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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

(aka "Lashou shentan" or "Hard Boiled" or "God of Guns" or  "Hot-Handed God of Cops" or "Ruthless Super-Cop")

directed by John Woo
Hong Kong 1992

Violence as poetry, rendered by a master—brilliant and passionate, John Woo’s Hard Boiled tells the story of jaded detective “Tequila” Yuen (played with controlled fury by Chow Yun-fat). Woo’s dizzying odyssey through the world of Hong Kong Triads, undercover agents, and frenzied police raids culminates unforgettably in the breathless hospital sequence. More than a cops-and-bad-guys story, Hard Boiled continually startles with its originality and dark humor.

Posters

Theatrical Release: September 12th, 1992 - Toronto Film Festival

Reviews                                                       More Reviews                                                    DVD Reviews

Comparison:

Tartan - Region 2- PAL vs. Long Shong Int. (Taiwan) - Region 0 - NTSC vs. Fox/Lorber- Region 1 vs.  Mei Ah Region 0 NTSC vs. Dragon Dynasty - Weinstein (2-disc Ultimate Edition) - Region 1 - NTSC vs. TF1 Vidéo (France)- Region 2- PAL vs. Criterion - Region 0 - NTSC vs. Roc- A- Fella - Region FREE - Blu-ray

Big thanks Henrik Sylow, Vincent Bouche and  Enrico for the screen captures

(Tartan - Region 2- PAL LEFT vs. Long Shong International - Region 0 - NTSC  2nd  Fox Lorber - Region 0 - NTSC 3rd -. Mei Ah Region 0 - NTSC - RIGHT)

DVD Box Covers

 

 

   

Distribution

Tartan Video / Asia Extreme

Region 2- PAL

Long Shong International

Region 0  - NTSC

Fox/Lorber - Winstar

Region 1  - NTSC

Mei Ah 
Region 0  - NTSC
Runtime 2:02:20 (4% PAL speedup) 2:16:12 2:07:24 2:07:24
Video

1.86:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 7.61
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

1.60:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 4.19 mb/s
NTSC 704x480 29.97 f/s

1.70:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate:6.80 mb/s
NTSC 704x480 29.97 f/s

1.77:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 7.41
NTSC 704x480 29.97 f/s

Bitrates:

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

Bitrate: Tartan + Long Shong

   

Bitrate:

Fox + Mei Ah

   

Audio Cantonese (Dolby Digital 1.0 Mono, 5.1 and DTS), English (Dolby Digital 1.0 Mono and 5.1) DUB: Mandarin (Dolby Digital 2.0) Cantonese (Dolby Digital 1.0), English (Dolby Digital 1.0)

Cantonese (Dolby Digital 5.1) + Mono + DTS, Mandarin (Dolby Digital 5.1)

Subtitles English, None English, Chinese (simplified) - simultaneously burned in English, None English, Chinese (traditional + simplified) Japanese, None.
Features

Release Information:
Studio: Tartan Video / Asia Extreme

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic  - 1.87:1

Edition Details:
Trailer (2:55)

DVD Release Date: September 27th, 2004

Transparent Keep case

Chapters 17

 

Release Information:
Studio: Long Shong International

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen letterbox - 1.60:1

Edition Details:
• None

DVD Release Date: April 2004

Keep Case

Chapters 4

Release Information:
Studio: Fox Lorber

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen letterbox - 1.70:1

Edition Details:
• Color, Widescreen
• Commentary by John Woo
• Production notes
• Theatrical trailer
• 3-D Motion Menus
• Widescreen letterbox format

DVD Release Date: October 3, 2000

Keep Case

Chapters 30

Release Information:
Studio: Mei Ah

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.77:1



Edition Details:

Database - text screens -bios etc.

