Purple Storm (Ziyu Fengbao) (1999)
Main Menu Audio & Animation
Trailer-Gen X Cops, First Option, Beast Cops, The Heroic Trio
Trailer-The Last Blood
|Year Of Production||1999|
|RSDL / Flipper||RSDL (91:03)||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||1,2,3,4,5,6||Directed By||Teddy Chan|
Beyond Home Entertainment
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||English Dolby Digital 2.0 (448Kb/s)|
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||1.85:1|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.85:1||Miscellaneous|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
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.
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.
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.
|Surround Channel Use|
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.
The main menu is graphics over a scene from the film, with the audio being some music from the film.
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.
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.
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.
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.
|DVD||Pioneer DV-S733A, using Component output|
|Display||Sony 86CM Trinitron Wega KVHR36M31. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum. This display device is 16x9 capable.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to DVD player, Dolby Digital, dts and DVD-Audio. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum.|
|Amplification||Yamaha RX-V596 for surround channels; Yamaha AX-590 as power amp for mains|
|Speakers||Main: Tannoy Revolution R3; Centre: Richter Harlequin; Rear: Pioneer S-R9; Subwoofer: JBL SUB175|