City Hunter Blu-ray Review
Jackie Chan, what were you thinking?
City Hunter Film Review
Jackie Chan meets Japanese manga in this very acquired taste of a wacky action-comedy.A massively popular franchise, the City Hunter series made a rather unlikely transition to the Big Screen, pitching Hong Kong superstar Jackie Chan (who was only a few years away from cracking Hollywood) as its really weird protagonist - a really arrogant, easily distracted, private detective of sorts who is equal parts sex- and food-crazed, and who bumbles his way around a nonsense plot involving the missing daughter of a rich businessman, and a cruise liner full of terrorist.
It's not really that odd a fit - for Chan - as some of his humour (and, indeed, his stuntwork) has often involved slapstick and old-school physical comedy. The trouble is the added sex angle, which puts a kind of crude, lewd angle on the proceedings, which feel extremely cheesy, dated and very specific to the culture (although, curiously, it's a Japanese property).
Any Jackie Chan film where it takes over 40 minutes for him to bust some moves clearly needs its priorities realigned.
The further problem is that Chan injured himself during the production - which was already on a tight deadline to make the release date - leaving him doubled for some of the key stunts and fight scenes. So even if you could somehow tolerate the painful humour, odd characters, rampant dubbing (whatever language you watch it in, there's someone on-screen who isn't speaking it) and really odd dream sequences, just to see the fight scenes, it turns out to be pretty pointless as they're not actually that good.
The Die-Hard-on-a-cruise-ship plotting could have been done so much better with even a slightly more serious attitude (even the hilarious Police Story series took its plots seriously) and with Chan front-and-centre delivering his usual trademark stunts. Any Jackie Chan film where it takes over 40 minutes for him to bust some moves clearly needs its priorities realigned.
City Hunter Blu-ray PictureEureka bring City Hunter to UK Region B-locked Blu-ray complete with a brand new 1080p/AVC-encoded High Definition video presentation framed in the movie's original theatrical aspect ratio of 1.85:1 widescreen, struck from a new 2K remaster, and it shows. After 25 years, the film looks excellent, better than ever before.
After 25 years the film looks better than ever before.
Detail is excellent, despite the softer stylisation of the piece, bringing forth fine skin textures, hair details, background nuances and clothing weaves. The film has a very definite comic book style, which affords the presentation some tremendous pop, offering up myriad vibrant primaries - from the cars to the outfits - as well as a gorgeous deep blue hue that seeps across some of the cruise liner sequences. The palette is striking, with only really the black levels showing a hint of instability and, even then, it's manageable. Whilst almost as much of an acquired taste of a visual presentation as it is an acquired taste of a movie, City Hunter undoubtedly looks the best it ever has.
City Hunter Blu-ray SoundEureka afford the release a number of different tracks, including Cantonese DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, and an original Cantonese mono track, as well as alternative English dubs and optional English subtitles. As with most of Jackie Chan's output, there isn't really a perfect mix - in the Cantonese versions the English cast are dubbed, and in the English dub, Chan and most of the rest of the main cast are dubbed. But the original Cantonese option is definitely the preferred one, with the new six-speaker remix the better choice.
The original Cantonese option is definitely the preferred choice.
Dialogue remains well prioritised across the frontal array, whilst effects involve a few nice gunshots and fight sequences but also a bunch of over-the-top corny video-game-style 'effects' akin to the old Bam-Pow of the 60s Adam West Batman TV show. The score is terribly enthusiastic but also doesn't quite know what to do with the wacky material, struggling to keep pace as the tone drifts all over the shop, but at least affording the surrounds plenty of fuel to keep them engaged throughout.
City Hunter Blu-ray ExtrasEureka's remastered UK Blu-ray release of City Hunter affords the 1993 film a selection of solid, almost entirely Interview-based extras which are sure to please fans, with the set coming in a nice slipcase package.
A nice little set.
There are Interviews with the man himself, Jackie Chan, as well as with the director, stuntman Rocky Lai, and actor Gary Daniels, who had an early role here. There's also an Outtake montage. This is a nice little set, rounded off by a booklet too.
City Hunter Blu-ray VerdictEureka's set is great.
Although it's disappointing that the wacky, odd, City Hunter is not even worthy of being in the same sentence as Chan's Police Story and Armour of God films, it's nice to see Eureka dipping into a broader spectrum of titles from his backlog, giving hope to the other hidden riches that they might eventually hit upon.
Eureka's set is great, with excellent video and audio and a strong selection of extra features, leaving it a nice little addition to your Chan collection. That is, if you like the film.
Suggested retail price when reviewed: £14.99
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