Saturday, 24 September 2011

TIGER CAGE kicking TIGER CAGE 2's ass



I received my new TIGER CAGE 1-3 DVDs from HK this week. They're brand new releases and have been mucho wanted for years by me and every other 1980s HK film fan on the block! A couple of weeks back I tried to watch my mainland China Zoke DVD of TIGER CAGE 2 but it kept freezing, stuttering and in the end it just gave up (or I did).

The Mandarin only audio was kinda annoying too. The audio was less than perfect, and also, due to mainland Chinese not being familiar with all the HK English expressions those are usually gone from Mandarin dubs (you know the Hongkongese usually use a lot of English expressions in Cantonese, "Yes/no, madam/sir", "this is an order", "bye-bye", etc). And it kinda sounds unfamiliar not to have all those standard, English terms. To me it does anyway.

Anyway, so it was cool to finally be able to watch TIGER CAGE 2 all thru to the end. And since I'd already watched half of the Zoke DVD I started with #2 of the Fortune Star/Joy Sales DVDs. And that was a good thing too!! TIGER CAGE 2 is a great film, highly entertaining, violent, and funny. And it's got cute Rosamund Kwan in it too. But then I watched TIGER CAGE 1!!!

Before I watched #2 I thought it would probably become my favourite simply cos it has Cynthia Khan in it but, firstly, she's not in the movie very much, her part is nothing more than a meaty cameo, and secondly, I... watched #1 yesterday!! Whoah!! TIGER CAGE 2 is good but TIGER CAGE 1 is TWICE as good! Really!!!

TC2 is violent and it's full-on all the way but it's also light in tone thru out. The scenes of Donnie Yen and Romasund Kwan's characters trying to escape while handcuffed to each other are great fun. And the slapstick scenes of Rosamund spitting noodless in Donnie's face and Donnie-pissing-himself scenes are great fun but stuff like that is just absent from the first film. TIGER CAGE has a more serious tone and deeper character characterisations which the sequel just doesn't get near of.

When I watched TC1 I kept thinking "this is very good", and it really is! Very violent, gory, people die left and right (including characters who you think are gonna last to the end) and Simon Yam delivers (once again) a great performance as the bad guy. Arrrh, Simon Yam! "Look, I'm not gay but if I had to fuck a guy, I mean if I haaaad to fuck a guy, if my life depended on it... I'd fuck Simon Yam" [Clarence in TRUE ROMANCE, altho about Elvis]. I haven't watched part three and most reports are that it sucks but most reporters suck too these days anyway so I'm gonna keep an open mind for that one too. It stars American Chinese actor Michael Wong.

I looked up the films in the Asian Trash Cinema book and good ol'e Thomas Weisser stated that these films are popular with chop socky fans (!!) but that "more demanding critics have complained over the simplistic story lines". Huh? Like, huh?? Did he even watch the films?? You never know what's gonna happen in the first film and the character and story development is far from being simple. Sure we're talking a violent crime/action film here but the alternative would be to not make a violent crime/action film. Weisser seemed to think films that had people fighting in them were automatically "chop socky". Well, they aren't.

To the best of my knowledge chop socky is a term used to describe old-skool kung fu films from the 60s and 70s. Not present day action films made in the 1980s! The fact that he states "Cynthia [Khan] was made for these kinds of roles" makes me think he really didn't watch TC2 or sat at the table and had his dinner while it was on cos this really isn't Cynthia Khan's film. At all!! She's in the movie for something like 6-7 minutes! The ATC book is cool as it includes most of the 80s films but plot descriptions and shit is just so off the mark that, well, it's off the mark.

About the DVD specs (as mentioned I haven't watched part 3 but I assume it's the same): The DVDs are kinda barebone releases but the remastered prints look great and that's what's important here! And one thing that has surprised everyone is they actually include the original Cantonese mono audio tracks as well as the bastard 5.1 mixes.

It would have been nice if TC2 had included the alternative end-scene in the extras but I'm not surprised Fortune Star didn't. They're just not the people to bother with "nonsense" like that. We got two trailers on each disc (the original trailer and a new one made for this release) and some picture galleries. The subtitles are the old wonky ones but I can live with that, new ones would have been nice though. Someone who worked as a translator for Joy Sales said this about Fortune Star's attitude on Asia Dvd Guide forum: "Fortune Star actually laughed at the idea of a reworking on the English subs."

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This is a re-post from my old blog from November, 2010.

CHINA WHITE (HK, 1989)

Argh, please kick me in the head the next time you see me! I deserve it. My gawd, I put off buying this DVD because of rumours that it was a terrible print and cut too.

