Jackie Chan's POLICE STORY and John Woo's HARD BOILED finally have real, true High Def transfers -- In Japan - AVS Forum

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Matt_Stevens's Avatar Matt_Stevens
04:52 PM Liked: 48
post #1 of 21
04-04-2013 | Posts: 13,818
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UPDATED: Screen captures at bottom of this first post.

Gang. As you may know, almost all of the Hong Kong films on Blu-Ray are being given the shaft, since the distributor is only providing upscales of SD transfer. It may say HD, but it ain't HD 9 times out of 10.

However, the new Japanese releases of POLICE STORY (Steelbook SE) and HARD BOILED are different.

Let me start by saying I have not viewed these in full. Just sampled them...

HARD BOILED is an actual 1080p24 transfer that is vastly superior in every way to all of the other releases around the world. I will post screen grabs when I can, but I must say, I am shocked. Is it AWESOME? No. But without a true 2k scan and proper color correction, that film (and others) never will be awesome.

What it is is proof that Dragon Dynasty and everybody else are screwing us.

I have not had a chance to listen to the audio (pay attention to the audio is more accurate).

NO ENGLISH SUBTITLES! But that won't stop me from downloading subs and creating my own Blu-Ray version. I have already begun the process.

THE KILLER was released at the same time, but I did not order it. I am waiting on cofirmation it's the real deal before spending the money.

Now POLICE STORY via the Steelbook release (which can now be purchased and shipped for under $50) is a conundrum.

There are two versions of the film presented... The normal, Hong Kong and (mostly) international release, using the same stupid upscale we find being released in all territories... mad.gif

AND... The longer Japanese cut of the film, in true High Definition from a 35mm theatrical print. It is 2.35:1 and has DD2.0 audio (not 192k, but I do not recall what the bitrate is off the top of my head).

The source has burned in Japanese subtitles, so it is not ideal. But it is clearly superior to the upscale, despite all of the wear and tear and slight differences in color balance between reels.

What was most pleasing to me was the lack of a remix. Since it's the Japanese cut, we have the original mono mix and even though I think it was taken from the 35mm print itself, it still sounds better than the remixes!

Like with Hard Boiled, no subtitles. But many are already at work creating a subtitle track that conforms to this cut of the film. When I have it, I'll just create my own personal BD.

Many will not like the specs of dust, debris and scratches. Others will complain of the low file size. Just under 13GB. But considering this is the superior cut of the film, in true High Def, to me it is a Holy Grail type release. I am throwing my DVD's away. Seriously, they are coasters at this point.

There is also an SD non-anamorphic version of the Japanese cut, without the subtitles. The same one released on laserdisc (I still have that LD). Obviously the studio was unable to find their interpositive so they had to use a 35mm release print for the HD transfer.

Perhaps one day some miracle will occur where we can have both cuts, in fully restored awesomeness and glory... Until then, we have this.

HARD BOILED (sorry about stupid Photobucket resizing these):

My own CUSTOM version...

Japanese BD:


Blasst's Avatar Blasst
08:58 PM Liked: 27
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04-04-2013 | Posts: 3,512
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Thanks for bringing this up. Really is a major bummer when such great titles from Hong Kong have been getting the shaft in regards to the best quality on blu-ray. Makes one wonder how much care was given to the prints back 10-35 years ago.
MSchu18's Avatar MSchu18
09:31 AM Liked: 210
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04-05-2013 | Posts: 1,226
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Man... I have not seen Hard Boiled for YEARS, since Laser disk days.
raoul_duke's Avatar raoul_duke
09:45 AM Liked: 32
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04-07-2013 | Posts: 2,304
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Hard Boiled looks fantastic on the Japanese BD. The audio however, is terrible, it's one of those faux 5.1 mixes, that's sounds really hollow and even metallic in places.

I stripped the 2.0 Cantonese mix from the US BD and while lossy, it makes one helluva difference.
Fanboyz's Avatar Fanboyz
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04-07-2013 | Posts: 2,444
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the US Hard Boiled was actual HD, it was just terrible.
eric.exe's Avatar eric.exe
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04-07-2013 | Posts: 2,344
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Originally Posted by Fanboyz View Post

the US Hard Boiled was actual HD, it was just terrible.
Right. It had unfixable frame-blending.
raoul_duke's Avatar raoul_duke
03:53 PM Liked: 32
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04-07-2013 | Posts: 2,304
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Mine also has part of the popup menu permanently visible, in the lower half of the screen. Complete POS.
WontonNoodle's Avatar WontonNoodle
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04-07-2013 | Posts: 32
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Any screens? I am unbelievably excited for a proper Hard Boiled blu ray
Bill C.'s Avatar Bill C.
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04-08-2013 | Posts: 893
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One guy over at Blu-ray.com posted a few screenies, including a couple of comparative ones versus the Dragon Dynasty disc...I don't think he'll mind this...

(Arg. Curse you, auto-resize function!)

