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Way of The Dragon: Comparison (Spectrum vs. Ultimate Edition) 
Written by: on December 19th, 2005
Theatrical Release Date: Hong Kong, December 30th, 1972
Director: Bruce Lee
Writer: Bruce Lee
Cast: Bruce Lee, Nora Miao, Chuck Norris, Jon T. Benn

DVD released: 2004 2005
Approximate running time: 98m26s 98m29s
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 Anamorphic Widescreen 2.35:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Rating: NR R
Sound: DTS and Dolby Digital 5.1 Cantonese with English subtitles DTS and Dolby Digital 5.1 English and Dolby Digital Stereo Mandarin and Cantonese with English subtitles
DVD Release: Spectrum Fox
Region Coding: Region 3 NTSC (Korea) Region 1 NTSC
Retail Price: OOP $49.98

Spectrum’s Region 3 DVD

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Fox’s Region 1 DVD

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Spectrum’s Region 3 DVD

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Fox’s Region 1 DVD

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Spectrum’s Region 3 DVD

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Fox’s Region 1 DVD

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The Film :

Chen Ching Hua (Nora Miao), has inherited a popular Chinese restaurant in Rome. She asks her uncle in Hong Kong for help when evil Mafia Boss (Jon T. Benn) tries to take over her business. An illness prevents her uncle from coming so he sends his friend Tang Lung (Bruce lee) in his place. The Boss sends thugs to take care of Tang, as he quickly disposes them all. When a gunman is sent to take care of Tang in Chen’s apartment Tang thrashes them with his Kung Fu. Chen tries to impress Tang with the wonders of Rome. More Assassins are sent in to get ride of Tang, luckily he brought along his nunchakus to crack their skulls. Chen worried wants Tang to leave for his own protection. Tang fights on even though he is out numbered, he refuses to give up. The final showdown takes place in the Roman Coliseum between lee and Chuck Norris.

Video:

Both DVD releases present Big Boss in an anamorphic widescreen that preserves the films original 2.35:1 aspect ratio. The Fox release looks cleaner and at times sharper then the Spectrum release. Both releases are the complete full length versions of Way of the Dragon and the scenes that have been restored look softer and have some minor print damage. Fox who had previously released the Way of The Dragon under the title of Return of The Dragon restores this classic film to its full length version with an improved transfer. Overall there really isn’t much difference between the two transfers and I suspect that they came from the same source. Both releases suffer from one minor set back they are both interlaced instead of being set for progressive scan. Also both releases are dual layer.

Audio:

Spectrums release comes with the following audio options are available for Way of the Dragon. Dolby Digital 5.1 and DTS tracks that both are in the films original Cantonese language. There are portions of English dialog through out the playback of Way of the Dragon. This audio track like the others is relatively clean as the action comes through load and clear. The dialog at times sounds tiny compared to the music and sound effects; still it is easy enough to follow. The DTS audio mix fares a little better then the Dolby Digital 5.1 mix. English subtitles that are easy o read and follow have been included. Korean subtitles have also been included. Fox’s release comes with the following audio options DTS and Dolby Digital 5.1 English and Dolby Digital Stereo Mandarin and Cantonese. English subtitles have been included that are easy to read and follow. The dialog is crisp and there are no problems with distortion or hiss. The music and effects sound evenly mixed and offer a full range of sound. The Fox audio mixes are slightly stronger then the ones include on the Spectrum release. The Fox release also gets extra points for including the English dubbed audio track.

Extras:

Spectrum’s release comes with the following extras trailers for Fist of Fury, Big Boss and Game of Death as well as the Way of the Dragon’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. Fox’s release comes with the following extras 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. Other extras include trailers for some of Fox other marital arts releases. Rounding out the extras is interviews with Sammo Hung, Simon Yam, Wong Jing, Flora Cheong-Leen, Clarence Fok, Rocky Lai and Paul Pui. All interviews are in Cantonese and come with English subtitles

Overall:

Hopefully one day someone will stop interlacing all of these Bruce Lee’s films on DVD and release them in progressive scan. Overall both releases are offer solid audio/video presentations with the slight edge going to the Fox release.

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