I learnt about the DVD when it came out bloody two years ago and I've left it sitting on the shelf at DDDHouse until now. And now I discover it's most likely fully uncut and altho not a perfect print then at least better than the two FS video tapes I've got!! Argh!!

CHINA WHITE was directed by Ronny Yu in 1989 and shot on location in Chinatown in Amsterdam. The film was made in two versions; Ronny Yu's director's cut (i.e. the international version) plus a version for the HK home-market which contains an extra flashback scene. The film was shot in a mix of English (mostly) and Cantonese (and a little bit of Thai). The HK version was then dubbed into Cantonese (in the scenes where Chinese characters speak English to each other in the international version) and a fairly long flashback scene was added. To watch the film in Cantonese is NOT an advantage as the dub is pretty crappy and out of sync! Russell Wong, Andy Lau, Billy Drago, Shing Fui-On are in the movie plus a bunch more and lots of Gwilos.

The HK DVD looks fully uncut to me but I haven't compared the many violent scenes with the international version. There are many shoot-outs (it was made in the heyday of the heroic bloodshed genre) and there's also a beheading.

Unfortunately, the director's cut has never been released on DVD, only on VHS. I have two video versions from the UK and Denmark. Another false rumour is that the UK tape is cut in a "Naked girl gets shot in the chest and you see her blood soaking boobs" scene. Well, more baloney! I compared the scene with the Danish and UK tapes and all three versions contain the exact same version.



This is the brief scene that's supposed to be cut out of the UK VHS. I've just checked the BBFC site and sure enough they say they've cut out 3 seconds of the film. I've timed that sequence and it runs exactly 3 seconds! Very strange. And it is definitely the same video release from the same label and with the same copyright year info (1991)!!! So what happened? Did the BBFC order the 3 seconds out of the film (I'm told it's the "blood on naked boobs" that doesn't go down well at the BBFC headquarters) after which the video label kinda just said "Arr bugger it, we'll just leave it in there, they'll never know!". Or was it a mistake? Did the entire batch of tapes get released uncut or was it only some of them? Maybe we'll never know. Uhhhhh (said in scary voice). xD

The tapes are FS and too dark. The DVD is letterboxed, has a better, brighter picture with much more info on the left. HOWEVER, some picture info at the bottom has been cut off. Someone on ADG suggested it was because the video label (Kam & Ronson) were covering up burnt-in subtitles. I don't know if this is correct. Obviously this is annoying but the missing picture info is very little and it would be daft not to check out this entertaining film just because of that. And even with the bottom missing it's still a way better print than the two video versions (but of course it presents a different edit of the film so you'll still need a VHS for the director's cut).

I've seen the film a handful of times thru out the years (I bought the UK tape as far back as sometime in the early 90s!) and it's definitely recommended viewing (and the DVD is mega cheap from DDDHouse).



The screen grabs are from ADG and thanks goes out to the two uploaders!

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Bizarre and insane English dubbed Hong Kong films the world forgot



If you dig deep enough in the Scandinavian mould you'll find old rusty Viking helmets, warped ABBA records, and... forgotten Hong Kong movies so obscure it defies any logic!!!

Wild and crazy films that must be seen to be believed. And then you even have to check if someone spiced your lemonade with secret substances and made you imagine things that weren't really happening on the TV screen in front of you! But no, they are for real alright!!

These films are dubbed into English and the only place they've probably ever been release are in the Scandinavian countries. If they've even been release in HK it was so long ago that no one remembers - and whatever copies that once were distributed were probably all soaked in petrol and torched by angry customers who rented them from video outlets!

Needless to say you can forget about DVD releases ANYWHERE!! (unless you count DVDs from shady bootleggers like VideoAsia who would use something like 3'rd generation VHS dupes for their "releases").

Check out this scene from STRIKE OF THE TORTURED ANGELS (from 1982, maybe!). It's bizarre to say the least. And before you ask... no, the Chinese girl whose skin is painted black and who is wearing an afro ISN'T playing a Chinese character who's trying to disguise as a black person, no-no, she is a Chinese actress PLAYING a black girl!!! I mean... how... what... I mean... HUH???

I've posted two clips from another of these insane & obscure HK films, SHARK OPERATION; you can watch them here. Thanks to Member-X of Cinehound forum who uploaded the clips from both movies.


PS: Some of these films are also on VHS in Holland and I wouldn't be surprised if they're also out on video in Greece.



Saturday, 17 September 2011

Shitty Backyard Home Video Entertainment presents: THE TAI SENG BOX



I was about to apologise for this shitty home video (actually my initial headline described it as another entry to "YouTube's Shittiest Home Videos", haha) but then I thought, "Heeeey, this is perfect DOGME!! And it is!! Think about it; On-scene music! Lack of credits! Shaky camera! Mumbled dialogue! No dialogue preparation! No actual start, middle or finish! No lighting! Yep, this is a perfect Dogme home video. Lars von Trier would be so proud.