 

DVD Release Date: March 19th, 2002

Cardboard Case

Chapters 12

 

(Dragon Dynasty - Region 1 - NTSC LEFT vs. TF1 Vidéo - Region 2 - PAL  SECOND vs.  Criterion - Region 1 - NTSC THIRD vs. Roc - A - Fella - Region FREE Blu-ray - RIGHT)

 

DVD Box Covers

 

Distribution

Dragon Dynasty

Region 1  - NTSC

TF1 Vidéo

Region 2- PAL

Criterion Collection Spine # 9

Region 1  - NTSC

Roc - A - Fella

Region FREE-locked - Blu-ray

Runtime 2:07:52 2:02:00 (4% PAL speedup) 2:07:20 2:08:07.721

Video

1.84:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 7.72 mb/s
NTSC 704x480 29.97 f/s

1.77:1  Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 7.37
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

1.92:1 Overmatted
Average Bitrate: 5.73 mb/s
NTSC 704x480 29.97 f/s

Disc Size: 41,229,917,488 bytes

Feature Size: 36,066,072,576 bytes

Average Bitrate: 31.00 Mbps

Dual-layered Blu-ray MPEG-4 1080P

Bitrates:

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

 

Dragon Dynasty

 

TF1 Video

 

 

Criterion

 

 

Blu-ray

 

Audio Cantonese (DTS), Cantonese (Dolby Digital 5.1), Cantonese (Mono) DUB:
English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
Cantonese (Dolby Digital 5.1 + Mono)
DUB: French (Dolby Digital 5.1 + Mono)
Cantonese (Dolby Digital 1.0), English (Dolby Digital 1.0) DTS-HD Master Audio Chinese 3659 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 3659 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit / DN -3dB)
Dolby Digital Audio English 448 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 448 kbps / DN -3dB
Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / DN -4dB
Dolby Digital Audio Chinese 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / DN -4dB
Subtitles English, English (hoh), None French (forced on Cantonese soundtracks) - NO ENGLISH SUBS ! English and none English, English (SDH), Spanish and none
Features Release Information:
Studio: Dragon Dynasty

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.85:1

* Edition Details
.

• Commentary by Bey Logan

Disc 2
• Featurette: Baptism of Fire with director John Woo (38:18)
• Partner in Crime: Interview Terence Chong (24:56)
• Art Imitates Life:  Interview with Philip Chan (15:56)
• Hard Boiled location guide (8:49)
• Mad Dog Bites Again: Interview with Kwok Choi (25:03)
• 
Trailer Gallery (Hong Kong and US Promotional)

• Video Game advert

DVD Release Date: July 24th, 2007
Keep case inside cardboard box

Chapters 16

Release Information:
Studio: TF1 Vidéo

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.77:1

* Edition Details

- "A L'Epreuve du Temps" documentary (documentary is mostly in English with French subtitles. everything else is in French, or Cantonese with French subtitles)
- Alternate Scene
- Interview with Tony Leung
- Interview with Nicolas Saada
- Photo Gallery
- Filmographies
- Theatrical Trailer
- Promotional trailers
- Web link

DVD Release Date: Nov 21st, 2002
Digipak Case

Chapters 18

Release Information:
Studio: Home Vision Entertainment

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen  - 1.92:1 (overmatted)

 

Edition Details:

• Optimal image quality: dual-layer edition 
• Audio commentary by John Woo, producer Terence Chang, filmmaker Roger Avary, and critic Dave Kehr 
• Trailers for 11 of Woo’s Hong Kong films 
• A student film by Woo 
• Optional English subtitles and dubbed track 
• Guide to Hong Kong crime films 
• Notes on Hard Boiled 

 

DVD Release Date: June 16, 1998
Keep Case

Chapters 45

Release Information:
Studio: Roc - A - Fella
 

Disc Size: 41,229,917,488 bytes

Feature Size: 36,066,072,576 bytes

Average Bitrate: 31.00 Mbps

Dual-layered Blu-ray MPEG-4 1080P

 

Edition Details

• Commentary by Bey Logan
• Featurette: Baptism of Fire with director John Woo (38:22)
• Partner in Crime: Interview Terence Chong (24:56)
• Art Imitates Life:  Interview with Philip Chan (15:18 - HD - interlaced)
• Hard Boiled location guide (8:49)
• Mad Dog Bites Again: Interview with Kwok Choi (25:03)

Blu-ray Release Date: December 14th, 2007
Standard Blu-ray case

Chapters 16

 

