Joe (1973/both Cauldron
(1993/aka Police Story
III/88 Films 4K Ultra HD
Blu-ray w/Blu-ray/all MVD)
Ultra HD Picture: B+ Picture: B-/B-/B Sound: B- Extras:
B/B-/B Films: C+
for some genre films that really go out of their way to go over the
top, regardless of the results...
(1978) is an Italian crime film at the point when they were trying to
outdo each other in the violence and realism departments, also
competing with the best such films from other countries, including
classics in the genre Hollywood was making at the time. Maurzio
Merli is the homicide detective whose latest affair has him demoted,
hated by the press and hated (sounds familiar) by organized crime in
Rome that also wants him dead.
film has rawness, energy, violence, some boldness and location
shooting that helps bring it above its often familiar and somewhat
formulaic screenplay, but the genre was still red hot worldwide and
it makes the film worth a look for fans of such action. The
supporting cast is not bad either and more than a few viewers may
recognize Massimo Serato (Roeg's Don't Look Now) and Olga
Karlatos (Fulci's Zombie) in prime form here. Wish most films
in this genre today were as gritty and realistic.
(per the press release) include a Feature-Length Audio Commentary by
Mike Malloy & Mike Martinez, Maurizio Merli: A Lethal Hunter
of Subtle Variation with tough-guy film expert Mike Malloy, My
Father, the Cop: Interview with Maurizio Matteo Merli, The
Massi Touch: Interview with Danilo Massi, Stelvio Massi video
tribute by Danilo Massi, Stelvio Massi Image gallery and an Original
(1973, aka My
Name Is Shanghai Joe)
is an earlier Spaghetti Western that wants to cross the genre very
heavily with the Martial Arts films of the time and with the way it
is paced and edited, Five
Fingers Of Death
may have influenced it a bit. One of many films anxious to imitate
With No Name Trilogy'
but giving the lead an actual name, Myoshin Hayakawa is the title
character, a Chinese drifter coming to the U.S. to find a better
life. Unfortunately, he chooses Texas (Wow, how times do not always
change) and finds tons of racism with a few killers trying to hunt
him down. Klaus Kinski plays one of the killers!
just get worse for Joe at every turn until he cannot take it anymore.
Though ambitious in trying to combine the two genres, they never
totally meld like one might hope and some moments are sloppier than
others. Also, many fo the fight scenes are just not that well shot
or choreographed, but the supporting cast is not bad, including
Sabata veteran Robert Hundar and Gordon Mitchell, so that
makes this a curio worth a look, especially for fans of both genres.
Just don't have your expectations up too high.
include an Image Gallery, East Meets West: Italian Style
visual essay by film historian Eric Zaldivar, Samurai Spirit:
an interview with Master Katsutoshi Mikuriya, a feature length Audio
Commentary track with film historian Mike Hauss and an Original
but not least is a film I was never a big fan of, Stanley Tong's
with Jackie Chan and Michele Yeoh. A big hit with fans that did well
worldwide, I had this to say about it many years ago in tis DTS DVD
two things that have led me to liking the film just a little more is
how Yeoh's performance comes across better than before and how much
better this looks than I expected. More on the technical pluses
here, but this is now just about the definitive version of the film.
(per the press release) are impressive and include:
X Replica Lobby Cards
Poster featuring original Hong Kong Artwork
Edition Rigid Slipcase
high quality book featuring new writing on the film
and exclusive extras including new interviews with Director Stanley
Tong, actor Noel Rands, Philip Chan & Assistant Director Johnny
new and exclusive audio commentaries
for playback performance. The 2160p HEVC/H.265,
2.35 X 1, Dolby Vision/HDR (10; Ultra HD Premium)-enhanced Ultra High
Definition image on Supercop
was shot on 35mm color negative photochemical film with Technovision
anamorphic lenses and that comes across much better there than I
expected, though the Apocalypse
release easily remains the best example of Technovision out there.
This comes close with great color, detail and depth and though some
might find it a tad brighter than it should be, this looks accurate
to me and far eclipses the older DVD transfer from years ago. The
1080p 2.35 X 1 digital High Definition image on the regular Blu-ray
version also included also tops that DVD, but not nearly as well.
This is also the best looking film with Chan on the market right now.
Originally a theatrical monophonic film (some studios and
filmmakers, esp. in other countries, were not happy with Dolby Stereo
for whatever reasons) has been upgraded to lossless Dolby
Atmos 11.1 (Dolby TrueHD 7.1 mixdown for older systems) and various
DTS-HD MA mixes (the Cantonese tracks are best, English dubs lame)
yet are not as effective or work as well as I had hoped. I recall
the regular, older DTS on the DVD version sounding better, if not
like IMAX. Even if that older upgrade had aged a little since then,
I still remember it sounding a bit better and more naturalistic than
DTS sounded a little bit stereophonic, while all these mixes sound
like they are bouncing around mono sound too much and the mono sounds
oddly boxy and over-processed. Odd, but that is my one complaint if
1080p 1.85 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer on Convoy
can show the age of the materials used, but this 2K transfer is not
bad, even when the color can be a little off.
same can be said for the 1080p 2.35 X 1 digital High Definition image
transfer on Shanghai,
which was shot in the smaller-but-effective Techniscope format, then
originally processed and issued in 35mm dye-transfer,
three-strip Technicolor prints, et al. Unfortunately, this does not
look like Technicolor at all, but a more standard color (Eastman
Kodak, Agfa, Gevaert, Fuji, 3M Ferrania, GAF/Ansco?) that has more
fading issued than one would have liked. Sadly, this is the still
the state of way too many smaller, lesser know and even orphan films,
but companies like Cauldron, Severin and others are still getting
these films out there after much hard work so they are not totally
lost. Scope compositions are worthy of Leone (no matter what
imitation is going on) and apparently, all U.S. prints were not
dye-transfer, especially as the film arrived in 1976 when Technicolor
was no longer making such prints for the U.S. market.
DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 2.0 Mono lossless mixes. Italian and
separate English dubs on both (each a theatrical monophonic release)
have much post-production dialogue dubbing, so sonic expectations for
both films were only so high to begin with. Much work has been done
here too to save the sound and these are likely just about as good as
either film will ever sound, save if a more well-preserved soundtrack
is miraculously discovered in either case.