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H D - S E N S E I

A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

 

Production: Bci / Eclipse

 

Disc:

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

Chapters: 13

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release Date: January 8th, 2008

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 2.35:1

Resolution: 1080i / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

 

Audio:

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

 

Subtitles:

English, none

 

Extras:

• Trailers

Product Description:
SISTER STREET FIGHTER: (Onna Hissatsu-ken) Martial arts expert Kaoru Lee (Karen Lee in the dubbed version) is the sister of a missing undercover cop who was trying to bring down a brutal drug lord. Pressed into service by the cops, Tina travels to Hong Kong to find her brother, but things take a terrible turn and she is left with the task of finding her brother and taking down a huge drug lord on her own! Starring Etsuko Shihomi, Sonny Chiba, Emi Hayakawa, Harry Kondo, Kenji Ohba. 86 minutes/1974/NR/Anamorphic Widescreen (2.35:1) In Japanese with English subtitles & English dubbed version.

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 Film:

Well, you probably have some idea what you are in for here - a gal with deft karate skills (kung fu?) shows her stuff against some evil baddies usually in the form of ugly, grinning crime bosses or their equally lowlife henchman. The plot circles around her attempts to rescue her brother from drug dealers in this; the inaugural entry of the series. Joining her is one of the genre's iconic figures; Mr. Sonny Chiba. Actually, the better film is number II (not just because of the nudity... but it helps) as the vicious evil-doers, each with unique peculiarities and martial arts specialties, again face our little gal with her spinning kicks and expressive eyes. Pretty standard Kung Fu flicks but even in that it has some appeal. Exploitive at time? - sure - but in an innocent sort of way. In another life I could easily get right into this stuff - it's bad but someone forgot to tell the cast who never let up with the grimaces or roundhouse kicks... which ya gotta love.

Gary Tooze 

 

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.

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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'.

Extras:
There are none - save some trailers - which are an amusement in their own right.
    

Menus

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.

Gary Tooze

 

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About the Reviewer: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 9500 DVDs and have reviewed over 3500 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.

Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction. So be it, but film will always be my first love and I list my favorites on the old YMdb site now accessible HERE.  

Gary's Home Theatre:

60-Inch Class (59.58” Diagonal) 1080p Pioneer KURO Plasma Flat Panel HDTV PDP6020-FD

Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD Player
Momitsu - BDP-899 Region FREE Blu-ray player
Marantz SA8001 Super Audio CD Player
Marantz SR7002 THX Select2 Surround Receiver
Tannoy DC6-T (fronts) + Energy (centre, rear, subwoofer) speakers (5.1)

APC AV 1.5 kVA H Type Power Conditioner 120V

Gary W. Tooze

 

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