Purple Storm (Ziyu Fengbao) (1999)

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Released 16-Apr-2004

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Action Main Menu Audio & Animation
Featurette-Making Of
Theatrical Trailer
Trailer-Gen X Cops, First Option, Beast Cops, The Heroic Trio
Trailer-The Last Blood
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 1999
Running Time 108:21
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (91:03) Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By Teddy Chan
Studio
Distributor
Media Asia
Beyond Home Entertainment
Starring Daniel Wu
Kwok-Leung Gan
Emil Chau
Josie Ho
Joan Chen
Teresa Lee
Patrick Tam
Jianxin Huang
Michael Tong
Moses Chan
Moo Kai
Cordelia Choy
Case ?
RPI $29.95 Music Peter Kam


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 2.0 (448Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.85:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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Plot Synopsis

    This is another film produced by Jackie Chan. Some former Khmer Rouge terrorists steal a chemical weapon containing Ricin X, which they plan to release into the atmosphere to teach people a lesson. The chemical will fall to earth with the rain and infect many people, who will suffer painful death within a matter of hours. The chemical is purple in colour, and the consequent purple rain would adversely affect millions (just as that terrible Prince film did in the 1980s). Hence the title Purple Storm.

   
When police attempt to round up the terrorists, they manage to capture one named Todd who is struck on the head and rendered unconscious. When he awakes, Todd has lost his memory, not knowing who he is or why the police have him in custody. The Anti Terrorist Force psychiatrist, Shirley Kwan (Joan Chen), brainwashes him into thinking that he is an undercover policeman in order to get him to infiltrate the terrorist group. But his memory starts to come back in bits and pieces, and he has to decide whether to resume his life as a terrorist or to take the opportunity to start afresh as one of the good guys.

    Of course, this is set against a backdrop of action and violence of the type for which Hong Kong cinema is renowned. I found this a well thought out and interesting, though not very deep film, as well as a satisfying action flick. It is not the best of its type, but it is entertaining and would be well worth seeing... in the original language.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    The film is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.85:1 and is 16x9 enhanced. I believe that this is the original aspect ratio.

    The transfer is reasonably sharp, with a satisfactory level of shadow detail.

    This is a very blue film, with that colour present throughout. Despite this, the colour looks pretty good most of the time and generally realistic, so I suspect the look of the film was an artistic decision. Colours are a little oversaturated, with faces a little darker and browner than they should be.

    The transfer has a higher than usual level of grain, but I did not find it distracting. There is some mild aliasing from time to time, and some chroma noise is present, for example at 51:35. The print used was quite clean and there are no film artefacts worth mentioning.

    There are no subtitles present. This is an RSDL-formatted disc with the layer change occurring at 91:03. It occurs a fraction of a second after a cut between scenes and is mildly disruptive.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    The single audio track is Dolby Digital 2.0 and is the English dubbed version.

    The dubbing is adequate, despite the voices sometimes not matching the actors, but dialogue is generally clear and distinct. The audio is not brilliant, and the action sequences sound noisy without drawing you into the action as a surround mix would. It is disappointing that an original language soundtrack is not included. This track does not have any surround encoding present, so even in Pro Logic mode the rear channels and subwoofer are silent.

    The music score is by Peter Kam. This is a fairly generic action film score and suits this film.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

    The menu interface is annoying. On the extras menu and the chapter selection menu, the item highlighted has a flashing yellow and white border. To select it, you have to click when the item is yellow. Fairly stupid if you ask me.

Main Menu Audio & Animation

    The main menu is graphics over a scene from the film, with the audio being some music from the film.

Featurette- The Making Of Purple Storm (18:21)

    Basically this is just advertising for the film. The featurette is presented in 1.33:1 and is partly in English and partly in Cantonese which has burned-in English subtitles. This is mainly fluff and is quite dull. It concludes with the theatrical trailer, which we also get as a separate extra, but this time it has English and Chinese subtitles.

Theatrical Trailer (2:15)

Trailer-Gen X Cops, First Option, Beast Cops, The Heroic Trio, The Last Blood (10:30)

    Trailers for these Force releases in widescreen but not 16x9 enhanced. You can only choose to play all of the trailers, but you can skip to the next trailer as they have chapter markings. The theatrical trailer for Purple Storm is the last in the sequence.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    The UK Region 2 has Cantonese and English Dolby Digital 5.1 audio, with English and Dutch subtitles. It also has an audio commentary and a 15 minute interview with actress Josie Ho, plus a photo gallery. Otherwise the transfer sounds identical, so this is a clear winner over the Region 4.

    The Hong Kong Region 3 release has a Cantonese Dolby Digital 5.1 audio track with English subtitles. Otherwise, it sounds much the same as the Region 4, with the same featurette extra. This would also be preferable to the Region 4, but not the Region 2.

Summary

    Not a bad action film with some things to think about, spoiled by being dubbed.

    The video quality is acceptable.

    The audio quality is satisfactory.

    The extras are not worth bothering with.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Philip Sawyer (Bio available.)
Saturday, May 15, 2004
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-S733A, using Component output
DisplaySony 86CM Trinitron Wega KVHR36M31. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to DVD player, Dolby Digital, dts and DVD-Audio. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum.
AmplificationYamaha RX-V596 for surround channels; Yamaha AX-590 as power amp for mains
SpeakersMain: Tannoy Revolution R3; Centre: Richter Harlequin; Rear: Pioneer S-R9; Subwoofer: JBL SUB175

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