Archive for the ‘Blu-ray Wish List’ Category

UPDATED: Blu-ray Wish List: John Woo's The Killer

UPDATE: This is exciting news indeed for all fans of Hong Kong cinema: John Woo’s seminal work The Killer will be hitting blu-ray on March 30 courtesy of Vivendi and their Dragon Dinasty label. Let’s hope this one lives up to the high expectations out there!

It’s been a while since I wrote a Blu-ray wish list feature, but as we commence this new year, I felt compelled today to revisit it simply because of the wonder and hope that it brings me when I start pondering the idea of seeing some of my favorite movies on high definition.

As I began to narrow my list of films for this article, I started looking for seminal works that could potentially help usher in a new wave of releases for Asian films on Blu-ray. I did not have to look very hard. In my previous Wish List article, I referenced a classic film that stood at the top of the Asian crime genre, a film so influential that it helped define the rules for countless action films (and video games) that followed–not to mention turning a director and actor pair into pop culture phenomena of their own.

That movie is John Woo’s The Killer.

Released in 1989, the Chow Yun Fat vehicle is today one of the greatest and most beloved action movies of all-time. But the film is not just about the creativity of its bullet ballets and inspired action set-pieces, it is also a labor of love, and it is that sense of dedication and artistry that permeates every frame. Each shot is crafted to perfection and each movement coordinated with a purpose. This is the kind of film I want to see on Blu-ray.

Blu-ray Release Prospects: Average -> It is hard to imagine a film of this stature not get some kind of 20th anniversary treatment on home video, and it is this fact that gives me the most hope for a Blu-ray version to be released in 2009. Not to mention the fact that John Woo has just successfully resurrected his ailing career with the Red Cliff movies. Of course, I could be totally wrong, and the suits making these kinds of decisions may pass on the idea–but that, to put it bluntly, would be a killer mistake.

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Blu-ray Wish List Explained: It’s fair to say that at this junction in the growth of Blu-ray, the slow trickle of new Asian Blu-ray releases can sometimes feel unbearably slow. But as we begin to see a trend towards day-and-date DVD and Blu-ray release dates (or close to it) for new movies, we can start to find great new titles like Warlords and Red Cliff getting the HD treatment. In our Wish List feature, our aim is to shine a light on upcoming theatrical releases or noteworthy catalogue titles that we think would rock on Blu-ray. And we also provide a score on a scale of 1 to 4 (Poor > Average > Good > Excellent) to give our opinion on the chances of that movie actually making it to Blu-ray.

What is on your Asian Blu-ray Wish List? Drop us a line or comment and tell us about it. The more buzz and demand we put out, the easier the decision to release these titles on Blu-ray becomes for the movie companies involved.



Blu-ray Wish List: Police Story Trilogy

UPDATE: Okay, that was fast. Just one day after I published this article, we find out that Police Story is coming to blu-ray in June!

As some of you may have already heard, Fortune Star has recently entered into an agreement with Kam & Ronson to release a number of movies on the Blu-ray format. The good news is that they have already revealed plans to release four Bruce Lee movies under the deal, and the even better news is that those four should mark just the beginning of their efforts to expand their Blu-ray footprint. Since Hong Kong-based Fortune Star owns the rights to over 600 movies (most of which they’ve already released on DVD), much speculation has started floating around about their next big catalogue releases.

 
Police Story headed for Blu-ray?

For me, one movie (or rather trilogy) comes to mind above all others in contention: Jackie Chan’s Police Story (and no, I don’t include First Strike or New Police Story in here, are you kidding?). Released as a trilogy box-set by Fortune Star/IVL back in 2004, these films stand as a reminder of the sheer determination and creativity of an action superstar in his prime.

I grew up watching these movies and always take pleasure in revisiting them every year. But over the years, something always kept me from enjoying them to the fullest extent: the audio/visual presentations. I’ve owned many versions of these movies–from cassette tape to DVD–but these transfers always left me cold. And while Fortune Star’s “Digitally Remastered” 2004 effort was commendable, it still fell short of my expectations. At some level, I guess I always wanted to have these films in the most integral presentation possible–short of owning an original film print.

Blu-ray Release Prospects: Excellent -> With the advent of high definition, I knew it was only going to be a matter of time. With the prospect of Fortune Star and Kam & Ronson looking to invigorate their position in the Blu-ray marketplace, I feel confident my wishes are about to come true.

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Blu-ray Wish List Explained: In our Wish List feature, our aim is to shine a light on upcoming theatrical releases or noteworthy catalogue titles that we think would rock on Blu-ray. And we also provide a score on a scale of 1 to 4 (Poor > Average > Good > Excellent) to give our opinion on the chances of that movie actually making it to Blu-ray.

What is on your Asian Blu-ray Wish List? Drop us a line or comment and tell us about it. The more buzz and demand we put out, the easier the decision to release these titles on Blu-ray becomes for the movie companies involved.



Blu-ray Wish List: Election and Election 2

Just for the record: I’m a big fan of Johnnie To. I await with anticipation the release of each of his new films, and more often than not, I find myself drawn into the worlds he creates on the screen with a sense of glee and amazement. Original, talented, inspiring, challenging, and prolific are all terms that I would use to describe him has a filmmaker. His body of work is filled with vital Hong Kong hits such as A Hero Never Dies and Exile. But in recent years, To has managed to cement his status as one of Asia’s true cinematic maestros due in no small part to the Election movies.

