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Chungking Express Blu-ray

United Kingdom
Chung Hing sam lam Artificial Eye | 1994 | 98 min | Rated BBFC: 15 | Jan 26, 2009

Chungking Express (Blu-ray)
Large:


Video
Codec: MPEG-4 AVC
Resolution: 1080p
Aspect ratio: 1.78:1
Original aspect ratio: 1.85:1

Audio
Cantonese: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
Cantonese: Dolby Digital 5.1

Subtitles
English

Discs
25GB Blu-ray Disc
Single disc (1 BD)

Playback
Region free

Price
List price: £19.99, Price history
Amazon: £13.50 (Save 32%)
New from: £6.99 (Save 65%)
Usually dispatched within 24 hours, FREE shipping in the UK

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Movie rating
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
8.1
141
ratings.


Blu-ray rating
Video 3.5 of 53.5
Audio 4.5 of 54.5
Extras 4.0 of 54.0
Be the first to review it!

Movie appeal

 
Drama100%
Foreign62%
Romance26%
Mystery13%
Comedy-
68%
popularity
210
collections
58
fans




Chungking Express

 (1994)

Chungking Express Blu-ray offers solid video and superb audio in this excellent Blu-ray release

Acclaimed Hong Kong New Wave director Wong Kar-Wai presents a kinetic, offbeat look at his city in these two stories. The first concerns a young woman who has been double-crossed in a heroin deal and her budding romance with a lovelorn cop. The second deals with another officer whose girlfriend has left him and the young waitress who tries to help him without his knowledge.

For more about Chungking Express and the Chungking Express Blu-ray release, see Chungking Express Blu-ray Review published by on where this Blu-ray release scored 4.0 out of 5.

Starring: Brigitte Lin, Tony Leung Chiu Wai, Faye Wong, Takeshi Kaneshiro, Valerie Chow, Chen Jinquan
Director: Wong Kar-wai

» See full cast & crew


Chungking Express Blu-ray, Video Quality

  3.5 of 5

Presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1, encoded with MPEG-4 AVC and granted a 1080p transfer, Wong Kar-Wai's Chungking Express arrives on Blu-ray courtesy of British distributors Artificial Eye.

The UK Blu-ray release of Chungking Express is bound to spur some very interesting discussions. First of all, unlike what the back cover for the disc indicates (an aspect ratio of 1.85:1), the UK release is actually framed in 1.78:1 (the Criterion release is in the correct aspect ratio of 1.66:1). Second, during the last 24 hours I have been testing and comparing the UK disc to the Criterion Region-A release, and, in my opinion, there are some notable differences between the two. The key ones are contrast, color-scheme, and, as noted above, framing.

Contrast – I am unsure whether or not you could tell from the screen grabs I have provided for this review, but the Artificial Eye release is notably darker. There are certain scenes where the blacks are so overpowering that clarity and contrast are directly affected. Strangely enough, during a lot of the daylight scenes contrast is dramatically improved, and in my opinion far superior to that seen on the Criterion release.

Color-scheme – What I see on the Artificial Eye disc is a heavy bluish tint that seems to be very consistent with the film's ambient look. I have been going back and forth between this release and the Criterion disc, and the more I look at the two the more uncertain I am which one I prefer. Part of me likes the bluish tint on the Artificial Eye disc as it certainly resonates better with the film's marquee ambient look (the slow camerawork is far less distracting). Yet, I know that the Criterion transfer was supervised by Wong Kar-Wai. This being said, next to the Artificial Eye release the Criterion transfer looks notably redish (the skin tones in particular look quite different).

Framing – Well, this one should be easy. Obviously, the fact that Artificial Eye have slightly cropped their release to 1.78:1 from the film's original aspect ratio of 1.66:1 gives Criterion the edge. There is nothing more to be said, really, though in reality the difference between 1.66:1 and 1.78:1, particularly with overscanning , is negligible.

This being said, the transfer Artificial Eye have provided is very healthy. It is practically free of disturbing edge-enhancement and macroblocking patterns as well as debris, dirt, and scratches. Unlike the Criterion disc, the Artificial Eye release is also Region-Free. Therefore, you will be able to play the UK Blu-ray disc on your PS3 or SA regardless of your geographical location (for the record: the menu is not in PAL).


Chungking Express Blu-ray, Audio Quality

  4.5 of 5

There are two audio tracks on this Blu-ray disc: Cantonese DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 and Cantonese Dolby Digital 5.1. I certainly could not tell if the Criterion DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track, which was supervised by Wong Ka-Wai, is different than the one Artificial Eye have secured for their release. I did some random comparisons between the two discs and, frankly, they sound identical to me (I would recommend listening to the sax theme if you wish to hear whether or not there are any nuanced differences between the two tracks). This being said, the overall quality of the DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track is exceptional. The track is far more convincing than what the SDVD Criterion release offers via its Dolby Digital 5.1 mix, and I would certainly argue that it is a good enough reason to consider upgrading. For the record, I did not detect any disturbing pops, cracks, or hissing. Artificial Eye have also provided optional English subtitles (and they are not Americanized – color versus colour, etc).



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