(aka "Dragon Squad" or "Maang Lung")

 

directed by Daniel Lee
Hong Kong 2005

 

Dragon Heat (formerly known as Dragon Squad), like The Twins Effect and Gen-Y Cops, is one of those Hong Kong action movies that pair aging stars like Jackie Chan with good-looking youngsters in a bid to create new stars out of thin air. Commercially, these projects do okay business, primarily on the strength of teeny-boppers who also buy the music albums that the young actors release. (In Hong Kong, most big names act and sing.) Since the Hong-Kong film industry is so prolific, actors who can’t get a break in their home countries often wind up paying their dues in Hong Kong before getting supporting roles in action movies in the U.S. Hong Kong is also a final destination for many has-beens like Michael Biehn.

Yes, Biehn is in Dragon Heat, and he and Maggie Q (an American who worked in Hong Kong for several years before returning here for Mission: Impossible 3 and Live Free or Die Hard) play international assassins causing trouble in Hong Kong. Young Interpol agents, who all happen to be photogenic ethnic Chinese, want to redeem themselves after being humiliated in their first encounter with the terrorists. This makes for a very busy affair that doesn’t amount to much since it’s never clear why the bad guys are after a triad boss. Still, on a lazy Saturday afternoon, Dragon Heat can be dumb fun for people who enjoy polyglot movies. It’s amusing trying to keep up with the mix of Cantonese, Mandarin, English, and Korean that spill rapidly from the actors’ mouths.

Yunda Eddie Feng

Posters

Theatrical Release: 10 November 2005

Reviews    More Reviews  DVD Reviews

DVD Review: Genius Products - Region 1 - NTSC

Big thanks to Yunda Eddie Feng for the Review!

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Distribution

Genius Products

Region 1 - NTSC

Runtime 110 min
Video

1.85:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 6.63 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

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

Bitrate

Audio DD 5.1 Cantonese Chinese, DD 5.1 English, DTS 5.1 Cantonese Chinese
Subtitles Optional English, English SDH, Spanish
Features Release Information:
Studio: Genius Products

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.85:1

Edition Details:
• audio commentary by Bey Logan
• The Making of Dragon Heat
• interviews with Lawrence Chou and Michael Biehn
• deleted scene

DVD Release Date: September 18th, 2007
keepcase

Chapters 16

 

 

Comments:

Video:
In an interview on this DVD, Michael Biehn mentions that the production used tapes instead of film, which gave the director a lot of flexibility in working on a tight schedule. Had Biehn not mentioned that fact, I probably wouldn’t have guessed that this was a high-def video feature--the movie is practically indistinguishable from many shot-on-film movies that I’ve seen. As such, it makes sense that the 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer is quite good, with sharp detail and smooth rendering. The flat lighting and limited color palette are probably the only drawbacks to shooting on HDCAM, but I accepted those characteristics as stylistic choices while I was watching Dragon Heat. I like the look of film as much as the next cineaste, but with film being difficult to preserve and prone to damaging the environment, I think that video is on the right track when HDCAM movies look about the same as the average 35mm production.

Audio:
The original Cantonese Chinese track comes in two flavors--DD 5.1 and DTS 5.1. Both are highly aggressive and lively affairs. All the speakers pour on the gunfire in just about every scene, and the sound designers used playful effects to highlight the artificiality of witnessing action in the comfort of a home theatre. This is a top-notch mix.

You can also watch the movie with a DD 5.1 English dub. Optional English, English SDH, and Spanish subtitles support the audio.

Extras:
Once again, Bey Logan contributed an audio commentary to a Dragon Dynasty DVD release. As Logan actually worked on this movie, his comments are more insightful than ever.

“The Making of Dragon Heat” is very different from the usual promo fluff piece. It begins with behind-the-scenes clips that have been edited into a moody mini-movie, complete with swooning music. There are the usual talking-heads interviews and film clips, but again, a lot of these passages have been edited as a tone-poem-like remembrance of the production.

There are separate interviews with actors Lawrence Chou and Michael Biehn. The two discuss how they became involved with the movie and how much they enjoyed working on it.

Finally, you get a deleted scene that is pretty cool on its own but has nothing to do with the movie’s main story.

--Miscellaneous--
An insert advertises other Dragon Dynasty DVDs.

 - Yunda Eddie Feng

 



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DVD Box Cover

CLICK to order from:

Distribution

Genius Products

Region 1 - NTSC




 

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