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Once Upon a Time in China: Comparison (Hong Kong Legends vs. Columbia Tri/Star) 
Written by: on November 14th, 2004
Theatrical Release Date: Hong Kong, 1991
Director: Hark Tsui
Writer: Yiu Ming Leung, Pik-yin Tang, Hark Tsui, Kai-Chi Yun
Cast: Jet Li, Biao Yuen, Rosamund Kwan
once upon a time in china
once upon a time in china
DVD released: 2001 2001
Approximate running time: 128 minutes 134 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 Anamorphic Widescreen 2.35:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Rating: 15 R
Sound: Dolby Digital 5.1 English and Cantonese Dolby Digital Mono English, Mandarin and Cantonese
DVD Release: Hong Kong Legends Columbia Tri/Star
Region Coding: Region 2 Pal Region 1 NTSC
Retail Price: $22.95 $19.95

Hong Kong Legends Region 2 DVD
Columbia Tri/Star ‘s Region 1 DVD

The Film :

The Chinese struggle to preserve their heritage as the westerners invade their land. Fei Hung (Jet Li) returns to the canton province were he grew up only to find that foreigners have taken over the land. When Fei Hung interferes with the foreigners plans they try to shut down his martial arts school. Can Fei Hung help save his people before the imperialist foreigners silence him for good?


Hong Kong Legends release shows slightly more information then Columbia’s release. The colors and flesh tones on both releases are solid with the only difference being that Columbia’s looks softer overall. The image is sharp on both releases through out.


Columbia’s Release comes with the original Cantonese, Mandarin and an English dubbed track in Dolby Digital Mono and the Hong Kong Legends release comes with the original Cantonese audio and an English dubbed track in Dolby Digital 5.1. All the audio tracks included on these releases are free of distortion or hiss with the slight edge going to Hong Kong Legend’s release which has the beef up 5.1 audio. Both releases come with English subtitles that are easy to read and follow. For the most part outside of a few instances the subtitles on the two releases are similar in content just not identical.


Columbia’s release includes the following extras talent files and trailers for some of Columbia’s releases. The main extra included on Columbia’s release is an audio commentary with Hong Kong film expert Ric Meyers. Hong Kong Legends release includes the following extras the UK and original theatrical trailers, biography showcase and trailers for other Hong Kong Legends releases. Rounding out the extras is an audio commentary with Hong Kong film expert Ben Logan and Mark King as well as interviews with Jet Li and Yam Sai-Kwoon. Both releases features informative audio commentary tracks, still I would have to give Hong Kong Legends in the extras department because they also included interviews.


Two very good releases too choose from with Hong Kong Legends release getting the slight edge because of its Dolby Digital 5.1 audio soundtrack and interviews with the cast.

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