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HKL; bootlegs; versions -- lots of questions

Old 09-25-02, 01:28 PM
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HKL; bootlegs; versions -- lots of questions

Hello to all. I'm very new to DVD and this message board. Because my main movie interest is Asian films, it can be a bit overwhelming what with all the different versions, etc... So, in a bit, I'll list my questions and confusions and let y'all have at them. But first, some background.

Like most of you here, I prefer the original version of a film, not a version that has been chopped or re-edited by a distributor (I even signed that on-line petition; #8800). So, when searching for Iron Monkey, Jet Li movies, Drunken Master II, etc..., I've been going to eBay and buying the HK version. Seems simple enough, although I try to do my homework if there are several Asian versions so I get the best one. (This is not always easy).

I've picked up about 15 DVDs this way and am planning on bidding on 10-20 more very soon. The two sellers I've used I have been VERY pleased with. Average DVD price of $8 with very reasonable shipping. Movies look and sound good, although probably not as good as the U.S. restored, anamorphic versions (I guess that's the choice–do you want the real movie, or an edited version that looks better? grr.)

QUESTION #1: A lot of people say "beware of Asian bootlegs" or "don't buy region 0 or all-region discs." But this shouldn't apply to films originally made in HK, right? I mean, I can understand that a U.S. film sold out of China on a DVD may be a bootleg, but the movies I'm buying? What are the chances? The ones I've received are sealed and appear factory new.

QUESTION #2: What about Criterion movies? I can get HK (non-Criterion) versions of Hard Boiled and The Killer for about $8. I'm assuming this is the original version, although likely off a older, non-restored print. On the other hand, I can get Criterion versions for $60+ off eBay. BUT, I can get an "Asian Criterion" version for about $25--same restored print, Dolby 5.1 widescreen, etc... Now, I suspect this is a bootleg (is there even such a thing as an "Asian Criterion" version of a movie? There may be, considering it is an Asian movie to start with). This version comes with the same commentary & extra features as advertised on the $60+ version. So, what's the difference?

QUESTION 2a: If the choice is between the HK version or Fox/Lorbor version of these two movies, which is preferred? Is the Fox/Lorbor edited down? I want the best-looking/sounding version, but not at the expense of deleted scenes.

QUESTION 2b: If I get the "Asian Criterion" version, will I go to Hell?

QUESTION #3: What about HKL? Reading about what they are doing sounds great! My DVD player will play R2 and PAL discs, but evidently has trouble converting a PAL disc if it is anamorphic (which HKL DVDs are). Stretches the image I think. Also, I went to their website and it seemed to me that they said they don't sell outside of the UK. If I read that right, that leaves me out of their market anyway.

QUESTION #4: Why should I care if the transfer is anamorphic since I don't have a 16 x 9 television? Besides from the fact that the transfer may be cleaned up, that is. Most of the DVDs straight from HK are not anamorphic (at least not the ones I've been buying). But I'm satisfied with the quality.

Believe it or not, I have more questions, but I don't want my first post here to be a dissertation. So, enough for now.
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Old 09-25-02, 02:38 PM
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Answer to #1:

The person you bought the Iron Monkey, S&Z from is a well known supplier of bootlegs. Although I believe some of his items are legit, the really wanted ones are 100% bootlegs

Answer to #4: It doesn;t matter. But, the theory is that sooner or later you'll win the lottery and be able to buy a 16x9 TV set. I say whatever to that theory.
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Old 09-25-02, 04:25 PM
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If you're looking for HK movies (legit) and want a good price, try out www.dddhouse.com. They have pretty good prices, and are straight from HK.. All legit. I've placed a couple orders with them, and am going to be placing another large one (about 20-25) in the beginning of Oct. I've been really pleased with this e-tailer so far..

Hope that helps,
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Old 09-25-02, 05:05 PM
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QUESTION #1: A lot of people say "beware of Asian bootlegs" or "don't buy region 0 or all-region discs." But this shouldn't apply to films originally made in HK, right? I mean, I can understand that a U.S. film sold out of China on a DVD may be a bootleg, but the movies I'm buying? What are the chances? The ones I've received are sealed and appear factory new.
People who say don't buy region 0 discs are full of ****. There are tons of legit region 0 releases. Ebay has a strong mix of bootlegs and legit versions so it is tough to tell sometimes.

