|Category||Action (Martial Arts)||Theatrical Trailer(s)||None|
|Year Released||1973||Commentary Tracks||None|
|Running Time||98:23 minutes||Other Extras||None|
|Region||2, 4||Director||Robert Clouse|
Warner Home Video
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||No||MPEG||None|
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||2.35:1||Dolby Digital||5.1|
|16x9 Enhancement||Yes||Soundtrack Languages||English (Dolby Digital 5.1, 384 Kb/s)
French (Dolby Digital 1.0, 192 Kb/s)
Italian (Dolby Digital 1.0, 192 Kb/s)
|Theatrical Aspect Ratio||2.35:1||
English for the Hearing Impaired
Italian for the Hearing Impaired
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
Plot? You mean there was a plot to this? You serious? This is nothing more than a ninety minute excuse for Bruce Lee to belt the living daylights out of improbably huge numbers of opponents. Now don't get me wrong, as bad as the plot and acting are in this westernized Hong Kong film, there is no doubt that Bruce Lee was a legend in the martial arts, and this gives an indication why. Problem is it also demonstrates where a lot of those spoofs get their corny sound effects from.
I am truly sorry but there is not a single redeeming feature that I can see for this film to be taken seriously, except for Bruce Lee being in it. You really need to be a hard core martial arts aficionado to like this. Lousy acting, lousy foley work, bugger all plot, poor characters, poor direction - and Bruce Lee. Says it all really.
The transfer is presented in an aspect ratio of 2.35:1, and it is 16x9 enhanced.
Okay I accept that this is twenty six years old, and therefore cannot really be compared to more recent films, but I would have thought that it would have been a little better than this - I have certainly seen older films look a lot better. The transfer is not that sharp and lacks a little in definition; at times it seemed to be out of focus, a good example is at 2:39. Shadow detail is quite average, which is usually where an older transfer really shows its age a little.
Colours are fairly rich and a little dark, but not overly vibrant. The colours seemed to be consistently rendered and there did not seem to be any oversaturation. There was no colour bleed noted, although the red opening credits were very close.
There were hints of MPEG artefacts during some panning sequences, the most noticeable being a quite off-putting panned shot at 68:57: this is probably no more than I was expecting in such a relatively old transfer though. Video artefacts comprised some relatively minor aliasing, but there were some pretty decent film artefacts present: by far the most noticeable is a very large black mark across the middle of the transfer at 2:25, but there were many others. Overall, it is fair to say that despite the restoration, the transfer still shows its age pretty well.
There are three audio tracks on the DVD: the default English Dolby Digital 5.1, French Dolby Digital 1.0 and Italian Dolby Digital 1.0. I listened to the default English soundtrack.
Dialogue was clear and easy to understand throughout - if you really wanted to hear the dialogue.
There was some hint of audio sync problems with the transfer, but I felt that these were probably the result of bad ADR work and the unusually balanced soundtrack that I really could not come to grips with, rather than being a transfer problem.
The music score comes from Lalo Schifrin and a decidedly seventies sounding techno jazz style of thing it is too: if you are familiar with Lalo Schifrin's jazz work, you will have a fair idea of what the music score sounds like. Personally, I did not think it was too bad, but really it is wasted on this film.
The 5.1 soundtrack is unfortunately quite unnaturally balanced, such that the entire dialogue of the film sounds like crappy ADR work, with everything coming out of the centre speaker, with very minimal use of the surround channels at all. It would not be fair to say they were completely unused, but certainly the rear channels and the bass channel got very little work at all, and everything seemed to be very front and centre. Not at all what I was expecting from a 5.1 soundtrack I am afraid. Combined with the poor foley work, this really is a wasted opportunity in my view.
Overall video quality is acceptable.
Overall audio quality is barely acceptable.
Extras - well just about the entire population of Aberdeen made an appearance.
© Ian Morris
26th October 1999
|DVD||Pioneer DV-515; S-video output|
|Display||Sony Trinitron Wega 84cm|
|Audio Decoder||Built in|
|Speakers||Energy Speakers: centre EXLC; left and right EXLR; and subwoofer ES-12XL|