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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

(aka "The Killer" or "Die xue shuang xiong")
by John Woo
Hong Kong 1989

Hong Kong's preeminent director, John Woo, transforms genres from both the East and the West to create this explosive and masterful action film. Featuring Hong Kong's greatest star, Chow Yun-fat, as a killer with a conscience, the film is an exquisite dissection of morals in a corrupt society, highlighted with slow-motion sequences of brilliantly choreographed gun battles on the streets of Hong Kong.

***

"An absolute cinematic masterpiece which believe me, is not for everyone. It features probably the most insanely orchestrated shootouts and gun battles ever put to film. Forget ANNA AND THE KING, this is Chow Yun-Fat in all his ass kicking glory. Wielding handguns, machine guns, and shotguns, he becomes the ultimate personification of cool. Amidst all the bloodshed, we see Yun-Fat as the honorable killer who has his own code of values. Many people will dismiss this film as mindless violence but that’s a complete injustice. Despite the movie’s heavy reliance on gun battles, look carefully and you’ll discover a deeper tale of friendship and betrayal. Most shoot ‘em up movies fail to exhibit such an intriguing blend of story and action but this one goes the distance. A lot of credit should go to director Woo for orchestrating all the choreographed mayhem. Look specifically for the exchange in the church which amidst all the ensuing chaos, becomes a virtual ballet of bullets. Granted the audio dubbing isn’t the greatest, but the movie’s strength is its plot and onscreen action. If you’re bored with the conventional Hollywood action vehicles, check out this classic movie, you will not be disappointed."

Excerpt of a review by Dr. Drew at DVD Clinic, HERE

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COMPARISON:

TF1 Vidéo (2 disc Edition Collector Limitée) - Region 2 - PAL vs. Hong Kong Legends (UK) Region 2/4 vs. Criterion Region 0 vs. Fox/Lorber - Winstar Region 0 vs. Weinstein (Dragon Dynasty) - Region FREE - Blu-ray

Thanks to Ole for the HK Legends Screen Captures and Vincent BOUCHÉ for the TF1 DVD screen caps

1) TF1 Vidéo (Edition Collector Limitée) - Region 2 - PAL LEFT

2) Hong Kong Legends (UK) Region 2/4 SECOND

3) Criterion Region 0 NTSC THIRD

4) Fox/Lorber - Winstar Region 0 NTSC - FOURTH

5) Weinstein (Dragon Dynasty) - Region FREE - Blu-ray - RIGHT

 

DVD Box Covers

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Click to order from:

 

 

 

Distribution

TF1 Vidéo
Region 2 - PAL

Hong Kong Legends
Region 2/4 PAL
Criterion Collection - Spine #8
Region 0 NTSC 
Fox/Lorber - Winstar
Region 0 NTSC
Weinstein (Dragon Dynasty) -
Region FREE -
Blu-ray
Runtime 1:46:15 (4% PAL speedup) 1:47:08 min(4% PAL speedup) 1:50:48 min 1:50:30 min 1:46:48.001
Video 1.78:1 Letterboxed WideScreen anamorphic
Average Bitrate: 6.44 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s
1.78:1 Letterboxed WideScreen anamorphic
Average Bitrate: 5.54 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s
1.85:1 Letterboxed WideScreen 
Average Bitrate: 4.65 mb/s
NTSC 704x480 29.97 f/s
1.85:1 Letterboxed WideScreen 
Average Bitrate: 6.33 mb/s
NTSC 704x480 29.97 f/s

Disc Size: 22,992,857,248 bytes

Feature Size: 17,623,154,688 bytes

Average Bitrate: 19.97 Mbps

Single-layered Blu-ray MPEG-4 AVC Video 1080i

Bitrate

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

 

TF1 Video

 

Hong Kong Legends:

 

 

Criterion:

 

 

Fox/Lorber (Winstar):

 

 

Blu-ray

 

Audio Cantonese DD2.0 (mono) and French DD2.0 (mono) Cantonese (Dolby Digital 5.1), English Dubbed 5.1 Cantonese (Dolby Digital 1.0)

