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Set in 1990s Tokyo, centers around the lives of Chinese immigrants in Japan.
For more about Shinjuku Incident and the Shinjuku Incident Blu-ray release, see the Shinjuku Incident Blu-ray Review
Starring: Jackie Chan, Naoto Takenaka, Daniel Wu, Yasuaki Kurata, Bingbing Fan, Suet Lam
Director: Derek Yee
» See full cast & crew
Shinjuku Incident Blu-ray Review
Reviewed by Dr. Svet Atanasov, March 16, 2010
Yee Tung-Shing's "Shinjuku Incident" (2009) arrives on Blu-ray courtesy of British distributors Showbox Media. The supplemental features on the disc include a making of featurette; interviews with Jackie Chan, Daniel Wu, Xu Jinglei, Masaya Kato, Naoto Takenata, Chin Kar Lok, and Peter Kam; eight behind the scenes featurettes; trailers; and TV spots. With optional English subtitles. Region-Free.
Shinjuku Incident is a surprisingly violent film that apparently caused all sorts of problems after it was screened at the Hong Kong International Film Festival earlier this year. Chinese authorities reportedly limited its exposure to a very small number of theaters.
The story of Shinjuku Incident takes place in Tokyo, where a young Chinese immigrant, Steelhead (Jackie Chan, Armour of God II: Operation Condor), begins looking for his loved one, Xiuxiu (Xu Jinglei, The Warlords). He befriends Jie (Daniel Wu, Legend of the Black Scorpion) and Old Ghost (Suet Lam, Sparrow), who are also in Tokyo illegally.
Jie and Old Ghost quickly teach Steelhead how to survive on the streets of the Japanese capital. They help him get a job at a massive dumpster where he witnesses a terrible incident. The event forces Steelhead to realize that without papers immigrant life could be a very unpleasant experience.
Steelhead sees Xiuxiu at a chic Japanese restaurant where she is accompanied by a respected Yakuza boss, Eguchi (Masaya Kato, Brother). She has a different name now, Yuko, and a child. As she walks away from the restaurant, her eyes meet Steelhead's eyes. Later on, Eguchi asks Yuko about Steelhead.
This is where the story of Shinjuku Incident gets a bit complicated. Earlier in the film, Steelhead quickly helps inspector Kitano (Naoto Takenaka, Shall We Dance?) from the Tokyo Police Department, who falls in a giant sewer and nearly drowns. This man appears again after Jie has his hand cut off by a group of Taiwanese goons who decide to punish him because he strikes a conversation with the daughter of a restaurant owner who pays them for protection. Steelhead and Old Ghost's friends – the majority of them illegal Chinese immigrants – confront the Taiwanese goons and all hell breaks loose. During the confrontation, Steelhead learns that the Taiwanese goons, backed by an influential Yakuza faction, are planning to kill Eguchi and his men.
Steelhead saves Eguchi's life. Shortly after, he is allowed to organize the Chinese immigrants and set up a profitable business. Egushi also guarantees that Steelhead's men would not be bothered by other Asian gangs. However, many of Eguchi's own men oppose his decision. They fear that the Chinese would grow strong and eventually would challenge them. Inspector Kitano appears visits Steelhead and warns him that his union with Egushi would cause all sorts of problems. When Jie starts dealing drugs with Eguchi behind Steelhead's back, and some of the most prominent Yakuza bosses agree to oust Eguchi because of his dealings with Streelhead and his men, inspector Kitano's words prove true.
The presence of legendary HK action star Jackie Chan as well as a strong group of supporting actors should convince many to see Shinjuku Incident. Chan is excellent as the Chinese immigrant Steelhead, though many of his hardcore fans will likely be surprised by his character's complex personality. Suet Lam, Daniel Wu, and especially veteran Japanese actor Naoto Takenaka impress as well.
While there are a number of individual scenes that work quite well, as a whole Shinjuku Incident isn't overly persuasive. The abundance of subplots, for instance, is notably distracting. The graphic violence is also suitable for parts of the film, but elsewhere it feels redundant.
Cinematographer Nobuyasu Kita's (Takashi Miike's Crows Zero II) contribution should grant him access to other high-profile projects. Award-winning composer Peter Kam's (The Warlords) score is surprisingly strong.
Shinjuku Incident Blu-ray, Video Quality
Presented in an aspect ratio of 2.35:1, encoded with MPEG-4 AVC and granted a 1080p transfer, Yee Tung-Shing's Shinjuku Incident arrives on Blu-ray courtesy of British distributors Showbox Media.
