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REVIEW: Dry Wood Fierce Fire - WideSight DVD release

Old 06-16-02, 01:04 AM
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REVIEW: Dry Wood Fierce Fire - WideSight DVD release

Dry Wood, Fierce Fire

Written and Directed by: Wilson Yip
stars: Miriam Yeung, Louis Koo
supporitng casts: Flora Chan, Wyman Wong, Tubo Law, Yeun King Dan, Cheung Tat Ming, Chapman To, Matt Chow, Nelson, Cheung, Joe Li

Synopsis:
The synopsis on the DVD case is all in Chinese, except for the words Alice, Ryan and Michelle.
Here's my version:
Alice (Miriam Yeung) works for a womens magazine, which has just merged with a Mens magazine. On her first day of working at the new office after the merger, she falls for Ryan (Louis Koo), who is the editor-in-chief for the mens magazine. But Ryan is infatuated by the boss lady, Michelle, that owns both magazines. As they work more together, they start to become friends, and Alice starts helping Ryan with trying to impress Michelle, by decorating his apartment, shopping, etc... even giving the task a codename of "Saving Private Ryan"!
Will Ryan impress Michelle? How will Alice win Ryan's heart?


Thoughts:
Miriam continues with another fun romantic comedy, after Love Undercover and Dummy Mummy, Without A Baby.
Miriam and Louis has pretty good chemistry here, and both were definitely having fun making this movie.
Some scenes actually border on being out-takes, as they seem to be laughing off key! The supporting characters contain the usual suspects, with her parents providing a nice distraction.
Miriam does some pretty funny martial arts stuff here, including a Bruce Lee homage and a Wong Kar-Wai/Ashes Of Time style photography/editing of a fight scene! Great stuff...
If you like the recent string of romantic comedies from Hong Kong, you will surely like this. There's really not too much to say about this movie, as it's the usual fluffy stuff that is dominating Hong Kong cinema.
Oh, this is the first HK movie where I have seen the words "sex of anal" being used!


DVD info:
Distributor: WideSight
catalogue: WSDVD1239
DVD-5
All region
NTSC
1.85:1 ratio non-anamorphic letterbox
Stereo Cantonese and Mandarin language
optional subtitles: Traditional Chinese, Simplified Chinese and English
running time: 101 mins
rating: IIB

Extras:
6 chapter stops, with looping video of the scene.
Trailer of the movie is incuded, but is of poor quality.
One deleted scene is included, but does not have any subtitles.
audio and subtitle selection menu

NOTE:
The DVD cover states that this is an extended version of the movie, but gives no details of what was extended. Maybe they mean the included deleted scene?

Image:
Image is quite clean, with only some minor and tiny scratches, and is fairly un-noticeable. Some scenes are on the grainy side. What is noticeable, but luckily does not last long, is a verticle black line on the image about one hour into the movie. Colours are properly saturated, but the image, on the whole, is too dark. Shadow detail is also quite low.

Subtitles are white with black border, using the proper size, and is very easy to read.
The subtitles are located on the image. There are some spelling mistakes, but the diction is good.
All dialogue is translated, but they do fall behind in some scenes.
Also, the English translations are simplified translations of what the characters are saying on screen. It still works, but I'd have preferred a more accurate translation. example: "Are you listening on my conversion?" is translated to "You bug me?" But this doesn't happen too often, and overall, the translation is quite good.
But they do not translate writings and text on objects, which would have been usefull on two scenes.

NOTE:
There is a U.S. release of this movie by Tai Seng, and reports are, it has a large chunk of missing subtitles.

The audio is quite weak. It's only in stereo, and the dynamic range is poor. Still quite listenable, but could have been much better. The nice songs in the movie would have benefited from a Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack.


Ratings:
Movie: 7/10 (Miriam Yeung continues her streak of fun, light-hearted romantic comedies)
DVD: 7/10 (good, but dark image, and weak soundtrack)

Last edited by jtkv; 06-16-02 at 10:57 AM.
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Old 06-17-02, 04:46 AM
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I really like your review here. Entertaining and informative. (I'm reviewing your review...). Anyway - I had ordered this on VCD once again knowing that I'd have to turn around and buy the DVD. I should just listen to my brain and never order VCDs of new movies because my brain tells me that the DVD is weeks away. Anyway - this sounds more promising than Love Undercover turned out to be... I was a little disappointed in it. I loved Dummy Mommy and I just felt that they wasted alot of opportunities in Love Undercover combined with the fact that the DVD had missing subtitles. This one sounds alot like La Brasierre or a rehash of a recent Sammi Cheng movie. Anyway - thanks for the review. Nice.
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Old 06-18-02, 03:36 AM
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I received the VCD today and watched it. Crappy VCD quality, but watchable and in widescreen. Among VCDs, this one was done okay. The subtitles were the same as the ones you saw because they had the same mistakes you mentioned. So it appears that Widesight didn't do their own subs for this one. I really liked this film. Probably my favorite of the 3 Miriam films I've now seen. Well, Dummy Mommy was pretty good too. Tough call. I think she was really into this movie more so than she was into Love Undercover in which she just looked like she didn't really care about being there. This film looked like they had fun making it which is always a good thing. So anyway, now I'll have to own the DVD. I hope it comes back in stock over at DDDHouse soon.
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Old 06-18-02, 09:25 AM
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trigger,
was the VCD image also dark?
and did it have the verticle line about one hour into the movie??
It's a scene with Miriam by herself....


J.T.
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Old 06-18-02, 01:03 PM
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Cool review J.T.
I too will have to watch for this to come BIS(Back In Stock).
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Old 06-18-02, 01:45 PM
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Originally posted by jtkv
trigger,
was the VCD image also dark?
and did it have the verticle line about one hour into the movie??
It's a scene with Miriam by herself....


J.T.
I don't recall the line and the image wasn't all that dark... When I get the DVD, I'll do a side-by-side comparison maybe and let you know.
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Old 06-18-02, 03:06 PM
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maybe it's due to the poor VCD quality that you didn't notice the dark image and the verticle line, as it's masked out by all the artifacts


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