Cantonese (Dolby Digital 1.0) or dubbed English mono

Dolby Digital Audio English 448 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 448 kbps / DN -4dB
Dolby Digital Audio Chinese 448 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 448 kbps / DN -4dB
Subtitles French (forced on Cantonese soundtrack) (white) English or none English or none English or none English, Spanish or none
Features Edition Details:
• Contains both the theatrical version and the longer Taiwanese cut (2:04:10)
• Documentary (32:15)
• Photo Gallery
• Filmographies
• Theatrical Trailer
• Web Link
• Bonus Trailers

Note : The Extended cut is presented on a second disc, has Cantonese DD2.0 (mono) only, removable French subtitles and burnt-in Chinese/English subtitles. This extended cut is in much poorer condition than the theatrical, from which screen captures have been made.

 

DVD Release Date: 17 October, 2001
Double Digipack

Chapters 18

Edition Details:
• Commentary with Bey Logan
• Animated menus
• HKL's own trailer (2:10)
• Original trailer (4:58)
• Interviews (all in English): Kenneth Tsang (15:07), Sally Yeh (14:56) and Peter Pau (14:06)
• 5 deleted scenes (4:31), (0:27), (0:49), (0:48) and (0:18).
• Trailers for other HKL titles - Red Wolf, Project A Part II, Story of Ricky, The Young Master and The Avenging Fist.

 

DVD Release Date: 

21 October, 2002
Keep Case
Chapters: 34

Edition Details:
• All Regions
• Color
• Commentary by director John Woo and producer Terence Chang

(same commentary as the 1992 Criterion laserdisc)
• Deleted scenes

• Theatrical Trailer

• DVD Production Credits
 

 

DVD Release Date: 

June 16, 1998
Keep Case
Chapters: 41

Edition Details:
• All Regions
• Color, Widescreen
• Commentary by John Woo
• Production notes
• Widescreen letterbox format

• Biographies

• Filmographies

• Trailers ( Hard Boiled and The Killer )

 

DVD Release Date: 

October 3, 2000
Keep Case
Chapters: 30

Edition Details:
• 5 Deleted Scenes (4:25 + :25 + :49 + :48 + :18)
• Interview with Director John Woo (23:47)
• American Cinematheque Q+A on The Killer (35:01)
• American Cinematheque Q+A on Hard Boiled (11:35)
• The Killer Locations (8:47)

• John Woo Trailer Gallery (5 trailers)

 

Blu-ray Release Date: 

March 30th, 2010
Standard
Blu-ray Case
Chapters:
17

Comments:

NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

ADDITION- Dragon Dynasty - Region FREE - Blu-ray - March 2010: Certainly a disappointment. I can only state that my single-layered pre-release copy is interlaced (1080i) and we don't need to investigate much further than that to readily dismiss the transfer. However, it's easy to see that it also has some other issues - it is hazy and appears to have moiring. It does not look, or sound - for that matter, very good at all and judging by the running times this may be from a PAL source as well as riddled with annoying artifacts.

No lossless audio option and the, ridiculous, English DUB has a 5.1 bump but the original Cantonese is in 2.0 channel. There are optional subtitles in English or Spanish and my Momitsu has identified, my early copy, as being a region FREE disc playable on Blu-ray machines worldwide.

Extras all seem re-hashed - the 5 deleted scenes were already on the UK Hong Kong Legends DVD from 2002, there is no commentary but there is an interview with director John Woo running almost 25-minutes and two American Cinematheque Q+A's (one on The Killer - the other on Hard Boiled with the director) from 2002. A short featurette on The Killer Locations and a John Woo Trailer Gallery.

Like the recent 36th Chamber of Shaolin Blu-ray from Weinstein (Dragon Dynasty) this interlaced transfer is unacceptable and while I know of no other upcoming HD edition of the title we can't endorse - even at the reasonable price. Many fans waited in abeyance for this and it is a real disappointment.  