Matt_Stevens's Avatar Matt_Stevens
09:46 AM Liked: 48
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04-09-2013 | Posts: 13,818
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I've been so swamped. Sorry about no screen grabs yet.

HARD BOILED is brighter. Maybe too bright, but only slightly. It is far and away superior in every other way. The difference in detail is striking.

I've got the Criterion CAV Laserdisc sound captured and will make a hybrid BD for myself. smile.gif
plissken99's Avatar plissken99
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04-09-2013 | Posts: 3,313
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I wonder how the Japanese Police Story compares to the upcoming Police Story 1 & 2 double feature coming out here April 16th. The review on Blu-Ray.com indicates it at least superior to the Fortunstar HK release.
Matt_Stevens's Avatar Matt_Stevens
03:56 PM Liked: 48
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As the reviewer himself notes, Shout Factory received their HD Masters from Fortune Star. Well Fortune Star doesn't have HD Masters for either film. They just upscaled the same SD transfers used for the DVD's. It's so blatantly obvious the mind boggles. They are actually releasing 99% upscaled on Blu Ray and I wish I could punch those Fortune Star execs in the nose for their crimes.

The level of detail on the Japanese Extended Cut is far and away higher, despite being from an theatrical print. That shouldn't be. But it is.

Upscales should be banned from Blu-Ray. But that's just dreaming.
plissken99's Avatar plissken99
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04-09-2013 | Posts: 3,313
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But what good is extra detail without English subtitles? frown.gif
Matt_Stevens's Avatar Matt_Stevens
05:46 PM Liked: 48
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04-09-2013 | Posts: 13,818
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Like I mentioned above... Fan subs and create your own Blu-Ray. In this case, I will use the sound from the Japanese laserdisc, plus the fan subs (which are based of of the official translation of the film, but re-worded by people who actually care) and create my own Blu-Ray. It's some work, but for me it solves the problem of not having a way to truly enjoy this film on a large screen.
Matt_Stevens's Avatar Matt_Stevens
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04-26-2013 | Posts: 13,818
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So I finished my special-to-me HARD BOILED edition. Criterion Laserdisc PCM audio synced with the Japanese Blu-Ray and English subtitles. It took nearly 300 edits to get the sound right and yes, I even fixed some sync issues in the original mix.

if I can do this on my home computer, there is NO EXCUSE for the studios, any studio, not doing the same.

The Laserdsic 2.0 mono completely obliterates the DTS and DD remixes, which sound shrill and are consistently 2 - 6 frames behind the picture.

I'm already halfway through POLICE STORY and can't wait to have a double feature night with all my buds.

There is nothing stopping any die hard fans from doing this themselves.
Bill C.'s Avatar Bill C.
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04-26-2013 | Posts: 893
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Impressive...most impressive.

Say, Matt, where do you live...? biggrin.gif
Matt_Stevens's Avatar Matt_Stevens
03:08 PM Liked: 48
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04-29-2013 | Posts: 13,818
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I live far far away. biggrin.gif

First post updated to include SCREEN GRABS.
raoul_duke's Avatar raoul_duke
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05-01-2013 | Posts: 2,304
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Very nice job.
Matt_Stevens's Avatar Matt_Stevens
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05-02-2013 | Posts: 13,818
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I'm getting a lot of questions about how to do this. Subtitles are easy. If you have the Blu-Ray you can rip it and then use TsMuxer to add the subtitle track and burn a new Blu-Ray (minus menu system, of course).

For color correction, that's different. You need something like Adobe Premiere Pro, Final Cut Pro or some other professional software. Once you do your color correction you then need to re-author the video, but at a slightly higher bit-rate so as not to introduce banding or noise. It's tricky and there are many schools about the best way to re-author H.264 material.

For the audio, you need the PCM sound from the Criterion laserdisc. The Criterion and Winstar DVD's have highly compressed 192k mono. It's not going to have the feeling of the laserdisc sound. No way. And like with the color correction, you need a pro editing suite to play with the audio.

I made nearly 300 cuts/adjustments. 40+ hours of work, spread over a few weeks. God help me when I get around to tackling THE KILLER.

By the way, the Japanese Hard Boiled BD is crazy inexpensive (for a Japanese title) at the moment. Get it before it sells out.
eric.exe's Avatar eric.exe
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05-04-2013 | Posts: 2,344
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I find the JP cut of Police Story be unwatchable, really. The Japanese subs are very distracting, and the amount of damage and debris is just unholy.

some images of it (sorry for jpgs):
Matt_Stevens's Avatar Matt_Stevens
05:53 PM Liked: 48
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05-04-2013 | Posts: 13,818
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It is the ONLY high-def transfer in the world. There is no other. The Blu-Rays are all fakes. Upconverts.

And yes, there is some dirt and debris on this real, true transfer and yes there are subtitles, but unwatchable? it's the best we have ever had for this particular film. Sad, but true.
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