Thursday, 15 September 2011

WAR VICTIMS (Indonesia, 1983)

Original title: KAMP TAWANAN WANITA



Here's the rare trailer for Jopi Burnama's Indonesian war/WIP movie WAR VICTIMS. There's no official DVD release but it's released on VHS in the US, Holland, and Japan. I believe both the US and Dutch versions are fullscreen. The Japanese tape is letterboxed.


Director: JOPI BURNAMA

Cast:
MARISSA HAQUE
BOY TIRAYOH
AVENT CHRISTIE
MANGARA SIAHAAN
JEFFRY SANI
DJOKO WAROK
ANEN WIJAYA
USMAN EFFENDY
SIMON PS
FARIDA YASMINE
WATY SIREGAR
NINA ANWAR

Credit info from CITWF.

Thanks to Member-X for the YouTube upload!

Monday, 12 September 2011

CHRISTOPH KLÜPPEL - interview


When Hong Kong movies became the new fan flavour among horror and action movie fans 20 years ago little was known about the Gwilo (i.e. white) actors who starred in many of these movies (usually as bad guys). Nowadays most info about these white HK actors is well known territory. However, there's still stuff to be discovered! A stone-throw from HK is Thailand and one of the Gwilo actors (altho they undoubtedly don't actually use that phrase there, LOL) who starred in many Thai action films is German born he-man Christoph Klüppel.

I've seen him on numerous video and VCD covers but I never knew anything about him - and neither did you. Well, why don't you leave this hell-hole and jump over to Fred Anderson's blog, NINJA DIXON, and check today's post out. Fred just fucken interviewed the guy!! Very cool indeed! Klüppel was in films such as IN GOLD WE TRUST, THE LOST IDOL, MISSION HUNTER 1 & 2, and SATANIC CRYSTALS. The interview is very long and Fred says he's gonna split it up and post segments every day for a week or so.
For the interview go here!

Check out Klüppel in this rare trailer for the equally rare English language version of DARK DAY EXPRESS:

Friday, 2 September 2011

Shaw Brothers Bad Mixes Warning (from ADG)

Here's yet again an old floater I scooped up from the murky harbour water. Like the "Alternative versions of Hong Kong Films" this post is copied from the old "Asian DVD Guide" message board which is now gone. I thought it would be a bloody shame to let it disappear! You can check the original version at Waybackmachine. Thanks to everyone who worked on the original version on ADG.

All the bold and italic features are gone but I'll apply them later.

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Note (May 2006) The vast majority of titles from the recent batches have been original mono (possibly all?).

Some comments taken from HKDigital and the KFCC board (excerpted without permission).

THE 14 AMAZONS
Spannick: annoying chaos of new and old Sound Effects during the Action Scenes. not so much Synth Music added to the Surrounds as usual (there still is of course).
NetDragon: I agree on this one, the mixing of the old and new music tracks are so annoying that it nearly ruins the movie. But it's such a cool movie that even this problem can't stop ppl from enjoying this piece of adventure, big thumb up! But I'm really glad they didn't ruined the original soundtrack at the opening credits.
MrBooth: Maybe I'm getting deaf in my old age or my standards have slipped, but this remix didn't seem bad. I didn't notice many added sound effects (some crowd cheering seemed very out of place though, like it was culled from a football match), and the music augmentation actually seemed... kind of ok... mostly (IMG:style_emoticons/default/unsure.gif) . It was at least in time with the original score anyway!

36TH CHAMBER OF SHAOLIN
fusheng007 French DVD contains birds and crickets but radically reduced when compared to original Celestial DVD.

7-MAN ARMY
Spannick: unwatchable Mess with horrible Synth Music and New Effects mixed with the Original Mono still clearly audible.

ANGEL WITH THE IRON FISTS
Mr.Booth One title that was absolutely ruined by the fx & music was ANGEL WITH IRON FISTS.

THE ANGRY GUEST
Spannick New Synth added to the Surrounds, horrible new F/X during the whole Movie, all Originals can be heard underneath - unbearable.

ANONYMOUS HEROES
spannick01 Newly added Music. Someone over there thought that mixing a completely new Cue under every Action Scene (always the same Cue!), no matter if there is music already in existance, was a good idea. it was not. the Original Music can be heard underneath the Audio Commentary or on the Malaysian VCD. The HK VCD has the same annoying Remix included! No new F/X Added, save for crickets and birds as usual.

