Written by: Michael Den Boer on August 25th, 2005
|Theatrical Release Date: Japan, 1977
Director: Yukio Noda
Writers: Takeshi Matsumoto, Nobuaki Nakajima, Takao Saitô
Cast: Sonny Chiba, Etsuko Shihomi, Callan Leung
|Approximate running time:||92 minutes||89 minutes|
|Aspect Ratio:||2.35:1 Non-Anamorphic Widescreen||2.35:1 Anamorphic Widescreen|
|Sound:||Dolby Digital Mono English and Japanese with English subtitles||Dolby Digital Stereo Japanese with English subtitles|
|DVD Release:||Crash Entertainment||Optimum Asia|
|Region Coding:||Region 1 NTSC||Region
|Retail Price:||$14.95||£12.99 ($22.84)|
Crash Entertainment’s Region 1 DVD/Playback Frame: 720×540
Optimum Asia’s Region 2 DVD/Playback Frame: 1024×576
The Film :
On behalf of the U.S. drug syndicate Ricky Brown hires notorious hit man Golgo 13 (Sonny Chiba) to assassinate Chow Lui Fung who has had falling out with the syndicate. Captain Sminny (Callan Leung) currently has Chow Lui Fung under surveillance for drug trafficking and he is about to make arrest when his partner Lin-Li (Sue Shihomi) goes missing. Golgo 13 has found the prefect time and place to dispose of Chow Lui Fung at the dedication ceremony being held on his behalf. Golgo 13 is unable to complete the job when another assassin completes the job right before his eyes. The police now are on the look out for Golgo 13 who is now being blamed for a murder he didn’t commit. Golgo 13 now seeks revenge against those who have double crossed him as he tries to stay one step ahead of the law.
Crash Cinema’s Golgo 13 release is presented in a non-anamorphic letterboxed that is severely cropped on all four sides. Their DVD comes with the English dubbed version and a Japanese language version that has burnt in Chinese and English subtitles. This Japanese version is framed at aspect ratio of about 1.85:1 instead of the films original 2.35:1 aspect ratio and for the English release I suspect that they just cropped out the burnt in Chinese and English subtitles too make this version look closer to its original 2.35:1 aspect ratio. The Crash Cinema release has washed out colors and the image looks way too soft as details look blurred. Skin tones look unnatural and there is a lot of noticeable print damage. There are also problems with artifacts and compression. Crash Cinema’s release is interlaced. Optimum Asia’s Golgo 13 release presents the film in an anamorphic widescreen that preserves the films original 2.35:1 aspect ratio and their transfer has been sourced from an original 35 mm print. This release also restores a fare amount of information that was missing on all four sides form the Crash Cinema release and its brings back to life Golgo 13’s vivid color palette. Black levels remain strong and there is an exceptional amount of detail present in every frame. There are no problems with compression or artifacts and edge enhancement is kept to a minimum. This transfer is progressive scan as the image remains stable through out and there are no noticeable problems with ghosting or blurring.
Crash Cinema’s release comes with two audio options an English dubbed audio track and a Japanese language track that has burnt it English and Chinese subtitles. On both audio mixes the sound in not only muffled it sounds a bit too thin at times. There are also noticeable problems with hiss and other sound defects that are present through out the film. Optimum Asia’s comes with only one audio option the films original Japanese language track that is presented in a Dolby Digital stereo. The dialog is razor sharp and easy to follow. The music and effects are evenly balanced as they never overpower the other. There are no problems with hiss or distortion. This is one of the best sounding mixes that I have heard so far out of all of Optimum’s Sonny Chiba titles. English subtitles that are easy to read and follow have been included.
The extras on the Crash Cinema release consist of the films original theatrical trailer and Crash cinema has also included the Japanese language version of Golgo 13 as a bonus. Optimum Asia’s release comes with the following extras a gallery of original Japanese poster art that includes the following films The Street Fighter, Return of the Street Fighter, The Street Fighter’s Last Revenge, Yakuza Deka, Yakuza Deka: The Assassin, The Bullet Train, The Killing Machine and two posters for Golgo 13: Kowloon Assignment. Rounding out the extras is a Sonny Chiba trailer collection that includes the following titles The Street Fighter, Return of the Street Fighter, The Street Fighter’s Last Revenge, Yakuza Deka, The Killing Machine, Yakuza Deka: The Assassin, Bullet Train and G.I. Samurai.
Optimum Asia’s release is the superior of the two in every way as they continue too release quality DVD’s for their Sonny Chiba collection. Also both releases appear to be uncut and identical in content with the difference in time due too PAL’s 25 times per second versus NTSC’s 24 times per second.
Note: Golgo 13: Kowloon Assignment is also available as part of Optimum Asia’s Sonny Chiba collection volume 2 which also includes Bullet Train and G.I. Samurai.