Comments:

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

ADDITION: Roc - A - Fella - Region FREE - Blu-ray - (December 2010) - Firstly this 'Roc - A - Fella' Blu-ray starts with both the Vivendi Entertainment and Dragon Dynasty logos. Hard Boiled continues to be a problematic title for transfer to the digital medium. This 1080P dual-layered transfer is quite inconsistent - looking nicely textured with grain in some shots and blatantly soft, waxy and DNR-ish in others. Detail is gone. There is also some notable damage in spots - mostly frame specific - but still noticeable.  Despite a high bitrate - fans will consider this a disappointment - visually-speaking. There is something odd about this image quality that I will revisit to help identify.

Audio-wise the original Cantonese track offered fares better - it's a DTS-HD Master 5.1 at 3659 kbps and there is some depth and range - sounding frequently impressive in the many aggressive scenes of the film. Unfortunately, it appears as though these are, again, English DUB-titles which hardcore fans of Hard Boiled will not appreciate. My Momitsu has identified it as being a region FREE disc playable on Blu-ray machines worldwide.

Extras duplicate the 2007 Dragon Dynasty DVD with the excellent, detailed, Bey Logan commentary (with a warning to click thru first) and close to 2 hours of video supplements but it omits the trailer Gallery and Video Game advert.

Oyyy vey... This isn't as bad as Dragon Dynasty's The Killer in HD but we can't recommend this Blu-ray - it seems the errors outweigh the other benefits of a strong audio track and extras (although repeated). It can tend to look quite poor at times and we don't encourage purchasing or upgrading for those that already own the title on DVD. We wish the news was better.

  - Gary W. Tooze

***

ADDITION: Dragon Dynasty - Region 1 - NTSC - July 07': the image of the new Dragon Dynasty can't come close to the English-unfriendly TF1 but it looks fairly unmanipulated with some scattered digital noise. Image quality it is probably most similar to the PAL Tartan Extreme edition.  Audio sounded excellent to my ear - it offers the original mono plus 5.1, DTS upgrades and even a 5.1 English DUB. Subs are available in English and English for the hearing impaired.

NOTE: the Dragon Dynasty subtitles are really DUB-titles and we therefore dismiss this recommendation.

Supplements are extensive - first a (new?) commentary by Hong Kong cinema expert Bey Logan. Then on disc 2 we have a 38 minute featurette called Baptism of Fire which includes a discussion with director John Woo. There are 3 interviews; Partner in Crime: with Terence Chong (24:56), Art Imitates Life: with Philip Chan (15:56) and Mad Dog Bites Again: with Kwok Choi (25:03). There is a short Hard Boiled location guide (8:49) and some trailers (Hong Kong and US Promotional) plus a sellout advert for John Woo's shoot-em-up video game. 

For the supplements it's a good price at less than $20 - but the DUBtitles are a serious error. 

 

****

NOTE: Regarding the UK release (TARTAN), there’s a suggestion that the opening (Chinese) window-boxed credits are an effort to maximize the available image. I’m not convinced, however. There’s a hidden TITLE-4 on the disc (perhaps it’s an Easter-egg) that contains the English version of the opening and closing credits and these are anamorphic. I would venture that Tartan used an anamorphic master containing these English credits and simply lopped them off, replacing them with a conversion of non-anamorphic titles from their own older master. Might be worth noting. (Thanks Victor)

ADDITION (Tartan - October 2004) - The Tartan DVD is noted as "True anamorphic presentation" and has the most frame information. The entire intro, with Chow playing clarinet is underscanned, revealing the entire frame of 1.86:1. The Tartan is slightly less vibrant in colours than the TF! and is more "blue-ish", but overall a stunning image. The Tartan edition also comes with newly created English subtitles, which fade. They are not based on the English dub, but on the Cantonese dialogue. Finally the menus are a delight. All with animated sequences accompanied by the jazz score.

Henrik Sylow

**********

Addition: The Long Shong DVD is filled with problems - ghosting, severely cropped, hazy. It does sport an intermission where a color bar flashes for an instance and then a black screen, but not a reason to get this DVD in my opinion. It is filled with artifacts and the burned in dual subtitles are the final nail in the coffin. Add to that no Extra features. Take a pass.