THE ASSASSIN
Markgway "There are new, obvious sound effects, but the REALLY annoying thing is the new AND VERY LOUD synth music dubbed on top of the mono. "

THE AVENGING EAGLE
Mr Booth (Thai disc, Mandarin track) - horrible new fx + synths. Yuck. Subtitles seem slightly out of sync too...

BATTLE WIZARD
harlem shaw Audio: 5.1 DD. There were a couple of sounds here and there which is to be expected from all Celestial releases unless they specifically say MONO. By and large though, the audio was untouched. No new musical score, and no new over-dubbed sound FX during the fight scenes.

BELLS OF DEATH
MrBooth Someone *please* tell me that the tinkling bell sounds every time the main character moves were part of the original soundtrack to the film? Surely even Celestial couldn't have come up with that? But, the film definitely features a lot of added ambient sound effects, and the bell sound is much too loud in the mix... and almost continuous when the main guy is on screen! It's very annoying, but I think it's part of the original sound mix - though celestial may have boosted it. If they *did* add it though, it may be their worst abuse yet!

THE BLACK FALCON
Markgway: Mandarin Mono.

BLOOD BROTHERS
Spannick Music added, totally distracting, as the Original can be heard underneath. Birds added. French DVD is Original Mono.

THE BLUE AND THE BLACK 1 & 2
dleedlee: Bird Virus

BOXER REBELLION
Markgway Don't think that anyone has mentioned this so I will...Mandarin 5.1 remix. Opening theme has been entirely redone with synth music. Fight foley remains untouched. Minor augmentation of incidentals like the sound of wind blowing, crowd chatter. Most obvious addition is that during machine gun fire. But it's not overly distracting. Largely mono-based. Not perfect then - but it could have been a lot worse. I say buy it!

THE BRAVE ARCHER
Isfahani "Just got my VCD of Brave Archer but haven't had time to compare the DVD to it yet. Main problem I have with the fight fx is that you can still hear the old ones UNDERNEATH them, which as I said before, would be easy to at least get rid of. BUT NOOOOOO. Besides that, I wouldn't mind the fx so much if they were mixed a little lower, or had some room reverb to place it in the mix better, but this in your face crap, well... "

Markgway 5.1 remix in Mandarin New foley and synth throughout. Original audio can be heard underneath. At one point even the dialogue is out of sync. Poor effort. Not in the absolute worst category. But the film is worth suffering for.

THE BRAVE ARCHER 1-3
Sevenhooks at KFC "Brave Archer 1-3 have remixed sound in terms of fighting sound fx and music… Oh, well.Chalk up another loss. + all 3 Brave Archer films seem to be tainted now."

BRIDE NAPPING
dleedlee: Bird Virus.

BROTHERHOOD
Spannick: totally idiotic 5.1 Mix: the first half hour is near-Mono, then for the remainder it's the same mess as JUDGEMENT, all new F/X everywhere with the Original ones underneath...

BRUCE LEE & I
Spannick: added footsteps, totally out of place and too loud in all Fight Scenes.

Markgway: 5.1 Mandarin Remix. Not a lot to remix here really... but the few fights scenes have been tampered with. New foley effects overdubbed. Not terribly distracting but noticeable. Would be worst in an all-action film. I don't recall any new synth music, but the opening logo is the remixed one.

CAT VS. RAT
Markgway The sound for 'Cat Vs Rat' has not been left untouched I'm afraid. But I will say the tampering is less evident than some of the more severe recent cases. The synth logo is present and correct and some cues have been replaced. The fight foley is mostly original, but appears to have been augmented with sharper effects. Tolerable certainly, but I felt it should be noted for purists.

A CAUSE TO KILL
Markgway: Mandarin Mono.

THE CHINESE BOXER
harlem shaw The killer is the piss-poor audio. It seems as if the entire original soundtrack has been removed and replaced by something made by a 5 year old with a casio keyboard and one arm. Add to that the usual newly added sound FX (which aren't as bad as "Deadly Duo") and what you're left with is the current standard for Celestials Shaw Brother DVD treatment. Too bad.

CLAN OF AMAZONS
HKD (http://www.dighkmovies.com) "the blockheads at Celestial have once again seen fit to undermine their restoration efforts by including a terrible, overly aggressive re-mix. New music and sound FX are ineptly layered on top of the originals and sound far too prominent for comfort. The effect is bothersome and constantly takes one out of the movie. It would take up hardly any space at all to also include a 2.0 mono track – so why does the company continue this practice when other releases, like Intercontinental’s own line of Fortune Star titles, extend this courtesy to the true fans of these films? Alas, one can only hope that the more ham-fisted of these re-mixes does not occur on titles you have been waiting ages to see. "

CLAN OF THE WHITE LOTUS
MrBooth The R3/IVL release of this film is an absolute atrocity! There are new foley effects *everywhere*, fight scenes or not. Mostly you have those f**king footsteps throughout, that mean you end up watching people's feet in most scenes since that's where your attention is drawn... which means you can't help notice that the new footstep sounds aren't even synced with people's feet hitting the ground X( Fight scenes are full of crap sounds for cloth moving and punch impacts and swords clanging etc. Basically every scene has something added to it, and it's all incompetently done. I couldn't watch the film through my hi-fi at all because the new sfx were so distracting, and it was barely tolerable through my TV. Utter abomination... I hope they're building a special level in hell for the people that did this.

