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Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Dragon Dynasty Shanghai Express DVD Review

Video: Brian White and the team at Dragon Dynasty have delivered an excellent transfer of this Fortune Star re-mastered print. The colours are extremely strong and vibrant, and yet at the same time do not suffer from any form of over-saturation (ie no heavy pink tones, although they pop up during the interview clip montages, maybe from an earlier transfer, but not in the main picture). The detail and clarity of the print are excellent (if you want a comparison to how the film used to look check out the un-restored deleted scenes) and allow for a great ease in picking up a lot of the cameos in this film. The transfer is 2:35:1 and of course enhanced for 16X9 televisions. The picture quality makes Shanghai Express and its spaghetti-western influences a real beauty to behold.

Audio: The primary track we listened to was the Cantonese mono track (which I can confirm is just that mono, thankfully Dragon Dynasty has never suffered the problem of receiving fake mono mixes). It sounds a tiny bit harsh, but that has more to do with the recording techniques in Hong Kong at the time, more so than anything else.The classic sound effects are present and make the film all the more enjoyable. The are also English and Cantonese 5.1 mixes available and both sound fine nothing having any dropout or sound problems. There is also a audio commentary track with Bey Logan.

Extras: Brian White, Bey Logan, and the team at Dragon Dynasty have given us a bevy of extras to enjoy for their special edition of Shanghai Express. First, we have the standard (and by standard, I mean excellent) Bey Logan commentary which does an excellent job at pointing at the various cameos in the film, the different versions, and even the role of Yusaki Kurata in cherographing some of the fights. All in all a great track for a great film. There is in informative 14:46 long video interview with Sammo Hung which discusses the production of the filming. Then we get a 24 minute interview with Cynthia Rothrock talking about her introduction to the martial arts and her career, specifically Shanghai Express and also tells you why working in the United States is a lot easier than being in Hong Kong. We also get a great 20 minute interview with Yuen Biao talking about the film and the dangers of shooting some of the stunts. We then get a special treat for US fans as Dragon Dynasty gives fans an exclusive that was not even on the UK or HK discs of Shanghai Express: deleted scenes. There are four scenes of varying running time in un-remastered condition. Paragons of Virtue runs nearly 6:47 minutes long, Roof Rage runs 19 seconds, Close, but No Cigar runs 47 seconds and RestroomRretreat runs 31 seconds.

Final Thought: With a great transfer and sound setup completed with unique extras that won't appear anywhere else in the world makes Dragon Dynasty's Shanghai Express a EASY buy.

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