**********

There are many fans of this film and, because of that, three of these editions at one time or another were OOP (Out of Print). Mei Ah have re-mastered their first effort and added 5.1 sound. All editions seem to have some issues. The TF1 Video edition has by far the best image, but most unfortunately no English subtitles (only French and an option for a French DUB). The new Mei Ah has no Extras worth speaking of, comes in a nice cardboard box, has flaws in the subtitles, is the only edition, aside from the TF1, that is anamorphic and the picture is slightly cropped and very saturated. Okay, the Criterion has the best Extras, is severely over-matted (cropped) and has the original Mono sound. The Fox - Lorber release is the best of the three English subtitled releases with the 'fullest' image (still miles away from the TF1 Video), a directors commentary and the original mono sound. I've read that the Mono sound is better than the 5.1/DTS offering on the Mei Ah - so our recommendation is quite scattered. TF1 for image, Mei Ah/TF1 for audio, Criterion for Extras. As a package with English subs, I would consider the Fox/Lorber.

NOTE: The Meh AI DVD is the only DVD that has an actual English translation of the Cantonese dialog.  The FOX and Criterion DVDs are dubtitles, which means they are based off the English dub.

 

From the asiandvdguide board: "Hard-Boiled Taiwanese DVD runs a few minutes longer than the HK cut and has lots of extra/extended scenes and a few sequences that have been edited together differently.  The most glaring differences between the two cuts are during the hospital evacuation sequence and the ensuing shootouts: they are edited together completely differently with shots added to and deleted from the Taiwanese disc. The DVD is Mandarin dubbed (English spoken parts intact) and it contains a different music score, at times playing music where there is none on the HK cut. "

  - Gary W. Tooze

 



DVD Menus

 

Dragon Dynasty Disc 1

 

 

Dragon Dynasty Disc 2

 


Menus:

First Row)      Tartan / Asian Extreme - Region 2- PAL TOP LEFT vs. Long Shong International - Region 0 - NTSC  TOP RIGHT

Second Row)  Fox Lorber - Region 1 - NTSC MIDDLE LEFT -. Mei Ah Region 0 - NTSC - MIDDLE RIGHT

Third Row)      TF1 Vidéo - Region 2- PAL BOTTOM LEFT vs.  Criterion - Region 1 - NTSC - BOTTOM RIGHT


 

 Roc - A - Fella - Region FREE - Blu-ray

 

 


Screen Captures

 

Dragon Dynasty are really using DUB-titles - pass.

 

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

 

1) Tartan / Asia Extreme - Region 2- PAL TOP

2) Long Shong Int. - Region 0 - NTSC SECOND

3) Fox Lorber - Region 1 - NTSC THIRD

4) Mei Ah Region 0 - NTSC FOURTH

5) Dragon Dynasty - Region 1 - NTSC FIFTH

6) TF1 Vidéo - Region 2 - PAL - SIXTH

7) Criterion - Region 1 - NTSC - SEVENTH

8) Roc - A - Fella - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM


Tartan / Asian Extreme

Long Shong Int.

Fox Lorber

Mei Ah

Dragon Dynasty

TF1 Vidéo

Criterion

Blu-ray

More Blu-ray Captures


Hit Counter


Report Card:

 

Image:

TF1 Video

Sound:

Blu-ray

Extras: Dragon Dynasty / Blu-ray
DVD Box Covers

 

 

   

Distribution

Tartan Video / Asia Extreme

Region 2- PAL

Long Shong International

Region 0  - NTSC

Fox/Lorber - Winstar

Region 1  - NTSC

Mei Ah 
Region 0  - NTSC
DVD Box Covers

 

Distribution

Dragon Dynasty

Region 1  - NTSC

TF1 Vidéo

Region 2- PAL

Criterion Collection Spine # 9

Region 1  - NTSC

Roc - A - Fella

Region FREE-locked - Blu-ray





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Gary Tooze

 

 

Many Thanks...