COME DRINK WITH ME
dleedlee: Bird Virus.

THE CRIMSON CHARM
MrBooth The now standard footsteps and rustles have been added, but mostly in the fight scenes, and mostly in the first 20 minutes of the film. After this they're still occasionally present, but mixed a lot lower and not too distracting. Still worse than nothing, but one of the least bad audio tracks from recent batches.

Markgway: Remixed in 5.1 Mandarin. New synth music and foley throughout. Very noticeable too (just listen to that thunderclap after the opening credits or the charms exploding) so I would have to consider this a below average example. The sword clangs are original, thankfully. I cut the surround out by listening in mono and not playing the audio too loud which helps a bit.

DEADLY BREAKING SWORD
Markgway
5.1 remixes in Cantonese and Mandarin. Original language is Mandarin, and that's the track I listened to. The remix on the Mandarin track contains the now standard synth logo, some new synth music, nothing too distracting. Also new foley, mainly of the incidental variety (chatter, footsteps, etc). The fight impacts are mostly original, but have been augmented in places with new foley (the clanging of metal weapons, etc).

The remix on the Cantonese track appears on first hearing to be different, but I think that's because the volume is louder and the foley clearer. The Mandarin sounds more muffled with its dialogue for example (as if it's played at 2/3 the volume). Note how Jenny Tseng's theme song sounds much tinnier and open on the Cantonese track. The Mandarin is far from Mono, but to me is marginally closer to it. But both are remixed - along the lines of Legendary Weapons of China, perhaps? - and at any rate purists won't be happy.

DEADLY DUO
Mr.Booth "One title that was absolutely ruined by the fx & music was DEADLY DUO"

A DEADLY SECRET
MrBooth Some new ambient sounds like rain, chains rattling (like little bells) and water splashing. Incompetently done as usual, but only occasional and not too distracting. Original audio has had too much noise-reduction or compression applied and sounds muffled. Not great, but acceptable. Some very minor augmentation of one piece of music with a synth. wtf?

DEATH DUEL
spannick01 5.1 DVD: pointless new music added for short moments, crickets at Night, new SB Logo, some new Birds. Nothing serious.

DEATH VALLEY
from harlem shaw: Presented in 5.1 Dolby Digital. This sound is thankfully left untouched by Celestial hands. There was one incedent of "Cicada" sound effects, but it was barely noticeable so more than likely part of the original soundtrack.

DEMON OF THE LUTE
Mr Booth (IVL, Cantonese): 90% mono, with some augmentation of just a few scenes - mostly of the music. Not too bad.

DESCENDANT OF THE SUN
MrBooth: This one's tricky - the DVD contains both Mandarin and Cantonese audio, and the audio mix is not the same on both - it's definitely more 'beefed' up on the Cantonese track. I don't think there are any added sound effects though, just a meatier mix, so it's quite possible that's how it was originally and Celestial have done no damage. The film *must* be watched in Cantonese anyway, because the voice acting on the Mandarin dub is shrill and doesn't fit the tone of the film

Markgway: Mandarin 5.1 remix. Not bad overall. Only really noticed new foley on the occasional explosions. Most other sound appears to be original. I'd file this under the watchable category.

THE DUEL
Spannick: New Synth added to the Surrounds, horrible new F/X during the whole Movie, all Originals can be heard underneath - unbearable.

DUEL OF FISTS
Spannick: Birds added. Applauding Crowds have been added to the Boxing Matches.

THE ENCHANTRESS
Markgway: Mono, original. No new music or effects.

FAKE GHOST CATCHERS
Markgway: 5.1 remix in Cantonese. Contains some new synth music, but it's used sparingly and in a rather low key fashion. No obvious new foley to my ears. If you can switch to a central speaker (I have a MONO button on my ancient stereo) this seems to render the film without any surround and is as close to an authentic experience as you can hope for from a remixed DVD. Much less offensive than usual.

FIVE TOUGH GUYS
Mr Booth Rife with new sound effects, mostly at the start of the film (lazy engineers!)

