After much anticipation, Donnie Yen and Wilson Yip's latest action crime-buster FLASH POINT (aka. City With No Mercy) has finally made it on Blu-Ray! And seeing how the film has some really great, no-holds-barred chase and fight scenes, finally seeing it in HD is like enjoying a delicious burrito with EXTRA AWESOME! Granted, there aren't very many martial arts on Blu-Ray from Hong Kong just yet. And even though this title isn't the newest or even the best one out there (S.P.L. in HD will be Heaven when it finally hits), it's still definitely worthy of mentioning to your best friend.
Starring in his third collaboration with Wilson Yip, the first two being S.P.L. (aka. Kill Zone) and Dragon Tiger Gate, Donnie Yen is at it again as a hard-hitting dynamite police detective that stops at nothing to get his job done. And this time he is protecting his friend and undercover partner from getting killed while keeping tabs on a trio of Vietnamese gang brothers.
While there are some very impressive fight sequences, notably, one that completely and brutally overruns an outdoor restaurant and then one that serves as the 15+ minute grand finale, Yen and Yip's FLASH POINT is not entirely without its faults. At only 87 minutes, the film rushes through in-depth character development and subplots, placing more emphasis on the fight sequences and the preceding scenes that help build them up. Also, it goes without saying how impossible some of the fight sequences appear to be. Nevertheless, none of that seems to matter once Donnie is on a roll.
As mentioned before, finally seeing Donnie fight in HD is a real treat and the new Blu-Ray release from Deltamac (a Hong Kong-based distributor) offers some other nice features. Offering pristine picture and audio (Anamorphic Widescreen 2.35:1 (1080p) / PCM 7.1 Surround / DTS-HD Master 7.1 Surround / Dolby Digital EX Surround), this release also includes some of the nice extras featured on the 2-disc Special Edition. Star interviews, Deleted Scenes, TV Spots and a "Making-Of" Featurette, complete with English subtitles, all help in making this a pretty cool release. Although, more time could probably have been spent on the subtitles, as some of the dialogue is slightly grammatically erroneous.
An important thing worth knowing is that as a Blu-Ray disc, this release will only work on Blu-Ray Equipment, encoded for Region A. Please click below for more details about what Blu-Ray and Region encoding are:
Bottom line: If you like KICK-ASS ACTION and MARTIAL ARTS, this one would serve your collection pretty well. And seeing it in HD will only make it all the sweeter.
Blu-Ray Disc� Version
2-Disc All Region Special Edition
Try this one for a cult favorite kicker! Really, of all the crazy films that I have had the pleasure of watching, I must admit that I had never before seen anything quite like Tsutsumi Yukihiko's THE SWORD OF ALEXANDER (aka. Taitei no Ken, aka. The Emperor's Sword). Solely based on the DVD cover, one might expect an �ber cheesy, Power Rangers-on-crack, cheapo sci-fi period piece (Ed Wood's infamous body of work and those he inspired come to mind). However, while some of the above descriptors are close in defining this film, it is actually SO MUCH MORE!
Full of crazy colorful characters, a zany plot and campy-yet-impressive CG, it's no surprise that this hilarious thrill ride was made by an impressive group of performers at the top of their game - creating a purposely over-the-top production that stands strong against other films that are cheesy because they can't do any better. And while it's not the best film I've ever seen (ie. there were some details in the plot that I missed), it's still a great flick to pop on and laugh at. There's no doubt that Hiroshi Abe, who is perhaps most recognizable as the pompous Viva Friends! hypnotist and host in Gen Sekiguchi's acclaimed Survive Style 5+, was the perfect choice to play the charismatic lead; with the rest of the cast aptly played by notable icons such as Hasegawa Kyoko (Ai no Rukeichi), Kudo Kankuro (Thirteen Steps) and Kenichi Endo (Visitor Q, Azumi).
The new DVD to come from Universe Laser (a Hong Kong-based distributor) is very well-produced and even features formal English subtitles when the royal characters are speaking (For example: "Where didst thou find thy claymore*?") and less formal English for the other characters. This is a curious detail, but one that I appreciate as it shows to what lengths Universe Laser went to translate the film.
The video and audio options are impressive as well. The picture is top-notch and the viewer is given the option to watch in full screen or letterbox format with DTS 5.1 or Dolby 5.1 options in Japanese surround sound.
Unfortunately, there aren't any Special Features available on this release and it's also very important to note that this release is only available as a Region 3, so be sure to have the correct equipment before attempting to play this one.
Overall, though, GREAT MOVIE! And a GREAT BUY if you have a Region Free player and don't mind the lack of Special Features. One way or another, if you like campy sci-fi adventures with great production quality - you should check this one out!
Region 3 Version
All Region Version
*By the way . . . a claymore is a Gaelic term for "great sword".
Reviewed by Patrick Whitehorn
Copyright 2005 - 2007, Cine-East.com
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