PictureSadly, despite the promise of being “fully restored from the original film”, the anamorphic widescreen 2.35:1 image is pretty ropey by today's standards. Close up shots are actually quite detailed and reasonably sharp and noise is also kept in check for the most part. The real problem is with medium to long shots - here what appear to be horizontal scan lines rob the image of any semblance of clarity and the slightly soft image begins to look out of focus and gives away its origins. Edge enhancement is also pretty constantly used throughout. That being said, I would imagine this release is a major step forward when compared to any previous DVD outing.
SoundHmmm. Although The 36th Chamber comes with two Dolby Digital 5.1 tracks (Mandarin and Cantonese), both 384Kbps affairs, neither cuts the mustard here. Everything is very centre speaker oriented with zero surround effects and virtually zero left and right speaker excitement! Audio is clear and distinct and the English subtitles are often a little “obscure” to say the least. Not a DVD to impress friends and family with your latest A/V amp purchase, then.
ExtrasSupplemental features are pretty sparse and the pick of the few here would be the fifteen minute long Shaolin - A Hero Birthplace, with comments from Kung Fu legend Gordon Liu. Asides from a few trailers there's also some Movie Information, including a Photo Gallery, Production Notes, Biography and Selected Filmography.
VerdictA classic movie gets an bit of a DVD makeover. Probably one for the Kung Fu collectors out there.
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