ever looked, and although Media Asia's
restoration process (or lack of it) leaves a lot to be desired,
they should be congratulated on a first-class transfer free from
artfiacts, and most of the other pitfalls of the format.
Whether you already own another incarnation of this wonderful film,
are reading about it for the first time, or are new to HK Cinema
in general, I would recommend you to snap this up straight away
- in life, there are some Spooky Encounters you just shouldn't miss...