Fist Of The Red Dragon

Fist Of The Red Dragon (1993)
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
Cast: Donnie Yen, Yuen Kit, Ying Ng, mong Tat
Extras: Bonus Trailers

It consistently amazes me how Columbia TriStar Home Entertainment butchers Hong Kong films without showing any respect for the films or remorse for their doing. The latest example is ’Fist Of The Red Dragon.’ Don’t be surprised if you’ve never heard of this film before, because the marketing executives at Columbia TriStar decided to rename it, giving it their ’own’ unique flair, and, of course, to cheat audiences into believing they are actually looking at a new Donnie Yen movie. That, of course, is not the case, and only a cheap tactic to mislead buyers.
In fact, this is the 1993 production ’Su Qi Er,’ which is probably better known in the US as ’Hero Among Heroes.’ It is the story of Beggar Su who is caught in the middle of an Opium war that involves high level officers.

Once again we’re seeing a mediocre transfer here from Columbia TriStar Home Entertainment. While in anamorphic widescreen, the transfer has visible blemishes and speckles throughout, and occasionally also shows signs of edge-enhancement. Colors are fairly well reproduced, creating a number of rich and vibrant scenes. Detail however is occasionally murky and the transfer often becomes blurry and washes out fine details. The compression adequate, though unimpressive.

As for the audio… Let’s put it this way. Any Hong Kong movie that is released without the original language track is out of its league. There is no justification for releasing a poorly dubbed version of these films only and what Columbia TriStar is serving up here is simply ridiculous and shameful, offering only English and French dubs, and of course no extras.

’Su Qi Er’ is an intriguing film that shows us Donnie Yen as a very flawed character who has to go through some tribulations to find his vocation. Nicely choreographed and with great martial arts scenes, it is a film that knows how to entertain. Unfortunately, Columbia TriStar Home Entertainment has made it impossible to enjoy the film with their shoddy treatment once again, making me wish there were a law against the sort of violation they are continually putting on display with their Hong Kong movies. Do not buy this DVD, especially given its super-steep $25 price tag. Columbia TriStar Home Entertainment is clearly trying to cheat you into buying this film by using a misleading title, and then not delivering the goods with a bad and incomplete presentation of the film.