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Big Boss Comparison (Fox vs. Spectrum) 
Written by: on January 3rd, 2005

Theatrical Release Date: Hong Kong, October 3rd, 1971
Director: Wei Lo
Writers: Bruce Lee, Wei Lo
Cast: Bruce Lee, Yin-Chieh Han, James Tien, Maria Yi

DVD released: 2001 2004
Approximate running time: 99 99
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 Non-Anamorphic Widescreen 2.35:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Rating: R NR
Sound: Dolby Digital Mono English DTS and Dolby Digital 5.1 Cantonese with English subtitles
DVD Release: Fox Spectrum
Region Coding: Region 1 NTSC Region 3 NTSC
Retail Price: $14.98 $64.95
Fox’s Region 1 DVD
Spectrum’s Region 3 DVD
 

The Film :

Cheng Chao-An (Bruce Lee) has recently arrived Thailand to live with relatives. He has also promised his mother not to fight anyone under any circumstances while staying with his relatives. Cheng Chao-An quickly finds a job at an ice-production factory and when two of his co-workers go missing after finding cocaine hidden in one of the ice blocks he decides to investigate this matter further.

Video:

Fox’s release is faded and during scenes details are hard to make out at times. There is some minor grain present and flesh tones look unnatural. There source material used is not in that good of shape as scratches and artifacts plagued this transfer through out. Spectrum’s transfer will come as a revelation to those who have only seen Fox’s release. The colors are vibrant and flesh tones look natural. The detail is exceptional through out and with virtually no print damage at all. Both releases present the Big Boss in its original 2.35:1 aspect ratio. Spectrum’s release has been given an anamorphic enhancement while Fox’s is non- anamorphic. There also appears to be some minor cropping on the Fox DVD release.

Audio:

Fox’s release comes with only one audio option a English dubbed audio track that is presented in Dolby Digital mono. The track suffers from some minor hiss and distortion through out. The action and dialog which sound thin at times is always easy to follow. Fox has also included English subtitles on their release. These subtitles are known as dub titles as they are just word for word the English dub translated. Spectrum’s release comes with the following audio options Dolby Digital 5.1 and DTS tracks that both are in the films original Cantonese language. The Dolby Digital 5.1 and DTS tracks are pretty much the same with the DTS offer a slightly fuller audio experience. There is no sign of distortion or hiss through these audio mixes. The dialog is always easy to follow with the action and music adding some extra kick to the mix with their throbbing pulsing. English subtitles that are easy o read and follow have been included. Korean subtitles have also been included.

Extras:

Fox’s release is a bare bones release that comes with absolutely no extras even the films original trailer which is listed on the DVD box. Spectrum release fares a little better in the extras department with trailers for Fist of Fury, Way of the Dragon and Game of Death as well as the Big Boss’s original trailer and a newly created trailer for this release. Other extras include Bruce Lee stills photo album and Bruce Lee photo slide show each DVD includes still and slideshow gallery. Rounding out the extras is a featurette titled “Celebrity interviews” which is a brief collection of interviews with Sammo Hung, Simon Yam, Wong Jing and Tung Wai. All the participants speak in English expect for Tung Wai and no English subtitles have been provided for this extra.

Overall:

It is hard to believe that a major studio like Fox would put an out a release as sub par as their Fist of Fury (Big Boss) DVD. I have seen releases from budget DVD companies that look better then their release. Spectrums release is superior in every way when compared to Fox’s release as it offers better audio/video and a few extras are thrown in for good measure.

Note: Spectrum’s Big Boss release is only available as part their Bruce Lee collection.

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