(Kazuhiko Yamaguchi, 1974)
S E A R C H D V D B e a v e r
H D - S E N S E I
A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze
(Kazuhiko Yamaguchi, 1974)
Production: Bci / Eclipse
Region: FREE! (as verified by the Momitsu region FREE Blu-ray player)
Runtime: 1:25:59.154 + 1:25:27.172
Disc Size: 23,254,468,964 bytes
Feature Size: 11,019,073,536 bytes / 10,667,280,384 bytes
Video Bitrate: 15.01 Mbps
Case: Standard Blu-ray case
Release Date: January 8th, 2008
Aspect ratio: 2.35:1
Resolution: 1080i / 23.976 fps
Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video
Dolby Digital Audio Japanese 448 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 448 kbps / DN -4dB
Dolby Digital Audio English 384 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 384 kbps / DN -4dB
Dolby Digital Audio Japanese 384 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 384 kbps / DN -4dB
SISTER STREET FIGHTER: HANGING BY A THREAD: (Onna Hissatsu-ken: Kiki Ippatsu) The daughter of a powerful man, Birei, disappears and Kaoru is sent to Tokyo to investigate. She soon discovers that Birei was kidnapped in a gangster's diamond smuggling ring that is very close to home. Soon she is surrounded by the gangster's army of martial arts experts who will stop at nothing to stop her! Starring Etsuko Shihomi, Hideo Shimada 85 minutes/1974/NR/Anamorphic Widescreen (2.35:1) In Japanese with English subtitles.
The Video: NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.
As this appears to be BCI/Eclipse's first kick at the can in 1080 - we decided to give it (and their The Night of the Werewolf/Vengeance of the Zombies Blu-ray discs a spin to see how they stack up). I'm afraid this exploration isn't very encouraging. Both films are on one single-layered BRD (25 Gig) and interlaced (1080i) and although I'm quite positive the image quality improves upon their SD releases (I admit to not having seen) - the print has some dirt and marks in which some form of cleaning would have drastically benefited the transfer. Visuals are generally softish and waxy. Digital noise is still very prevalent throughout both films - as are compression artifacts. The only difference I could ascertain between the two film transfers was that the second seems to have somewhat brighter colors (possibly a more intact source). There is an inexplicable greenish/blue line at the bottom of the frame edge. So, neither escalate to the heights of the new format and fans who are bent on venturing beyond their old SD editions - just beware that this is probably not a head-spinning improvement - although both should be visually marginally superior to some degree. With the lights down - it can be quite fun ride as the heroine (Etsuko Shihomi) has an appealing onscreen presence.
Audio: No lossless but there is a fairly consistent Japanese 5.1 track with some minor separation and an original, very flat, mono offering. The (embellished) 5.1 has none of the benefits of a modern track but if that was the best they could offer - it will have to be acceptable. This is obviously not a film where audio plays the defining roll (being mono original) and it is standard quality at best. There are plenty of bone-cracking effects and they seem supported acceptably, if not remarkably. There is a humorous English DUB that could add some further fun to a showing - it depends on how much of a purist about the genre that you are. It is supported by often précised English subtitles in a reasonably visible white font (see sample above).
I should note that Menus are not available on the fly (no 'Pop-up" menu) as they are with most every other Blu-ray discs - but once you make an option chnage you can 'resume film'.
BOTTOM LINE:Since our initial review it appears as though BCI/Eclipse have 'gone under' and while we would have liked to encourage them in releasing films, exactly of this nature, being put to HD - this is really limited in terms of what the new format can offer. I enjoyed both Street Sister films for their campy, genre-specific, charm but I would have hoped the a/v quality would have been superior to what was offered. While this is better than SD-DVD, and it is cool to have them available on one disc for a 'double feature' night presentation, the digital production leaves a lot to be desired. It seems out-of-print at present and I doubt anyone else will be putting these two films to 'Blu' anytime soon.