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PLEASE NOTE: Michael D's is currently in READ ONLY MODE. Anything submitted will simply not be written to the database.
Lots of stuff is still broken, but at least reviews can now be looked up and read.
Eastern Condors: Special Collector's Edition (1986)

Eastern Condors: Special Collector's Edition (1986)

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Released 19-Apr-2005

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Action Main Menu Introduction
Menu Animation & Audio
Biographies-Cast-Animated Biography Showcase
Theatrical Trailer
Interviews-Cast-Sammo Hung
Trailer-Hong Kong Legends Collection
Rating Rated R
Year Of Production 1986
Running Time 93:18 (Case: 83)
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (80:12) Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Sammo Hung Kam-Bo
Fortune Star
Universal Pictures Home Video
Starring Sammo Hung Kam-Bo
Biao Yuen
Joyce Godenzi
Wah Yuen
Haing S. Ngor
Angela Mao
Corey Yuen
Yuen Woo-Ping
Billy Lau
Wu Ma
Billy Chow
Yasuaki Kurata
Dick Wei
Case ?
RPI $29.95 Music None Given

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Auto Pan & Scan Encoded Cantonese Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.35:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

    A group of convicts is recruited to enter Vietnam and destroy a military arsenal left by the Americans before the locals discover it. The mission is led by a lieutenant (Lam Ching-Ying) and features a rag-tag bunch of murderers and deviants, none of whom know what the mission is about. All they do know is that they will be freed and paid US$200,000 when the mission is complete.

    The mission is called off after everyone but the lieutenant has parachuted, because the second plane carrying some real soldiers has crashed. Instead of aborting the mission, the lieutenant decides to jump and carry on with the mission. They link up with some female Cambodian guerrillas, led by Joyce Godenzi, and then go to seek out Yeung, the one Vietnamese who knows where the arsenal is hidden. However, Yeung (Haing S. Ngor), seems to have gone mad. He is also the subject of interest of local black-marketeer, Rat (Yuen Biao), who thinks he knows the whereabouts of a stash of gold. They all join forces to complete the mission, but are tracked by a Vietnamese general, played by Yuen Wah with an ill-fitting grey suit and a very weird laugh.

    Like many Hong Kong movies of the 1980s and 1990s, there are liberal borrowings from Western cinema. The plot bears some similarity to The Dirty Dozen, and there are bits from all sorts of Vietnam movies, memorably The Deer Hunter. Not taking itself terribly seriously, this film piles on the action and moves at a fast pace, making it quite entertaining.

    The convict group are played by Hong Kong notables of the time, the most notable being Sammo Hung, who also directed the film. Also in the group are Corey Yuen, Yuen Woo-Ping, Billy Lau and other familiar faces. Making a small appearance is Wu Ma as a Vietnamese officer. One of the guerrillas is Angela Mao, who made a name for herself in kung fu movies of the early 1970s, such as Enter the Dragon. The Vietnamese soldiers include among their ranks Billy Chow, Yasuaki Kurata and Dick Wei. I should also note here that Joyce Godenzi later married Sammo Hung in real life, in spite of what his character does to her in this movie.

    While this film is not the best of its type, it is highly entertaining despite a couple of slow spots and a climactic martial arts battle which is not all that well choreographed. The body count is high, there are lots of explosions and the location photography in the Philippines is excellent. Well worth seeking out, even if this release from Hong Kong Legends is a bit light on in the extras department in comparison to others from this source.

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Transfer Quality


    The film is presented in the original aspect ratio of 2.35:1 and is 16x9 enhanced.

    For a Hong Kong film from 1986, the transfer is excellent. There is a lot of detail present and the transfer is very sharp. Contrast levels are good, and the film has been transferred reasonably brightly - the location outdoors shooting helps.

    Colour is also well transferred, though there are variations in skin tones. This could in part be due to exposure to the sun during the three month long shoot, as several of the actors sport fairly dark skin during the location scenes.