THE FUGITIVE
harlem shaw While it is 5.1 DD, it is left relatively untouched. There is one scene in a forest where there is an annoying looped effect that's supposed to sound like cicadas, but its hard to say whether Celestial added it or it's actually part of the original track. Other than this i could find no new sound FX or music to speak of.

GOLDEN SWALLOW
Spannick Birds, Fire Effects added for Scene where Wang Yu burns down the Castle after a Massacre.

HEROES OF THE EAST
from Markgway Remixed 5.1, New synth music and foley. Much of the original foley has been left, unlike certain titles, but is often augmented with new sounds. This is not as distracting for the most part as, say, The Spiritual Boxer, but will disappoint purists nonetheless. See when Yuka Mizuko kicks down a garden wall for example: it now sounds like she did it with dynamite. But weapons effects are not too bad.

THE HEROIC ONES
Spannick extensive Addition of new Synth Music, often replacing the whole Original Sound area. Birds, Crickets, Winds blowing, annoying new Fight F/X, out of synch Sound.
HK VCD and Australian DVD have Original Mono.

fusheng007 Heroic Ones Spanish DVD has original MONO. FRENCH DVD original MONO.

HONG KONG RHAPSODY
dleedlee: Bird virus.

THE INVINCIBLE FIST
MrBooth Some added ambients, rustles & birds etc. Fight foley mixed too low in early scenes but improves before long. Not too bad as these mixes go... just enough to be slightly annoying to those that are troubled by these things (like me)

THE JADE TIGER
fusheng007: FRENCH DVD... The audio hasn't been remixed, but excesss amounts of birds have been added on.

JUDGEMENT OF AN ASSASSIN
Spannick bad Example: new F/X all over the place, all originals can be heard underneath, often with different synching. avoid.

KING BOXER
MrBooth: Pretty severe. All the usual ambient noises like footsteps and beads have been added, too loud as always, and there are lots of new fight sounds (out of sync with the old sounds & on screen actions of course). The main menu features modern techno music, but thankfully they don't seem to have changed or added the music in the actual film.

KING EAGLE
MrBooth there do seem to be new sound effects added to this film, along with a souped-up Shaw Brothers theme (why?). However, it's been done much more competently than most, and to be honest was barely distracting. Still worse than *not adding anything at all*, but not reason enough to avoid this disc.

KILLER CLANS
Spannick Birds, Crickets added. annoying new F/X Added to Fight Scenes, as always the Originals can be heard underneath with different synching. HK VCD is Original Mono.

THE KINGDOM AND THE BEAUTY
Dleedlee: Suffering from 5.1 Bird Virus.

THE KUNG-FU INSTRUCTOR
Markgway 5.1 remix crap.

THE LADY ASSASSIN
Markgway 5.1 remix in both Mandarin and Cantonese (original language)
New foley and synth throughout. Opening credits theme has been tampered with as have lots of music cues. Fight foley has been augmented resulting in new clangs of metal weapons and body blow impacts. The usual added sounds (ie. footsteps) are omnipresent. Overall: a very poor effort.

MrBooth: Wow, so many new sound effects and music cues in this one that it's practically a new soundtrack! In some ways that actually turns out to be better than the half-hearted efforts we usually get, because at least everything is equally crap, so individual pieces of crapness don't leap out and smack you in the teeth so much. Still not as good as *adding absolutely nothing at all*, obviously.

THE LADY HERMIT
Mr.Booth This was the first DVD I watched on my new tv, so my ears aren't quite calibrated to the sound yet... but I think I can still safely say that the SFX butchery on this DVD falls into the 'severe' category... very obvious, with the original audio track often getting muted to almost silence to make room for the added tracks. For some reason it sounded like the stars were being followed by a swarm of bees for the last 20 minutes of the film too...

Spannick: i could not really believe it, but now i checked: LADY HERMIT has Cheng Pei Pei getting on the Horse (at approx 79 mins). the Horse moans loudly, sounding weirdly artificial....i was wondering if this was original and dug out my old VHS. the horse makes no sound at all. the absolutely hilarious fake-sound has been man-made in the celestial Studios....i STILL CANNOT BELIEVE IT. somebody PLEASE wake me up?

THE LEGENDARY WEAPONS OF CHINA
Mr.Booth one of the worst remix jobs Celestial have inflicted on us, it seems like the engineer tried to recreate an entirely new sound effects track from about 3 basic sounds, all layered on top of the original audio track as if by a deaf monkey. Almost ruins the film completely

LEGEND OF THE FOX
MrBooth Absolutely rife with new sound effects of every type, and some stupid stereo panning of the original soundtrack on occasion. I don't know if it's just because I'm getting used to it or they are actually improving, but the remixing didn't distract me *too* badly from the film. I watched the Thai disc, btw, but I'm sure it's the same as the HK release.

