Written by: Michael Den Boer on July 29th, 2005
|Theatrical Release Date: Japan, 1975
Director: Norifumi Suzuki
Writer: Takeshi Matsumoto
Cast: Sonny Chiba, Yutaka Nakajima, Asao Koike, Kei Sato, Etsuko Shihomi
|Approximate running time:||87 minutes||83 minutes|
|Aspect Ratio:||2.35:1 Anamorphic Widescreen||2.35:1 Anamorphic Widescreen|
|Sound:||Dolby Digital 5.1 & Mono Japanese with English subtitles||Dolby Digital Stereo Japanese with English subtitles|
|DVD Release:||Adness/Ventura||Optimum Asia|
|Region Coding:||Region 1 NTSC||Region
|Retail Price:||$19.99||£12.99 ($22.84)|
Adness’s Region 1 DVD/Playback Frame: 854×480
Optimum Asia’s Region 2 DVD/Playback Frame: 1024×576
The Film :
Doshin Soh (Sonny Chiba) served in Japans secret service during world war two and during the war he studied various forms of fighting including the ancient fighting techniques of the Shaolin monks. After the war he returns to Japan were he has taken in several orphans and he is a modern day Robin Hood. Two American MP’s run over a young boy. This enrages Soh and he beat the hell out of the two men leaving them cripples. Years later Soh forms his own Shaolin martial arts school which leads to some bad blood between Soh and the local gangsters.
Both release present Killing Machine in its original 2.35:1 aspect ratio. They are both free of any compression or artifacts and grain is kept to a minimum. Framing wise they both appear to be identical and edge enhancement is kept to a minimum. Image wise this is one of the closest I have ever seen to releases come and their differences are any are so minor they are virtually unnoticeable.
Adness’s release comes with two audio options included for this DVD releases Japanese Dolby Digital 5.1 and Japanese Dolby Digital Mono. Both tracks are free of distortion or hiss and are extremely clean with the Dolby Digital 5.1 a fuller sound. While I prefer this new Dolby Digital 5.1 mix it is also cool that the original mono has been included for purists. Optimum Asia’s release comes with one audio option the films original Japanese language track that is presented in a Dolby Digital stereo. The dialog is sharp as it is always easy to follow and understand. There are no problems with hiss or distortion. Overall this mix presents the dialog, music and effects as each sound even in tone and pitch as they never drown the other out. English subtitles that are easy to read and follow have been included.
Extras for the Adness release include a Sonny Chiba trailer collection with the following titles Killing Machine, Karate Bearfighter, Karate Bullfighter, Karate for Life, Shogun’s Samurai, Black Magic Wars, Legend of The Eight Samurai, Resurrection of Golden Wolf and G.I. Samurai. Rounding out the extras are liner notes written by Patrick Macias. Optimum Asia comes with the following extras the films original theatrical trailer and a bio on Sonny Chiba. Other extras include 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 Assasssin, 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, Yakuza Deka: The Assassin, The Bullet Train, Golgo 13: Kowloon Assignment and Time Slip.
In the end the both releases are solid as they get high marks for their audio/presentations and both come with a few interesting extra, with the slight edge going the Adness release which look sharper. 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: Killing Machine is also available as part of Optimum Asia’s Sonny Chiba collection volume 1 which also includes Yakuza Deka and Yakuza Deka: The Assassin.