Cover with punks, buy; cover with models, skip
Sheri Richardson | Formerly San Jose, CA US, now in the Wilds of OR U | 03/04/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"You're seeing reviews for all releases of SUBWAY, which makes identifying which DVD to buy a bit difficult. The better DVD, with the original French Dolby 2.0 soundtrack, was released by Columbia/TriStar, has a cover showing the leads costumed as punks with Lambert bleached blond, and sports a heftier price tag. Beware the bargain-basement pricing -- the loss of quality with the cheaper disc is equivalent to the difference between Hi-Fi and LP prerecorded VHS tapes.With the higher price you get options. The Columbia/TriStar DVD is presented in the original 2.35:1 aspect ratio, anamorphically enhanced widescreen, and also offers the dubbed English soundtrack as well as subtitles in English, French, and Spanish. Trailers and scene selections fill out the features offered.The dubbed English soundtrack isn't so bad, for what it is. The translation doesn't jibe with the English subtitles ("You ruffle me"?), but Lambert, at least, dubbed himself. The dubbing for Jean Reno is a hoot and an unexpected bonus.SUBWAY garnered 13 nominations in the 1986 Cesar Awards, France's answer to the Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Director, and five acting noms. The film took home three awards, including a Best Actor nod for Christophe Lambert.SUBWAY is an early and significant entry in Luc Besson's portfolio, and that of several of its actors, most notably Jean Reno and Isabelle Adjani (who has earned 11 Best Actress awards to date). The film has one of the best openings ever -- sharp, frenetic, and a foreshadowing of RONIN's wondrous car chases. From there the story gets...strange, but that's expected of any sudden entry into a vastly differing society. Helena (Adjani), hair spiked stiff, tells off her gangster-husband and their so-polite dinner companions in one priceless scene, then flees in favor of the more companionable denizens found in the subway. SUBWAY leaves you scratching your head, wondering what's the point, where's the point, and knowing it's just there if you could only see it, lurking at the peripheral vision. Not a bad thing and, sure, not for everyone, but the trip into the Paris Metro is interesting and fun, nonetheless. Composer Eric Serra gets some screen time (Bassist), and watch for director Besson driving the train.Do be do be do."
VERY POOR QUALITY DVD, WAIT ANOTHER RELEASE
Robert Tonkin | 11/05/1999
(1 out of 5 stars)
"Unfortunately I bought it because I like Luc Besson's movies. No French soundtrack, very poor image quality, no subtitles, and full screen ... AVOID IT (I give it one star because it's the lowest rating, but it does not even worth it!)"
Subway on this DVD saddens me
Robert Tonkin | Los Angeles, CA United States | 03/14/2000
(1 out of 5 stars)
"Despite truly wanting to experience this movie again and see Besson's early work in the context of his newer films, The Professional and Fifth Element, the greedy way this DVD presents this film angers and saddens me. Only the video distributor/publisher benefits from this lazy transfer to DVD, as they lure unsuspecting film lovers into purchasing this release. Watching this film in its current condition felt as if you had opened a leather-bound copy of a classic novel and found the distilled text of a Readers' Digest version inside.The DVD arrives with only a single English audio track and no subtitles. The laughable English dub makes watching the film almost unbearable; the remixed music pales next to the original exciting soundtrack. This is a slick, entertaining film with a fabulous cast of familiar Besson regulars: Jean Reno, as an annoying drummer; Eric Serra (Besson's music composer); a very 80's styled Isabelle Adjani; and Jean-Hugues Anglade as a roller skater--a far cry from his deadpan role as Zorg in Betty Blue (37°2 le matin). Poor presentation ruins Subway. It's impossible to appreciate this work through this release. One can only hope for a more appropriate film-loving release of this important Besson film."
Completely ruined by poor transfer
billy_bollox | Pretension, Hollywood, CA | 08/01/2000
(1 out of 5 stars)
"What a waste of plastic. One of my favourite films by my favourite director completely ruined. The transfer is reminiscent of a 10 year VHS rental copy and suffers from VHS video dropouts throughout the film. It's full-frame and not widescreen. The sound is very hissy Pro-Logic, and worst of all, the most heinous crime is that he soundtrack is DUBBED into English and there's no French soundtrack available! Admittedly it is dubbed by Lambert, Adjani et al. themselves, but the fact that it's not the original language just ruins it for me. Seriously distance yourself from this version and keep your fingers crossed that eventually this film will get the careful DVD transfer it so rightly deserves."