PictureImage wise things are pretty much in line with the style of the movie - eminently average. There is a bit of print damage and video noise, which along with a little help from the dreaded use of edge enhancement, robs the picture of any real detail leaving things looking a little soft and... average looking. If you want sharp, detailed and gloriously colourful images you'll have to check out Kung Fu Hustle - it's amazing the difference three years and a few millions on the budget makes!
SoundThis release of Shaolin Soccer comes with the choice of straight stereo, as well as Cantonese and Mandarin Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kbps) tracks and a Cantonese DTS (768Kbps) offering. I did compare the Mandarin and Cantonese tracks and found little between them, although it is obvious that the Mandarin version is dubbed - I'm not quite sure why, as I obviously couldn't understand a word, but I found the dubbed track a little off-putting... which is all kind of by the bye because I would choose the DTS track here every time! The moments of deep bass, and there are a few of them, are handled very well and at times my giant beanbag vibrated nicely. Surround channels aren't exactly overused, but they do their job pretty well and fill in nicely when required - dough making has never sounded so good! All in all I was quite impressed.
ExtrasFirst off we have the option of playing the extended Director's Cut of the movie. This is accessed by clicking on the Special Version tab and following the Chinese instructions... or, if you're a little more sensible than me, clicking on the English tab and then following the instructions! Kind of like “following the white rabbit” this means clicking on an icon when it pops up throughout the movie.
Unfortunately, Star Files does not have an “English” tab, so unless you can read Chinese these extras are pretty meaningless. Just as well then that the twenty-minute Making Of documentary brings those subtitles back. What comes across from this short is that Stephen Chow seems like a thoroughly nice chap - something confirmed by the strangely titled NG Footage. I guess this would normally be called Bloomers, and is a real blast... if only watching the actual movie could have been this much fun! Want to know how some of those special effects sequences were put together? Click on Special Effects and all will be revealed - although it is kind of short and sweet.
I've seen better supplemental features... but then I've also seen worse!
VerdictA rental if ever there was one.
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