THE LIZARD
Spannick Birds, Crickets added. Some new Fight F/X Added, as well as Explosion F/X in the Finale. Australian DVD has Original Mono.

LOVE ETERNE
dleedlee: Bird virus. (not too bad but worse than the Cosmo disc)

MAGIC BLADE
Spannick Title Theme Music replaced with generic Synth Music. Crickets and Birds added. HK VCD is remixed too. Australian DVD and Malaysian VCD are Original Mono.

MAGNIFICENT WANDERERS
Spannick: unwatchable Mess with horrible Synth Music and New Effects mixed with the Original Mono still clearly audible.

MARCO POLO
Markgway 5.1 remix in Mandarin. Sadly, new foley and synth to be found throughout. More competent that before, perhaps, but just as obvious and intrusive. Even fight scenes - which sometimes escape the worst excesses - are tampered with here.

MARTIAL ARTS OF SHAOLIN
Mr.Booth "I *think* MARTIAL ARTS OF SHAOLIN had been tampered with too, but if so then it was much less obtrusive than others. Just some sound effects sounded out of place, but that might have been true of the original sound mix."

MARTIAL CLUB
Simon Wyndham "I finally received Martial Club today. Fantastic to see it in 2.35:1 at last with a superb picture! I have one MAJOR gripe however. This time Celestial really have outdone themselves in completely bollocksing up the sound!! WTF are the fighting sound effects doing in the surround channels?! I'm not talking about background fighting here, I'm talking about the sound effects of the main fighters on the screen! The bass is WAAAAY overblow too. There is NO WAY that Dolby approved this, absoluely no way. For the Dolby logo to be used they need to approve each sound mix and have a copy of the final product. With these new sound effects added I cannot for the life of me see how on earth Dolby gave them permission to use their trademark. The resultant effect is absolutely bizarre! I had to turn all surround functions off on my DVD player to get any semblence of bearable sound. They had better get these issues sorted bloody fast because it's completely ruining the films. "

NAVAL COMMANDOS
Markgway Mono.

ODE TO GALLANTRY
Spannick: seemed to be a "Center Channel Mono remix, some added Music & F/X in the surround channels annoyed me, but i switched it off.

ONE-ARMED SWORDSMAN
from spannick01 FRENCH DVD for first Movie in the Series has NEW ADDED Fight F/X both Mandarin and French! i was quite horrified to hear this crap, as the IVL DVD has NO added F/X! what the F*CK is going on here? is everybody getting insane? and they even lie to us when writing "Mono d'origine" on the Cover.

NEW ONE-ARMED AND RETURN OF ONE-ARMED
Spannick: NOAS is very audible and non-intrusive, RETURN OF AS has only some birds added, acceptable.

PROUD YOUTH
Spannick: Center Channel seems to be Original Mono, sourrounds have the most annoyingly cheap Synth-Music Celestial has unearthed yet.
Markgway[/b]
5.1 remix in Mandarin. New synth music and occasional foley. Noticeable, but not among the worst examples.

RAW COURAGE
[i]Markgway: Mandarin Mono.

RETURN OF BASTARD SWORDSMAN
Mr Booth This time the music is untouched, but there are a ton of new sound effects (fight sounds, footsteps etc)! Not too bad though - especially if you can turn the surround channels down or off.

RETURN OF THE ONE-ARMED SWORDSMAN
Spannick FRENCH DVD... in unscathed and has a charming Mono-Hiss Sound-Quality, NEW ONE ARMED seems original Mono also on the Mandarin Track. (do not EVER listen to the French track for the latter one - beats CHINESE BOXER in terms of synth Music!).

RETURN OF THE SENTIMENTAL SWORDSMAN
Markgway 5.1 remix. I listened to the Mandarin audio. New foley and synth score. HOWEVER, as these things go it's not that badly done. At worst I would consider this a MODERATE remix. If you fancy the film it's worth checking out the DVD.

MrBooth The usual new foley effects, worse at the start than the end (lazy engineers?). Not ruinous.

ROVING SWORDSMAN
Mr.Booth: ROVING SWORDSMAN suffers from added sound effects, mostly during fight scenes but occasionally elsewhere - metal clangs, cloth whooshes etc that are too loud and out of place, and detract from the viewing experience. Not one of the worse jobs, but enough to be a definite nuisance.

SHAOLIN TEMPLE
Spannick: Thunderstorm Effects, Birds. nothing serious.

THE SEXY KILLER
Markgway: The track is labeled on the packaging as 5.1 Mandarin but it sounded like Mono to me the whole way through (a tiny exception being feint chatter in a hospital which seemed separated).

