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The infamous Eddie Chan, member of Hong Kong's Crime Squad, is assigned to protect a millionaire real estate developer threatened with kidnapping by a powerful triad of groups.
For more about Crime Story and the Crime Story Blu-ray release, see Crime Story Blu-ray Review published by Dr. Svet Atanasov on May 6, 2011 where this Blu-ray release scored 2.5 out of 5.
Starring: Jackie Chan, Kent Cheng, Kar-Ying Law, Christine Ng, Ken Lo
Director: Kirk Wong
» See full cast & crew
Crime Story Blu-ray Review
Reviewed by Dr. Svet Atanasov, May 6, 2011
Winner of Best Film Editing Award at the Hong Kong Film Awards and Golden Horse Award for Best Actor at the Golden Horse Film Festival, Kirk Wong's "Zhong an zu" a.k.a "Crime Story" (1993) arrives on Blu-ray courtesy of Hong Kong-based distributors Kam & Ronson Enterprises. The supplemental features on the disc include the film's original theatrical trailer and video interview with director Kirk Wong. In Cantonese and Mandarin, with optional English and Traditional Chinese subtitles for the main feature. Region-A "locked".
Eddie Chan (Jackie Chan, Shinjuku Incident, The Myth), an honest Hong Kong cop, is ordered to protect a local businessman (Law Kar-Ying, Viva Erotica, Tricky Business) who fears that he could be the target of a kidnapping plot. He immediately performs a quick background check on the businessman and determines that his concerns are justified. Soon after, the businessman is kidnapped by a powerful gang with connections in Taiwan. Chan follows a lead and ends up in Taipei, where a portion of the ransom the kidnappers have demanded and received is wired.
Chan is accompanied by Hung (Kent Cheng, The Sensational Pair, The Bodyguard from Beijing), a seasoned cop whose opinion is well respected within the Police Department. With the assistance of the local authorities, the two quickly track down a man who has been communicating with one of the kidnappers in Hong Kong. The man leads Chan and Hung to a building on the outskirts of Taipei where the ransom money are delivered. After an intense shootout, during which Chan is seriously injured, the gang's local leader and his top men are eliminated, and the ransom money recovered.
Before heading back to Hong Kong, Chan sees Hung talking to one of the gangsters and then killing him, and realizes that he is secretly assisting his bosses. In Hong Kong, he immediately requests that Hung is monitored. Much to his surprise, however, he is told to focus on what matters - the kidnappers - and stop worrying about Hung. Shortly after, Hung, who is already aware that Chan suspects him, attempts to kills his partner on a ship that has been used by the kidnappers.
Inspired by a true story, Crime Story is a film that allowed Chan to prove that he could portray serious traits. In it the comedy elements that appear in many of his previous films are replaced by a stronger dramatic pulse, and the focus of attention is primarily on the events surrounding the kidnapping of the businessman.
The secondary characters are also not entirely overshadowed by Chan. There are important relationships between them that get as much attention as the action scenes where Chan does his usual tricks. Naturally, the dynamic progression of the film is a lot better than that of many of Chan's classic films.
Quite predictably, the action is sizzling. There are a number of wonderfully choreographed scenes from Taipei, and later on from Hong Kong, where Chan shines. Only a few, however, have the marquee comedic overtones that helped Chan become a superstar. The special effects in these scenes are also fairly modest.
Kirk Wong's direction is confident and motivated. There is a good balance between the action sequences and the dramatic scenes that ultimately gives the film a solid, stylish look. Cinematographer Arthur Wong (The 36th Chamber of Shaolin, Iron Monkey) and editor Peter Cheung (Police Story, Police Story II) are also to be commended for the film's consistent tempo.
Note: In 1993, Crime Story won Golden Horse Award for Best Actor (Jackie Chan) at the Golden Horse Film Festival. A year later, the film won Best Film Editing Award (Peter Cheung) at the Hong Kong Film Awards.
Crime Story Blu-ray, Video Quality
Presented in an aspect ratio of 1.86:1, encoded with MPEG-4 AVC and granted a 1080p transfer, Kirk Wong's Crime Story arrives on Blu-ray courtesy of Hong Kong-based distributors Kam & Ronson Enterprises.
Crime Story is yet another catalog release from Kam & Ronson Enterprises which uses a transfer that has been struck from a standard definition master. Naturally, detail is not is impressive as it could be. Clarity and contrast levels are also quite unstable, particularly during the nighttime footage. A lot of the close-ups also have a tendency to look overwhelmingly noisy, at times even blocky, while some of the larger panoramic scenes occasionally convey mild shimmering around the edges. This being said, this transfer still represents a step up in quality when compared to the transfer Joy Sales used for the old remastered R3 SDVD release of Crime Story. Color reproduction, in particular, is a lot stronger - both reds and blues are not breaking up as dramatically as they do on the SDVD and the blacks are better saturated. Various mild to moderate traces of edge-enhancement, however, are visible throughout the entire film. I also noticed quite a few minor flecks popping up here and there. For the record, there are no serious stability issues to report in this review. (Note: This is a Region-A "locked" Blu-ray disc. Therefore, you must have a native Region-A or Region-Free PS3 or SA in order to access its content).
Crime Story Blu-ray, Audio Quality
There are three audio tracks on this Blu-ray disc: Cantonese Dolby TrueHD 7.1, Mandarin Dolby Digital 5.1, and Thai Dolby Digital 5.1. For the record, Kam & Ronson Enterprises have provided optional English and Traditional Chinese subtitles for the main feature.
The Cantonese Dolby TrueHD 7.1 track is good, though occasionally slightly uneven. The bass, for instance, is lush and active, but the surround channels come alive primarily during the key action scenes. Also, there are specific sound enhancements that occasionally stick out (shattered glass). The dialog, however, is crisp, clean, and stable. Generally speaking, the English translation is decent, but I noticed more than a few spelling and syntax errors.
Crime Story Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Crime Story Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
Crime Story is yet another catalog Blu-ray release courtesy of Kam & Ronson Enterprises for which a proper high-definition master was not available. To be honest, I don't expect to see Miramax giving this film a Blu-ray release in North America, so you will have to decide for yourself whether or not it is worth importing it from Hong Kong. RENT IT first if you could.
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