Once Upon A Time In China - Complete Trilogy [DVD] [1991]
Reviewer: Seattle, eh?
Rating: 9.0/10
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First off, the films themselves. They are stellar: epic story set during turbulent times, well integrated kung fu action, and top notch film making. And Hong Kong Legends gives it their stellar DVD production values. If you want to see some of the best of HK cinema, this is a great place to start.
The kung fu itself varies over the series in its degree of fantasticality. Sometimes it's a little wire heavy (especially for western eyes), but there are many other more subtle physical moments as well.

-Commentary track on OUATIC1: Why bother bringing in an actor who played an extra, doesn't care about HK film, and in general could hardly seem to care less? I understand you want to mix it up with the Bey Logan commentary tracks, but really this was pretty bad. I really wish they could have gotten a major player from this production (before or behind the camera , either way), but after hearing this you still decided to put it on the DVD? After about 30 minutes, I just wanted the other guy to go away.
-Commentary track on OUATIC2: Standard Bey Logan fare...which is a very good thing: background on the time represented, the time of filming, talk about both major and minor actors involved, content of the film itself, subtext, cultural context. A well rounded, well researched commentary delivered in a non-boring manner (i.e. he doesn't just drone on).
-Commentaries overall: I was hoping that they'd get a big name or two on the commentary tracks (Jet Li, Tsui Hark, Donnie Yen, Rosemund Kwan) and was a little disappointed to see only Bey Logan. I like Bey's commentaries, they're good, but I was hoping for a little more (and some variety). You will get some overlap in the commentaries, but that's not really suprising given the same guy on 3 movies in a series.
-Interviews: so-so. Most felt scavenged from other sources. Maybe only the Donnie Yen was specifically for this disc. Usually 2 ~10minute interviews per disc.

Nits to pick:
-Sometimes the menus can be a little hard to read. May be a function of my PAL/NTSC conversion.

Date Reviewed: February 21, 2006Last modified: March 1, 2006

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