QUESTION #2: What about Criterion movies? I can get HK (non-Criterion) versions of Hard Boiled and The Killer for about $8. I'm assuming this is the original version, although likely off a older, non-restored print.
The $8 version of The Killer is damned good on quality. The Fox Lorber version uses the same transfer as the Criterion, so if you can still find it, it's worth the extra $15-20. The Fox Lorber version has better subtitles and a better commentary track than the Criterion.

On the other hand, I can get Criterion versions for $60+ off eBay. BUT, I can get an "Asian Criterion" version for about $25--same restored print, Dolby 5.1 widescreen, etc... Now, I suspect this is a bootleg (is there even such a thing as an "Asian Criterion" version of a movie? There may be, considering it is an Asian movie to start with). This version comes with the same commentary & extra features as advertised on the $60+ version. So, what's the difference?
If indeed it is a 100% dup'd version of the Criterion release, then it's probably worth $25. Although, I still prefer the Fox Lorber version.


QUESTION 2a: If the choice is between the HK version or Fox/Lorbor version of these two movies, which is preferred? Is the Fox/Lorbor edited down? I want the best-looking/sounding version, but not at the expense of deleted scenes.
The Fox Lorber versions are the same cuts, so neither version is edited. I prefer the Fox Lorber versions as I've said before, but that's just for the better commentary, subtitling and translation.

Stay away from the $8 Hong Kong version of Hard Boiled. It's a flipper.

QUESTION 2b: If I get the "Asian Criterion" version, will I go to Hell?
That depends on you. If something is officially available, then I do not believe in bootlegs. However, I do buy bootlegs of things unavailable like The Ring (NTSC, with English subtitles). I certainly wouldn't hold it against anyone for buying a bootleg Criterion Killer.

QUESTION #3: What about HKL? Reading about what they are doing sounds great! My DVD player will play R2 and PAL discs, but evidently has trouble converting a PAL disc if it is anamorphic (which HKL DVDs are). Stretches the image I think. Also, I went to their website and it seemed to me that they said they don't sell outside of the UK. If I read that right, that leaves me out of their market anyway.
To play a HKL disc correctly you need either one of the newer JVC or Malata players with the Mediamatrics chip. Any other player will distort the PAL picture. You can get HKL discs from www.bensonsworld.co.uk

QUESTION #4: Why should I care if the transfer is anamorphic since I don't have a 16 x 9 television? Besides from the fact that the transfer may be cleaned up, that is. Most of the DVDs straight from HK are not anamorphic (at least not the ones I've been buying). But I'm satisfied with the quality.
Most of the time anamorphic transfers are better, although there are exceptions (Reservoir Dogs and True Romance are two recent ones that come to mind). I would just ask around for which version has the best transfer (check www.asiandvdguide.com) and go with that. If you don't have a 16:9 TV then it won't matter if its anamorphic or not.

Jeff
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Old 09-25-02, 05:54 PM
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Originally posted by Truffaut Fan
People who say don't buy region 0 discs are full of ****. There are tons of legit region 0 releases.
Exactly! Please share your comments in this thread where someone is stating that most R3 discs are bootlegs:
http://www.dvdtalk.com/forum/showthr...hreadid=239222
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Old 09-25-02, 06:29 PM
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Re: HKL; bootlegs; versions -- lots of questions

Originally posted by divemaster
[....] I suspect this is a bootleg (is there even such a thing as an "Asian Criterion" version of a movie? There may be, considering it is an Asian movie to start with). This version comes with the same commentary & extra features as advertised on the $60+ version. So, what's the difference? [....] If I get the "Asian Criterion" version, will I go to Hell? [....]
Possibly to DVDTalk.com hell....

.... discussing bootlegs was outlawed here some time ago.

You mention that you are new so should be reasonably familiar with the sign-up rules: http://www.dvdtalk.com/legal.html
The following is strictly prohibited on the DVD Talk Forum [....]
• Posting Information on how to defraud any company or promotion of any kind of illegal or unethical activity
• Anything that violates the trademark or copyright of another company including anything that may violate the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.
Enjoy the forum but please stay within the rules from now on in.


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