Tai Seng Video Marketing
Cast: Andy Lau, Anthony Wong, Michelle Reis
Extras: Commentary Track, Making Of Featurette, Trailers, Filmographies
Through a series of mysteries, some of the world’s top research scientists are killed. Through combustion, their bodies literally disintegrate from one second to the other and following the string of deaths leads the police to Dr. Ken (Andy Lau) who may very well be the next victim in line. No one knows exactly what triggered the deaths but it seems clear that is not happening by accident. Protected by his friend, policeman Chiu Tai-Pang (Anthony Wong), Dr. Ken tries to figure out a clue to the killer, when suddenly he has a frightening vision. His dead fiancé (Michelle Reis), suddenly appears in front of him! At first everyone believes he was hallucinating, but shortly after, the dead girl reappears with an entire group of policemen assembled to witness the appearance.
Immediately Ken begins to search for traces to find his lost love and as he puts together the pieces he begins to suspect that the end of the world is near, and that he is the only one able to save the human race from Armageddon.
For what is almost atypical, "Armageddon" is a film where the focus is not solely on the physical action, but much more on the emotional distress Andy Lau’s character is going through, as well as the pain his friend has to deal with, knowing in what mortal danger Dr. Ken is. The feelings between the two ping-pong all the time and director Gordon Chan does a great job, giving each character enough space to wrestle with these emotional parts for the audience. It all culminates in the film’s furious finale, where the viewer is not only rooting so strongly for the main characters but finds himself engrossed by the sacrifices they are willing to make. Don’t worry, though, the action is never falling short in this explosive film and there are a great many scenes with big explosions and plenty of gunplay. The movie’s great opening in the laboratory will quickly put you in the right mindset for that.
The compression is good and no distracting compression artifacts are evident in the presentation of the movie, creating a truly pleasant viewing experience.
The disc contains the movie’s original <$5.1,5.1 channel> <$DD,Dolby Digital> audio track in Cantonese, as well as Mandarin and English Dolby Digital tracks as well. The track makes fairly aggressive use of the surround channels and creates a sound field that is wholly enveloping at times. Dialogues are well integrated, giving us a presentation that is always understandable and lines are never drowned out by sound effects or the music. The English dub is adequate, although the English subtitled Cantonese version is clearly to be preferred as it much more captures the essence and flair of the film. To me it just doesn’t feel right to hear Anthony Wong in a cheesy overdub.
The DVD also comes with a 25-minute "Making Of" Documentary that features cast and crew interviews as well as some behind-the-scenes footage from the set. The featurette is a nice addition, although it doesn’t really go in-depth on the production and is rather focused on discussing the story’s characters. The original Hong Kong trailer as well as the domestic trailer for "Armageddon" are also found on this DVD, together with cast and crew filmographies.