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[Review] Mad Monk (HK)

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[Review] Mad Monk (HK)

Old 10-27-01, 05:18 PM
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[Review] Mad Monk (HK)

Mad Monk (1993) (Hong Kong)

Running Time: 88 Minutes

DVD - Thunder Media / Rytek All Code (R123456) NTSC

Picture - Cropped Letterbox

Sound - Mandarin Only mono (it might be stereo - not sure)

Subtitles - English and Chinese Burned-in Subs (hey - at least there are subs)

Extras - Chapter Search (DVD is featureless)

The Film - 7/10
The DVD - 2/10 (one because it's on DVD and another because it actually has subtitles)

Starring - Stephen Chow, Ng Man Tat, Maggie Cheung and Anthony Wong
Director - Johnny To

Mad Monk kicks ass. This film is about a god who is challenged and sent to earth to change the lives of a beggar, a prostitute, and a killer. Stephen Chow plays the god and he's brilliant as usual. He doesn't fall in love in this film, though which (as a reviewer over at HKMDB speculated) is probably why it did poorly at the box office. I found it to be delightful and very funny. It ranks somewhere in the upper-middle of his films for me. It's not among his funniest, but certainly outclasses many of his other works. It's up there with Royal Tramp, Chinese Odyssey and King of Beggars.

Let me just say that no good DVD of this movie exists (that I'm aware of). This is all we've got though since it's the only DVD or VCD that actually has subtitles (so I'm told). The first problem with this DVD is that it's in a Mandarin dub - and who the hell wants to listen to Stephen Chow in Mandarin? If I only spoke Mandarin, I'd still want to hear it in Cantonese - I mean half of Stephen Chow's comedy is his voice. So I only found this film to be half as funny as I should have.

Another problem is the transfer - it looks widescreen, but it's cropped at the sides - you've seen them before - it looks like they were trying to compromise between pan & scan and OAR. Also - the picture jumps up and down - and in my mind I picture this old old transer reel that's all rickety and the film jostles around and the machine is in this dirty chicken plucking assembly line warehouse and people are yelling at each other and there's blood and feathers everywhere... that's what the transfer makes me think about.

Anyway - the picture jumps, but the subtitles don't (and neither do the end credits which start scrolling up the screen over the "black bars"!!?), even though they are burned-in. It's strange, but I've seen it a few other places before. The print is a bit dirty and scratchy cuz it was never restored, cleaned or properly cared for - however, since it did so poorly at the box office, it didn't look all that bad having not been run through the projector very many times.

I strongly recommend this film
However - I can't recommend this DVD because it sucks. The worst is not being able to hear Stephen Chow's voice - the transfer and subtitles would be forgiveable if they only used the original track.

Last edited by Trigger; 10-27-01 at 05:33 PM.
Old 10-28-01, 06:18 AM
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Trigger:

Excellent review. Sounds like a great flick. I have heard of this one before and wondered what it was about. Also just want to say that I am new to this DVD talk thing and I think your reviews are pretty darn good.
Old 10-28-01, 06:20 AM
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haha - thanks... welcome to the forum.
Old 10-28-01, 12:56 PM
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I have to definitely recommend that people skip on the Thundermedia DVD. I myself tried to watch it, but the bouncing picture was too nauseating to sit through. I'd have to say this is the worst quality DVD I think we carry at HKFlix, a real letdown. Never seen anything so bad.
Old 10-28-01, 10:17 PM
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Originally posted by HKFlix
I have to definitely recommend that people skip on the Thundermedia DVD. I myself tried to watch it, but the bouncing picture was too nauseating to sit through. I'd have to say this is the worst quality DVD I think we carry at HKFlix, a real letdown. Never seen anything so bad.
I've seen worse, but the worst part about this disc is not being able to hear Stephen Chow's actual voice. I would avoid it also except that it's the only version I know of that has subtitles.

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