Monday, February 8, 2010

Ong-Bak: The Thai Warrior (2003)

Movie: 3/5
Video: 3/5
Audio: 4/5
Extras: 2/5
Overall: 3/5

Buy It If You Can Get It For Under $13!
WARNING: If you are an extremist for perfect 5/5 PQ, stop right now and pick another movie. The video is a 3 at best. The picture is very soft. Also, colors are very weak; you'd think when it's daylight it wouldn't look like there's a dirty sky like in the opening. Also, there's a scene where Ting (Jaa) is on fire, the colors of the flames look extremely weak.

The audio is another rough one; there's Thai and English DTS-HD 5.1. They sound weak and could be improved. Given this is Luc Besson's edit, you'd think he'd re-work the sound to make it top notch, but no. Simply put, outside of directing, Luc Besson is the French equivalent of Harvey Weinstein with getting films and butchering them.

Simply put, if you are fan of martial arts, then this is a good movie to get. Tony Jaa is a badass and he proves it in this film. However, FOX rushed this release to have it tie in with the release of Ong Bak 2. I'm hoping that film studios from Thailand break into the Blu-ray business and we can hopefully get a decent release of Ong Bak and finally see it the way it was meant to be seen. 3/5 for this rushed release. Avoid if you have pay more than $13.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Ong-Bak 2 (2008)

Movie: 5/5
Video: 5/5
Audio: 5/5
Extras: 5/5
Overall: 5/5

Very Solid Blu-Ray Release From Magnolia.

I thought the story was over all good. It showed that Tony Jaa has range as an actor as we see him happy, sad, in pain, all other types of emotions through out the film. The plot is pretty much the basic revenge plot. It starts out with Tony Jaa's character as a child on the run and he's put into slavery. He is quickly set free by a group of pirates who in turn raise him as one of their own.

I give the video a 5. I know some will probably disagree with me because in some shots, the film looks soft and blurry. I've noticed these types of shots in two of Jaa's previous films; Ong Bak and Tom-Yum-Goong. I question if these types of soft shots are meant to be artistic or just a possible problem with film stock. But, to me, in some of the shots, it works well.

I watched the film twice with both Thai audio and then the English dubbing; both are in 5.1 DTS-HD. Both soundtracks are very nice and loud, they will not disappoint. When the action scenes are going on, you can hear the elbows hitting the head; swords clashing; people yelling out in pain very clearly. The beautiful score for Ong Bak 2 flows very nicely with the rest of the audio on the disc; it is not too loud nor is it too quiet. I give the audio a 5 out of 5.

Magnolia offers a nice amount of special features on this release; granted most are in SD, but informative none the less. We have a behind the scenes that shows the whole filming process; interviews with the cast and crew; HDnet introduction for Ong Bak 2; US theatrical trailer; Original Thai trailer; the Alternate Europa Corp edit of the film which runs at 88 minutes; coming attractions from Magnolia; and the biggest one on here is the trailer for Ong Bak 3. A word of caution, avoid the Europa Corp edit of the film as it removes ten minutes of footage from the film and places the opening credits at the end and adds a new soundtrack that ruins the intensity of the original Thai version. Also, the music on the end credits has been replaced with a horrible French Rap song.

I give Ong Bak 2 a 5 out of 5 overall. It is a fun martial arts movie to watch; it has action and drama. The video presentation is amazing as well as both audio tracks on the disc. It has a ton of bonus material worth checking out. I got it for the price of $13 and it is well worth it.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Godzilla (1954)

Movie: 5/5
Video: 3.5/5
Audio: 5/5
Extras: 2.5/5
Overall: 4/5

The King of the Monsters is on Blu-ray!

A misconception about the video is that it is an upconvert from the 2006 DVD. That is not true. Classic Media got a film print of the Japanese version from Toho and they made a raw HD master from their extremely damaged print. They did not clean up and restore the print like Toho did with their releases, which is a shame because this could have looked even more awesome if they did restore the film. The audio, even for 2 channel, is very impressive; it sounds much better than the 2006 DVD release.

The extras are ported over from the 2006 DVD. Now, to address the biggest issue regarding to the U.S. version with Raymond Burr; Toho does not own an actual film print of the 1956 "Godzilla, King of the Monsters". Over the years, the film was replaced with a VHS copy of the film. I'm sure if Classic Media was to make an HD master of a VHS, it would look horrible. Now, there are film collectors out there who own an actual 16mm of the film but was rejected by Classic Media for the 2006 release, however they did get the end credits from a collector but did not use the whole film, which is a shame. Given that Japanese version looks great, despite the poor handling throughout the years, I give this release a 4/5 total.