Armour of God (Longxiong Hudi): Special Collectors Edition (1987)

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Released 22-Feb-2005

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Action Main Menu Audio & Animation
Gallery-Photo
Biographies-Cast-Jackie Chan - Animated Biography Showcase
Interviews-Cast-Jackie Chan
Featurette-Interview With Willie Chan
Theatrical Trailer-2
Notes-Further Attractions
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 1987
Running Time 93:43
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (68:17) Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Jackie Chan
Studio
Distributor
Fortune Star
Universal Pictures Home Video
Starring Jackie Chan
Alan Tam
Rosamund Kwan
Lola Forner
Bozidar Smiljanic
Ken Boyle
John Ladalski
Robert O'Brien
Boris Gregoric
Alicia Shonte
Vivian Wycliffe
Stephanie Evans
Linda Denley
Case ?
RPI $29.95 Music Michael Wandmacher
Lloyd Chao
Jean-Louis Monthieux


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Auto Pan & Scan Encoded English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
Cantonese Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits Yes, outtakes during end credits

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    Jackie Chan plays a character variously called "Asian Hawk", Chen, Kuang Chen or Jackie in this very silly and disappointing film. The story has him helping a friend ransom his girlfriend back from a Satanist cult with several pieces of the Armour of God, which the cult wants to destroy as they believe that doing so will destroy the power of God on Earth.

    As with most of Jackie Chan's movies, the plot is only a device for linking stunts that he has dreamed up beforehand. Inspiration seems to have failed his writers this time. Saddled with way too much dialogue and comedy relief, the film is a considerable disappointment. Even the stunts seem lacklustre. Some decidedly non-PC shenanigans with some natives at the beginning nearly cost Chan his life when a fall through a tree ended up with him landing head-first on a rock, causing what appears to have been an eggshell fracture of the skull. Immediate surgery was required. Chan's hair is suddenly much longer in the next sequence.

    The friend is played by pop-star Alan Tam, who gets to sing a couple of songs (at least, I assume that it is him singing). His girlfriend, also the ex-girlfriend of the Asian Hawk, is Rosamund Kwan Chi Lam, but she has little to do through most of the film. There are several Western performers, mostly playing bad guys, but Jackie's love interest in the film is Lola Forner who also appeared with him in Wheels On Meals.

    The highlights of the film are the fight with the four leather-clad Williams sisters (I'm just making that name up) and the earlier car chase sequence. Even so, the stunts are less impressive than in most of Chan's movies and there is too much goofy comedy. Most of the film was shot in Portugal, which gives an exotic flavour, but it is still a long way from his best. If you see just one Jackie Chan film, don't make it this one. It was still followed by a sequel several years later called Armour of God 2: Operation Condor.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    The film is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and is 16x9 enhanced. The original aspect ratio was 1.85:1.

    This is not a bad transfer in most respects. It is quite sharp and clean-looking, with plenty of detail visible. Contrast is satisfactory, but shadow detail is quite poor. Jackie's hair is just a black blob, and in dark sequences there is no fine detail.

    Colour is quite good, with some realistic greens and other bright and vivid hues on display. Flesh tones seem a little dark, though I think Alan Tam has been in the solarium a lot. Black are solid most of the time.

    Some telecine wobble is noticeable during the early part of the film, but either it went away or I got used to it. The only significant artefact introduced in the transfer is excessive noise reduction causing a slight instability of elements of the image. This is most noticeable on the lights at 53:40, which seem to shake horizontally when the rest of the image is stable.

    The print has been cleaned up of most film artefacts, though there are quite a few white flecks and occasional faint scratches.

    Optional English subtitles are provided. These are well put together, with no obvious errors of spelling or grammar. They are timed well and virtually all of the dialogue is translated, with only the song lyrics missing.

    This is an RSDL-formatted disc with the layer change placed at 68:17. It is mid-scene but only slightly disruptive.

