Shanghai Express (1986) - Special Collector's Edition

Genre(s): Action / Martial Arts
Dragon Dynasty || PG13 - 96 minutes - $19.95 || May 29, 2007
Reviewer: Elyusha Vafaeisefat || Posted On: 2007-05-31


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.:: F I L M ::.
The Film

S P E C I A L
.: F E A T U R E S :.

Special Features

A U D I O &
.:: V I D E O ::.

Audio and Video

.:: O V E R A L L ::.
Overall
.::MOVIE INFORMATION::.
Director: Sammo Hung Kam-Bo
Writer(s): Sammo Hung Kam-Bo
Cast: Yasuaki Kurata, Biao Yuen, Sammo Hung Kam-Bo, Rosamund Kwan


Theatrical Release Date: NA


.::DVD INFORMATION::.
Supplemental Material:
  • Feature commentary with Hong Kong cinema expert Bey Logan
  • Way Out West: an interview with Yuen Biao
  • Trailblazer featurette with Cynthia Rothrock
  • Express Delivery: an interview with director and star, Sammo Hung
  • Hong Kong promotional trailer
  • US promotional trailer


Technical Information:
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Widescreen (1.66)
  • English (Dolby Digital 5.1)< Cantonese (Dolby Digital 5.1), Cantonese (Dolby Mono)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish

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.::THE FILM::.

Shanghai Express is the other newest Dragon Dynasty DVD release along with Above the Law. This film starts Sammo Hung who is more familiar to American audiences because of his work with Jackie Chan as well as his roles in numerous American TV series such as Martial Law or the classic Chuck Norris show "Walker, Texas Ranger". Shanghai Express in an interesting film because it is a kind of "Eastern Western" in terms of its influences and combinations of American and Asian filmmaking. Sammo Hung himself actually directs this action comedy which tells a story about a man who sabotages trains so that they will stop in a town where he has several business interests. This is somewhat of the main plot but there are also numerous sub-plots that don't seem to quite make sense. The film has a great deal of physical comedy and reminded me greatly of the silent films from Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton and Harold Lloyd. The film is actually well shot and well made overall given the fact that it is 20 years old.

The influence of American filmmaking is also prevalent throughout the course of the film. The final 15 minutes of the film are really quite good and makes one wish that they would have matched that intensity in the previous 75 minutes of the film. The fight choreography and directing the final sequence makes the film worth sitting through. Still, Sammo Hung does a solid job of keeping the audience entertained over the course of the film.



.::SPECIAL FEATURES::.

Once again, the Dragon Dynasty DVD includes an audio commentary by Bey Logan. Logan's wealth of knowledge on Asian cinema is quite impressive as he never falls short of showing off that he knows the film career of basically every actor in the film. Logan also discusses the different locations as well as topics such as how Hong Kong films don't typically sync their sound while they are shooting. In Hollywood films, the sound is synced up first and then the action is done while the action is done first and syncing is done second in Hong Kong films. It is understandable why they do it that way in Hong Kong films given the fact that there may be several dialects they to dub in post production.

Express Delivery: An Interview with Sammo Hung runs about 15 minutes and covers topics such as Hung's influences from other films as well as the fact that character is the thing that he emphasizes the most while he is writing his scripts. Given the fact that he is the director and the star (and one of the few Asian actors that American audiences recognize), one would only hope that the interview would be more detailed.

Trailblazer: An Interview with Cynthia Rothrock (24 minutes) is basically a continuation of the interview Dragon Dynasty had on the Above the Law DVD. Rothrock had a much smaller role in this film compared to Above the Law so her interview focuses more on her background as a female martial artist.

Way out West: An Interview with Yuen Biao runs about 20 minutes and Biao discusses working with Sammo Hung as well the budget, stunts and locations involved with the film.

The DVD also includes 4 deleted scenes that run about 6 minutes total as well as Hong Kong and U.S. Promo trailer.



.::AUDIO & VIDEO::.

The audio transfer on Shanghai Express shares the same problems that the Above the Law audio transfer had because of the dubbing. Still, I found the sound slightly better than the Above the Law transfer. Once again, Dragon Dynasty provides audio options in Cantonese 5.1 and Mono as well as English 5.1.

The video transfer is also fairly good as well. Sammo Hung and his crew do a great job with the shooting and overall look of the film given what the budget must have been compared to Hollywood filmmaking.



.::OVERALL::.

As with Seven Swords, The Protector and Above the Law, Dragon Dynasty continues to put together solid DVD packages for lesser known Asian films.

Shanghai Express is an interesting film given the fact that it blends many genres such as comedy, action, western, martial arts and silent films all into one. The impressive stunts as well as the well choreographed fight scenes make the film worth watching and worth owning for fans of Sammo Hung and his films.