    There are very few artefacts of any description. There is an occasional faint scratch to be seen, but otherwise there are no film artefacts except in some stock footage. Aliasing appears on a semi-regular basis, but many scenes have no problem at all. Some Gibb Effect can be seen, especially during those action sequences where the backdrop is the jungle. Low level noise is prevalent during the night scenes, the darkness not pitch black as it should be.

    Optional English subtitles are good-sized and easy to read. All of the dialogue seems to be subtitled, and there were no spelling idiosyncrasies that I noticed.

    The disc is RSDL-formatted with the layer change coming somewhat late in the film at 80:12. It is only slightly disruptive, though it would have been better coming at a cut.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


    The default audio track is Cantonese Dolby Digital 5.1, with an alternative English dubbed version present.

    Dialogue is clear and distinct throughout, though as it is entirely dubbed, there are some minor issues with audio sync. However, I am pleased to report that most of the time you would not know it was dubbed. The surround mix is well done, with plenty of effects coming from all directions, though the rear channels sound as though they have the same audio. There are plenty of low frequency effects, but the subwoofer does not seem overemphatic. Explosions and gunfire are well rendered.

    A review of the UK Region 2 edition, which has the same transfer, reported some audible distortion or beeping in the first 30 minutes of the film, but I did not notice this.

    The music includes a lot of Eighties-style electronics and as a result the score sounds dated, but it works well as filler for the less noisy parts of the film.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use


    Slightly less than I have come to expect from Hong Kong Legends. For once, no audio commentary.

Main Menu Introduction

    A brief introductory sequence which has some scenes from the film with the sounds of gunshots and explosions, all behind a haze of animated smoke.

Menu Animation & Audio

    The usual generic menu audio used on these discs, with an animated menu featuring scenes from the movie.


    This photo gallery seems to be comprised of publicity shots plus a couple of theatrical posters.

Biographies-Cast-Animated Biography Showcase (26:08)

    There are two biographies here, for Sammo Hung and Joyce Godenzi. Basically these are scrolling text biographies with an American voice-over reading what you can see on the screen. The one for Sammo is incomplete (continued on next release) and is annoyingly split into three parts. There is no "play all" option.

Theatrical Trailers (5:32)

    Two trailers are provided. One is the Hong Kong Legends promotional trailer, the other an original theatrical trailer. The latter is of interest as it contains several scenes which did not make it to the final cut of the film, all set in the prison in which we first see the intrepid band.

Interviews-Cast-Sammo Hung (25:24)

    There are two interview segments here, running 8:29 and 16:55 respectively. Both are in English. The first deals with Sammo's career, the second deals with this movie. In the latter he talks about the filming of the impressive stunt where he jumps from a hill top onto a moving vehicle, and severely injured himself in the process.

Trailers-Iron Monkey, Fist of Fury, Armour of God, Police Story, Once Upon a Time in China (9:14)

    The usual promotional trailers for other Hong Kong Legends releases.


    There is censorship information available for this title. Click here to read it (a new window will open). WARNING: Often these entries contain MAJOR plot spoilers.

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 release seems to be identical to the Region 4.

    A US Region 1 release from Fox has soundtracks in both DTS 5.1 and Dolby Digital 5.1 in Cantonese and English. The only extras are a few trailers. This release is 16x9 enhanced and reported to be very good. The film is uncut.

    Another US release, this time coded for All Regions from Tai Seng, is not 16x9 enhanced. This one has some trailer and what is reported to be interactive games. It has Cantonese and Mandarin Dolby Digital 5.1 tracks and is uncut.

    An All Regions disc from Hong Kong is not 16x9 enhanced, has some trailers and cast and crew biographies and Cantonese and Mandarin Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtracks. It is also uncut.

    A difficult judgment to make. The Hong Kong Legends release has the better extras, but has been censored, albeit not by much. If you only want the film, then the US Fox disc is probably the ideal version, but if you don't mind missing out on the sight of a snake's head being pulled off, then the Region 4 is well worth the money.


    An enjoyable and occasionally spectacular action flick, which unfortunately is slightly censored.

    An excellent video transfer.

    A very good audio transfer.

    A small range of extras.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Philip Sawyer (Bio available.)
Saturday, April 23, 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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