SHAOLIN INTRUDERS
Markgway 5.1 remix in Cantonese. Skimmed thru this one as I saw it in full quite recently. Pretty good as remixes go. Some synth on the stereo, but the audio is mostly original mono. Not major complaints from me.

MrBooth Some rustles and footsteps, mildly-moderately distracting but worse in some scenes than others (some escape tampering altogether). Not too bad.

THE SINGING KILLER
harlem shaw: While the remixed audio does come in to play here, never to the point of distraction like so many other Celestial releases. You can expect the redone SB intro, a couple quick instances of new music,and some added FX during fight scenes (again, which there aren't many of).

SOUL OF THE SWORD
Spannick: Birds added, nothing serious. The German DVD is in Mono and has English Subs.

TALES OF A EUNUCH
from Markgway Remixed 5.1 with new foley (not awful) and new synth music (pretty awful). The biggest shock is in one comedy fight sequence the music goes -- wait for it -- TECHNO!! In a Shaw Bros Period movie!!! My jaw dropped.

TEMPLE OF THE RED LOTUS
Spannick: Music added, horrible new Sound F/X during Fights added. HK VCD is the same remixed Version, complete with Synth SB Logo. only old VHS seems to be intact Mono at the Moment.

THREE SMILES
dleedlee: Bird Virus.

TIGER KILLER (1982)
MrBooth New ambients (fire, birds, water wheels) liberally added, but no footsteps or fight foleys (not much fighting anyway) - distracting in places, but not enough to get very upset by (considering how much worse it could have been anyway)

TWINKLE, TWINKLE LITTLE STAR
dleedlee: Bird Virus

VENGEANCE
Spannick: Thunderstorm Effects, Birds. nothing serious. The German DVD is in Mono and has English Subs.


WANDERING SWORDSMAN
Spannick: unwatchable Mess with horrible Synth Music and New Effects mixed with the Original Mono still clearly audible.

WINNER TAKES ALL
Markgway: Cantonese Mono.

Examples of the pain (from shawscope.com)

If you wonder why people are annoyed or even want to see what the problem is then you need look no futher.

VCD Version
http://www.myonlinefiles.com/Shawscope/SB%...r_VCD_Intro.mpg

DVD Version
http://www.myonlinefiles.com/Shawscope/SB%...r_DVD_Intro.wmv

Some really detailed information from mwalkow

"I've spent some time looking through the last few batches of IVL DVDs I've bought and here's what I've found out:

They seem to have begun their 6.1 remixes with the Sept. 2nd batch. The ONE-ARMED SWORDSMAN set (released 8/5) has the standard 5.1 remixes. GHOST EYES and DUEL OF THE CENTURY (the only two of the 8/19 batch I purchased) are both mono. SPIRITUAL BOXER (released 9/2) has the 6.1 remix, as do ANGEL WITH THE IRON FISTS, CRAZY SHAOLIN DISCIPLES, DEADLY DUO (all released 9/24) and CHINESE BOXER (released 10/7).

The slightly less bad news is that there's a wide variation in the quality of these remixes. So far, I think I can divide them into three categories.

1) Relatively subtle 6.1 mixes, which sound similar to their standard 5.1 remixes. CRAZY SHAOLIN DISCIPLES is an example of this. On a 7-channel surround setup, most of the music, dialogue and f/x still comes from the center-channel speaker, closely resembling the original mono track. Only in the fight scenes do some of the sound f/x get diverted to the front left and front right speakers. There's the usual ambient teahouse noises and bird chirps coming from the surround speakers.

2) Obvious but not-too-offensive 6.1 remixes. CHINESE BOXER and SPIRITUAL BOXER are examples of this, though SPIRITUAL has the edge over CHINESE, which has some additional music monkeying happening in it. On these two DVDs, it's clear that something gimmicky is going on, but the added music and f/x are closely matched to the original soundtrack. You get a lot more f/x and audio coming from the front left, front right and surround speakers, but it's difficult to separate the "new soundtrack" from the original one.

3) Poorly-done, hack-sounding 6.1 remixes. ANGEL WITH THE IRON FISTS and THE DEADLY DUO are examples of this. I found these two DVDs nearly unwatchable. It sounds as if you're watching two separate DVDs - one with the original audio coming from the center-channel speaker, and another with the audio coming from the remaining five speakers. New sound f/x are poorly timed and do not cover the original f/x, added music is obtrusive and completely out of place with the original film, and dialogue is muddy and buried due to the audio remixing. I've decided I'm not even going to hold onto these DVDs after a first viewing, the audio is so bad.

This post has been edited by Mr Booth: May 17 2006, 04:37 AM