To me (and many others judging from Rotten Tomatoes‘ scores for both films), Election and Election 2 (aka Triad Election) are modern classics that easily rank at the top of the Hong Kong crime genre alongside classics like A Better Tomorrow, The Killer and Infernal Affairs. Given the city’s illustrious history in the genre, these two films are truly exceptional works that deserve the best of treatments. That is why they are at the top of my Blu-ray Wish List.

Not convinced? Well, we can’t show you the films here, but how about a look at their trailers:

Blu-ray Release Prospects: Good -> The bad news: Hong Kong catalogue Blu-rays have been few and far between. The good news:  Johnnie To has four films on Blu-ray (Exile, PTU, Mad Detective, and Sparrow), tops among directors. The bottom line: Johnnie To’s movies are international in their appeal, and the Election movies are a perfect example of a universal cinematic language capturing the attention of moviegoers everywhere. We expect (and perhaps demand) that these 2 movies come out on Blu-ray. We’re waiting.

Blu-ray Wish List Explained: It’s fair to say that at this junction in the growth of Blu-ray, the slow trickle of new Asian Blu-ray releases can sometimes feel unbearably slow. But as we begin to see a trend towards day-and-date DVD and Blu-ray release dates (or close to it) for new movies, we can start to find great new titles like Warlords and Red Cliff getting the HD treatment. In our Wish List feature, our aim is to shine a light on upcoming theatrical releases or noteworthy catalogue titles that we think would rock on Blu-ray. And we also provide a score on a scale of 1 to 4 (Poor > Average > Good > Excellent) to give our opinion on the chances of that movie actually making it to Blu-ray.

What is on your Asian Blu-ray Wish List? Drop us a line or comment and tell us about it. The more buzz and demand we put out, the easier the decision to release these titles on Blu-ray becomes for the movie companies involved.



Blu-ray Wish List: Wushu - The Young Generation

From executive producer Jackie Chan comes Wushu - The Young Generation, a martial arts drama starring Sammo Hung and an ensemble cast of new talent. Wushu was filmed on location at an actual martial arts school in China using real students as its star performers. Directed by Anthony Szeto, the film is somewhat of a vehicle for up-and-comers Wang Wenjie and Liu Fengchao.

The team of veterans supporting these young guns undoubtedly gives the production a certain prestige, but these youngsters have some mighty big shoes to fill and it will certainly be interesting to see how it all comes together.

Check out the extended trailer/preview below:

Wushu was release in theaters on October 23, 2008.

Blu-ray Release Prospects: Good -> As a China/Hong Kong co-production, it is harder to find precedent to judge the release of this movie on Blu-ray. However, given the big names attached (ie. Jackie Chan and Sammo Hung), this movie will most likely come to Blu-ray sooner rather than later.

Blu-ray Wish List Explained: It’s fair to say that at this junction in the growth of Blu-ray, the slow trickle of new Asian Blu-ray releases can sometimes feel unbearably slow. But as we begin to see a trend towards day-and-date DVD and Blu-ray release dates (or close to it) for new movies, we can start to find great new titles like Warlords and Red Cliff getting the HD treatment. In our Wish List feature, our aim is to shine a light on upcoming theatrical releases or noteworthy catalogue titles that we think would rock on Blu-ray. And we also provide a score on a scale of 1 to 4 (Poor > Average > Good > Excellent) to give our opinion on the chances of that movie actually making it to Blu-ray.

What is on your Asian Blu-ray Wish List? Drop us a line or comment and tell us about it. The more buzz and demand we put out, the easier the decision to release these titles on Blu-ray becomes for the movie companies involved.



Blu-ray Wish List: Ip Man

EDIT: Ip Man has been announced on Blu-ray! Head over to our release dates page for more info.

For those of you following Donnie Yen’s ascent to kung fu super-stardom, his most recent effort is as exciting as it gets. Yen and partner-in-crime director Wilson Yip renew their partnership with Ip Man, easily one of the most anticipated martial arts movies of 2008.

Ip Man is a biopic of famed Wing Chun Grandmaster Yip Man (aka Ip Man), who also happened to be Bruce Lee’s kung fu teacher. Sammo Hung also joins his SPL teammates as fight choreographer. Check out the short teaser below:

Ip Man will be in theaters in December 2008. Visit the movie’s official website at www.ipman-movie.com.

Blu-ray Release Prospects: Excellent -> Considering the fact that both SPL and Flash Point (both with Donnie Yen and Wilson Yip) have been released to Blu-ray to considerable success, we think the chances of Ip Man making it to Blu-ray are all but a lock. We suspect it will be a top-notch release given the film’s high profile status.

Blu-ray Wish List Explained: It’s fair to say that at this junction in the growth of Blu-ray, the slow trickle of new Asian Blu-ray releases can sometimes feel unbearably slow. But as we begin to see a trend towards day-and-date DVD and Blu-ray release dates (or close to it) for new movies, we can start to find great new titles like Warlords and Red Cliff getting the HD treatment. In our Wish List feature, our aim is to shine a light on upcoming theatrical releases or noteworthy catalogue titles that we think would rock on Blu-ray. And we also provide a score on a scale of 1 to 4 (Poor > Average > Good > Excellent) to give our opinion on the chances of that movie actually making it to Blu-ray.

What is on your Asian Blu-ray Wish List? Drop us a line or comment and tell us about it. The more buzz and demand we put out, the easier the decision to release these titles on Blu-ray becomes for the movie companies involved.