Region 4 Winners and Losers

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Explanatory Notes
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Title Best
Twins Effect, The (Chin Gei Bin/Vampire Effect)R3

    Okay, this is where things get interesting. According to the Internet Movie Database, there are three versions of the film in existence: an 88 minute version, a 102 minute version and a 107 minute version. Assuming that the Hong Kong version of 107 minutes is the definitive version, then that would equate to a PAL running time of 102 minutes - so I am going to presume that the 102 minute and 107 minute versions are the same, accounting for the 4% PAL speedup, and there really are only two versions of the film out there. So, the Region 1 release, which clocks in at 88 minutes, is obviously a cut version - but I have no idea of what has been cut.

    Ignoring the fact that the film has been cut, the Region 1 release offers an English Dolby Digital 5.1 dubbed soundtrack for those heathens that cannot stand the original language with subtitles, but would rather watch an entire film with the audio out of sync. The Region 1 release only offers up five trailers as an extras package: The Medallion, Underworld, Returner, Tokyo Godfathers and Tsui Hark's Vampire Hunters. All in all I would say the Region 1 release is a poor substitute for the additional extras and the full uncut feature length on the Region 4 release, but for those that absolutely have to have an English dubbed soundtrack...

    Region 2 (at least the UK portion thereof) offers up what appears to be the same DVD as we have here in Region 4 - not unsurprising since the Region 4 version is dual coded for Region 2 too.

    Region 3 (Hong Kong) offers up a rather different package - and note that it is apparently a Region 0 DVD so would be right at home in your Region 4 player. First up it is a two disc set, but don't let that suggest anything as all they have done is plonk some of the basic extras package that the Region 4 DVD has onto the second disc. What this does mean is that they have been able to give the film not only a Cantonese Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack but also a Cantonese dts 5.1 soundtrack. They might have lost the Cantonese Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack of the Region 4 release, but that got replaced with a Mandarin Dolby Digital 5.1 dubbed soundtrack. With respect of the extras themselves, it has the Making Of featurette that the Region 4 has (albeit with no subtitles), along with the two theatrical trailers and one of the teaser trailers (presumably the Asian version) although again with no subtitles. The trailers for other films are of course very different: Heroic Duo, Truth Or Dare: 6th Floor Rear Flat, My Dream Girl, Just One Look, My Wife Is 18 and Women From Mars. Rounding out the package is a photo gallery and cast and crew filmographies/biographies in English and Chinese, along with a cardboard slip cover for the Amaray case itself. The feature has English subtitles (supposedly quite excellent too) along with Chinese in both traditional and simplified versions. Given that the transfer quality is supposedly very good, the presence of the dts soundtrack makes this a very powerful competitor to the Region 4 release - and that is before you know the DVD is available from CD-WOW! for HKD66 at the moment (that equates to around AUD12!). Even better, you can get it as part of a 4 disc package including The Twins Effect II for HKD190 (about AUD33). I'll give you the tip - my Region 3 version is on its way from Hong Kong right now!

    Region 2 (Japan) offers up a package somewhat similar to the Region 3 (Hong Kong) effort, dropping the Mandarin Dolby Digital 5.1 dubbed soundtrack in favour of a Japanese Dolby Digital 2.0 dubbed soundtrack. The extras comprise a Making Of featurette, cast interviews, a promo video for the main theme song (sung by the way by Twins and Jackie Chan), trailers and an interview with Twins. It naturally comes at the usual small-mortgage price point that most Japanese DVDs carry (I never will understand how anyone affords DVDs in Japan). Other than the details, I know little about the DVD, but unless you desperately need a Japanese dub I cannot imagine it offers much inducement above the Region 3 (Hong Kong) release, especially at the pricing point.