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...
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...
RAW vs. CUSTON