The year is 1976, and the Vietnam war has just ended. In a Dirty Dozen-style plotdevelopment, ten military prisoners are recruited to be flown into Vietnam to blow up a depotof missiles abandoned by the US army. Heading up the motley crew is the unjustly convictedSammo Hung. In-country, then hook up with female Cambodian guerillas. No one, other thanthe colonel leading the mission, knows precisely what their orders are.
What follows is a stirring serie… of battles, captures, escapes, and more battles. The fightscenes are bone-crunching, and are accompanied by spectacular, wince-inducing stunt work. Thetone can veer from the jokey to the grim, with the result that you are never assured of the survivalof any of the characters. This is one slam-bang hour-and-a-half.
Though the sound comes in both 5.1 and DTS mixes, the overall result is disappointing (eventaking into account the fact that the film dates back to 1986). On the Cantonese track, momentsof English dialogue are extremely muzzy and distorted. There is no such problem on thedubbed English track, but there you have the other drawbacks that come with dubbing. As forsound effects, the impression left is of a mono soundtrack overlaid with a few surround elements.So bullet ricochets are fine, but explosions are lackluster, there is little by way of environmentaleffects, and flat, thin sound tends to suck energy out of the action scenes. The music comes offbest in this mix, with a solid bass line.
The picture is quite a bit better than the sound, a very clumsy layer transitionnotwithstanding. There are some grainy moments in the early goings, but by and large the grainlevel is minimal. The blacks are very deep, and the contrasts are strong, providing extremelyeffective night sequences. The colours are solid, and there are some shots of quite extraordinarybeauty. The aspect ratio is 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen, but the slight cropping of the creditssuggests that the original format might be 2.40:1.
As with the other films in the Honk Kong Legends series, there are the new and originaltrailers for the feature, and trailers for the other films in the series. The menu’s main and specialfeatures pages are animated and scored, while the other pages are scored.
Very exciting stuff, poor sound aside. Fans of Hong Kong action will not bedisappointed.
Special Features List