This DVD Rules! So... Why THREE Stars??
FrontPage | Baltimore, MD United States | 01/13/2006
(3 out of 5 stars)
"The box is billed as Black Belt Theatre, and Drunken Tai Chi seems like the marquis film of the two, the other being Dynamo, by Bruce Li. From the Yuen Family collection, Drunken Tai Chi is much better than Dynamo. The presentation seems somewhat cleaner, as though from a master print; But the dirt specks are all there in the first part, and highlights can be washed out. Dynamo just seems so dated and the source print the producers used was many generations away from the original film, I think.
Most companies I've seen have been taking 2 films and compressing them beyond belief onto one single- layer DVD. This DVD is on a dual layer disc, which allows for a good sized image that doesn't look digitized. The DVD has 7.46GB of content to it, so the producers used the right-sized disc. The title screen has some cool music that I can just chill to, and it's a very crisp presentation; jammin' music track, easy to navigate, Chinese characters that are flaming, and an effect like sparkling fireworks. The movie, my version at least, isn't widescreen enhanced. So the film, originally shot in true letterbox format (aka about 2.35:1), looked more like strrrretched letterbox on my widescreen porty player. Is there a Cantonese version? Mine is english dubbed, no alternate languages, and no subtitles. I'm an old school "Gung Fu" lover who enjoys the original Brit-accented English- dubbed actor (like this one *seems* to have been filmed and preserved as). What many companies are doing now is a sad American- sounding redub as a way to make the sound better.... which horribly fails when compared to the original dubbed audio!
DTC is a truly funny movie, and the use of some rather strange- looking characters can either enhance your viewing pleasure or bother you. The one guy who looks like a Monty Python- based bug-eyed Asian simply was kinda ... just a tad too weird... for me, because his face freaks me out (I fear having nightmares of that guy following me some night). The martial arts producers can really find 'em sometimes. Watch for the rather cool cutaways, scenes (like the one where the crowd slowly fades away around Killer Bird, played by Donnie) and angles that brings this film a cut above, and the types of comedy that unfolds as well. Dynamo did entertain, but not nearly as completely as DTC. The favorite DTC scenes for me are the first 10 minutes and the bridge scene, plus the hilarious sound effects!
Dynamo follows I guess a somewhat true story-line about the death of Bruce Lee and movie executives trying to sell Bruce Li as the heir apparent to the martial arts legend. I'm glad it wasn't a film of someone trying to actually pass off as Lee, but someone shown to have to fill such impossible shoes. Dynamo was filmed in some version of widescreen, yet the print used was standard NTSC format. So the cropping of images is quite evident as pan/scan artificially moves the scenes sometimes.
For this being a double feature complete with previews from a bunch of other HK martial arts films, the video quality was better that I would expect. If someone would have used a cleaner print of Dynamo, this would get 4 stars. I deduct one already for it not being a widescreen- enhanced DVD, and another point off for the comparably lousy print they used for Dynamo. But, if it were just DTC and were cleaned up a bit better, it would be a 4-star film and close to perfect if it were widescreen enhanced. The box and disc design were done quite well, much better than other DVDs that are slapped together with only the purpose to make money and no emphasis on putting out a quality product. Considering what many other companies have been doing, which is simply grabbing a VHS tape and transfer the horrible tape to DVD, this disc IS quality. Worth the purchase price.
I would be truly unfair giving the DVD as a whole 2 stars because I'd buy it again. The price is right. For 2 films being placed on a dual-layer DVD, this is one that a lover of old school kung fu would watch over and over."
An entertaining martial arts film...
Freth | Delaware, OH United States | 07/30/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Donnie is young in this one. Some of the scenes look like they had poor editing (i.e. a flick in the film here and there), but it's light-hearted martial arts fun. It's the classic revenge story with a twist. Donnie's father and brother are murdered and his home is burned down. As it turns out the assassin couldn't find Donnie to finish him off per the contract. He's taken in by a mutt-and-Jeff couple and learns Tai Chi, ultimately meeting up with the assassin and taking revenge for his family's death. Unlike the title says, this film isn't about a drunken form of Tai Chi, it's just Tai Chi. I enjoyed this film a lot but I'm docking it 1 star for using modern-looking bicycles in an older Chinese setting."