This high-definition transfer looks slightly better than the one Joy Sales Films and Video Distribution used for the Honk Kong release of Shinjuku Incident. What I immediately noticed noticed while viewing the film is that a lot of the darker scenes look tighter and less noisy. Overall, the UK transfer also has slightly richer, better saturated colors. Take a look, for example, at capture #12 from our review for the HK release of Shinjuku Incident and then take a look at capture # 11 from this review. Look at the giant cube right in the middle of the capture -- the reds on the UK release are brighter and richer; on the HK release they are slightly darker. Elsewhere, there are similar examples that also reveal a marginally better contrast on the UK release. For the record, the HK transfer is placed on a BD25; the UK transfer is placed on a BD50.
Edge-enhancement and macroblocking are never a serious issue of concern. Generally speaking, fine object detail, clarity and contrast levels are very pleasing. There are no serious stability issues either. Finally, I did not detect any large debris, cuts, warps, stains, or dirt to report in this review. (Note: This is a Region-Free Blu-ray disc. Therefore, you will be able to play it your PS3 or SA regardless of your geographical location. For the record, there is no PAL data preceding the main menu).
Shinjuku Incident Blu-ray, Audio Quality
There are two audio tracks on this Blu-ray disc: Cantonese DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 and English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1. Additionally, Showbox Media have provided optional English subtitles for the main feature. When turned on, they split the image frame and the black bar below it.
The Cantonese DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track is solid. The bass is potent, the high-frequencies not overdone, and the rear channels intelligently used. As I noted in my review of the HK release of Shinjuku Incident, there are few neat surround effects throughout the film that benefit greatly from the loseless audio. Award-winning composer Peter Kam's score is also treated well. Finally, the dialog is crisp, clear and very easy to follow. I also did not detect any disturbing pops, cracks, or hiss to report in this review. I tested a few scenes with the English dub, and my impression of it is that it is rather hilarious.
Shinjuku Incident Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Note: The majority of the supplemental features on this disc are in PAL. Therefore, if you reside in North America, or another region where PAL is not supported, you must have a Region-Free player capable of converting PAL to NTSC, or a TV set capable of receiving native PAL data, in order to view them.
Making of - a standard featurette in which cast and crew members share their thoughts about the film. Raw footage from the film's shooting is included. (17 min, PAL).
Interview gallery - interviews with Jackie Chan (25 min), Daniel Wu (19 min), Xu Jinglei (18 min), Masaya Kato (12 min), Naoto Takenata (11 min), Chin Kar Lok (16 min), Peter Kam (5 min). The actors discuss their characters as well as the unusually violent story the film tells. Peter Kam quickly addresses what he was trying to accomplish with his soundtrack.In Cantonese and Japanese, with optional English subtitles. (PAL).
Behind the Scenes - a gallery of eight featurettes focusing on the pre-production of the film, the technical difficulties the cast and crew had to overcome, the discussions addressing the main and secondary characters and their placement in the story, the action scenes, the fans and their reception of the film, etc. The eight featurettes are: "Preproduction" (14 min), "The Critical Scenes" (16 min), "Action Sequences" (16 min), "The Director"(12 min) , "Difficulties" (10 min), "Hong Kong-Japan" (20 min), "Daniel Wu" (10 min), and "Japanese Fans" (10 min). In Cantonese and Japanese, with optional English subtitles. (PAL).
Trailer gallery - the original trailer (1080p), teaser trailer (1080p), UK Promo Trailer (1080p), TV Spot 1 (PAL), TV Spot 2 (PAL), TV Spot 3 (PAL).
Shinjuku Incident Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
I am impressed with Showbox Media's Blu-ray release of Yee Tung-Shing's Shinjuku Incident. Their high-definition transfer is marginally better than the one found on the Hong Kong Blu-ray release courtesy of Joy Sales Films and Video Distribution. Furthermore, Showbox Media have also added up some very strong exclusive supplemental features. With other words, if you do not yet have this film in your library but would like to, go for the Showbox Media Blu-ray release - at the moment, it is the best all-around package. RECOMMENDED.
Shinjuku Incident Blu-ray, News and Updates
• No Shinjuku Incident Blu-ray in the US - March 29, 2010
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment has announced the Jackie Chan action thriller Shinjuku Incident for home video. However, no Blu-ray version has been announced – only standard-definition DVD. The press release gives no reason for this, nor does it indicate if a ...
• Shinjuku Incident Blu-ray Announced - January 15, 2010
Cine Asia has announced 'Shinjuku Incident', a 2009 crime/action thriller starring Jackie Chan and set in Japan, for release on Blu-ray in the UK on February 22. Audio options will include the original language (Cantonese and Japanese) in DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, ...
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