***

ON THE DVDs: The slightly saturated Hong Kong Legends recent release with the upgraded sound is too much for the older Criterion and Fox releases... they have anamorphisized the image too, and cleaned it up. The Criterion looks artificially brightened a bit. The TF1 Video anamorphic image is sharper, better contrast and the colors are superior, but it is not cleaned up (see large capture #3) and it has no English subtitles which most will want. The audio boosted on the HK Legends is the best. The TF1 has the extended Taiwanese cut as well. As I require the Eng subs I think I'll stick with the Hong Kong Legends DVD, but if I spoke French - no contest in getting the TF1 Video release.


Recommended Reading in Chinese/Hong Kong/Taiwanese Cinema (CLICK COVERS or TITLES for more information)

Check out more in "The Library"


DVD Menus

TF1 Vidéo (Edition Collector Limitée) - Region 2 - PAL TOP LEFT vs. Hong Kong Legends (UK) Region 2/4 TOP RIGHT

Criterion Region 0 NTSC BOTTOM LEFT vs. Fox/Lorber - Winstar Region 0 NTSC - BOTTOM RIGHT

Weinstein (Dragon Dynasty) - Region FREE - Blu-ray

CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION

Weinstein (Dragon Dynasty) - Region FREE - Blu-ray

 

1) TF1 Vidéo (Edition Collector Limitée) - Region 2 - PAL TOP

2) Hong Kong Legends (UK) Region 2/4 SECOND

3) Criterion Region 0 NTSC THIRD

4) Fox/Lorber - Winstar Region 0 NTSC - FOURTH

5) Weinstein (Dragon Dynasty) - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

Title Screen Capture

 

1) TF1 Vidéo (Edition Collector Limitée) - Region 2 - PAL TOP

2) Hong Kong Legends (UK) Region 2/4 SECOND

3) Criterion Region 0 NTSC THIRD

4) Fox/Lorber - Winstar Region 0 NTSC - FOURTH

5) Weinstein (Dragon Dynasty) - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


 

1) TF1 Vidéo (Edition Collector Limitée) - Region 2 - PAL TOP

2) Hong Kong Legends (UK) Region 2/4 SECOND

3) Criterion Region 0 NTSC THIRD

4) Fox/Lorber - Winstar Region 0 NTSC - FOURTH

5) Weinstein (Dragon Dynasty) - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


 

1) TF1 Vidéo (Edition Collector Limitée) - Region 2 - PAL TOP

2) Hong Kong Legends (UK) Region 2/4 SECOND

3) Criterion Region 0 NTSC THIRD

4) Fox/Lorber - Winstar Region 0 NTSC - FOURTH

5) Weinstein (Dragon Dynasty) - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


 

1) TF1 Vidéo (Edition Collector Limitée) - Region 2 - PAL TOP

2) Hong Kong Legends (UK) Region 2/4 SECOND

3) Criterion Region 0 NTSC THIRD

4) Fox/Lorber - Winstar Region 0 NTSC - FOURTH

5) Weinstein (Dragon Dynasty) - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


 

1) TF1 Vidéo (Edition Collector Limitée) - Region 2 - PAL TOP

2) Hong Kong Legends (UK) Region 2/4 SECOND

3) Criterion Region 0 NTSC THIRD

4) Fox/Lorber - Winstar Region 0 NTSC - FOURTH

5) Weinstein (Dragon Dynasty) - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


 

1) TF1 Vidéo (Edition Collector Limitée) - Region 2 - PAL TOP

2) Hong Kong Legends (UK) Region 2/4 SECOND

3) Criterion Region 0 NTSC THIRD

4) Fox/Lorber - Winstar Region 0 NTSC - FOURTH

5) Weinstein (Dragon Dynasty) - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

More Blu-ray captures


 

 

DVD Report Card:

 

Image:

HK Legends - cleaner / TF1 - sharper/ better colors

Subtitles

Criterion

Sound:

HK Legends

Extras: TF1 Video
Menu: TF1 Video
DVD Box Covers

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Click to order from:

Distribution

TF1 Vidéo
Region 2 - PAL

Hong Kong Legends
Region 2/4 PAL
Criterion Collection - Spine #8
Region 0 NTSC 
Fox/Lorber - Winstar
Region 0 NTSC
Weinstein (Dragon Dynasty) -
Region FREE -
Blu-ray


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