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

Audio

    There are two audio tracks, English and Cantonese Dolby Digital 5.1. For some nonsensical reason the English dub is the default, but I listed to the Cantonese only. The English dub is apparently newly created, as the original English dub was made for the international release version of the film, which is shorter than the complete Asian version included on this disc.

    Dialogue is clear throughout. The acoustics do not always match the visual settings, and the audio is a little flat and lifeless. While this is a 5.1 track, the only low frequency effects occur during the closing action sequence, with explosions bringing the subwoofer to life. Otherwise, the dialogue comes from the centre channel and effects from the mains, with some of the effects also coming from the rear channels at a lower volume level. I imagine the original audio was monaural, but even so some of the effects sound quite good - the striking of wooden instruments for example.

    Audio sync is quite bad. As usual, the film was shot silent and the entire soundtrack was recorded by voice actors in a studio later. All of the European actors now speak fluent Cantonese, totally out of sync with their lip movements. Even the Chinese-speaking actors are badly out of sync at times.

    The music score is not very good, sounding like it has been lifted from a 1970s American cop show. There are several forgettable pop songs, some in English and some in Cantonese.

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

Extras

    Perhaps in keeping with the quality of the film, a slightly less comprehensive extras package than other releases in this series.

Main Menu Audio and Animation

    Some generic electronic music plays while the menu shows some scenes from the film.

Gallery-Photo

    An annoying set up for the photo gallery, with thumbnails of the 33 photos arranged in a U shape on the menu. Each photo can be viewed by highlighting it with the cursor and clicking on it, but to get to the next photo requires going back to the menu and navigating to the next photo, clicking on it and so on.

Biographies-Cast-Jackie Chan - Animated Biography Showcase (35:29)

    A scrolling text biography of the star simultaneously read aloud by an American-accented voice artist. This seems to be the same as the material as on the Police Story disc, with some variations at the end. Instead of the excerpts from his films shown on that disc, this just has still photographs in the background.

Interviews-Cast-Jackie Chan (4:05)

    A brief interview with the star concentrating on the stunt work, in particular the fight with the four Amazonian women.

Featurette-Interview With Willie Chan (3:40)

    Jackie Chan's long-time business manager (no relation) discusses his accident and injury. His pink shirt is prone to moiré.

Theatrical Trailer-2 (5:54)

    The UK promotional trailer for the DVD plus the much longer original Hong Kong trailer.

Trailers-Further Attractions-Big Boss, Fist of Fury, Game of Death, Iron Monkey, Once Upon a Time in China (8:21)

    Trailers and DVD notes for other releases from Hong Kong Legends.

R4 vs R1

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

    This release appears to be identical to the UK Region 2, except for the additional trailers that Region 4 gets.

    There is a Hong Kong release coded for All Regions from Deltamac which does not have 16x9 enhancement and has only stereo sound.

    Another All Regions Hong Kong release from Mega Star is not 16x9 enhanced and has a Mandarin surround track instead of the English dub. The only extras are trailers.

    The US Region 1 release apparently has a decent video transfer even though it is not 16x9 enhanced. However, the only audio on this disc is the English dub. And the film is the cut international version, with two sequences missing from the Asian version. Confusingly, this release is called Operation Condor 2: The Armour of the Gods, quite similar to the name of the sequel.

    A Region 2 Spanish release of the cut international version has a transfer that is not 16x9 enhanced and is in 1.66:1. It has mono audio in Cantonese and Spanish and does not have English subtitles.

    Region 2 Germany is the loser here. Not only do they get a 1.33:1 transfer, they get just a German surround soundtrack.

    It seems clear that the Hong Kong Legends release is the best one available.

Summary

    A fairly uninspired Jackie Chan vehicle.

    The video quality is very good.

    The audio quality is good.

    A not-so-impressive set of extras.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Philip Sawyer (Bio available.)
Friday, March 04, 2005
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.
AmplificationSony TA-DA9000ES
SpeakersMain: Tannoy Revolution R3; Centre: Tannoy Sensys DCC; Rear: Richter Harlequin; Subwoofer: JBL SUB175

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