Written by: Michael Den Boer on July 17th, 2007
Theatrical Release Date: Hong Kong, 1996
Director: Herman Yau
Writer: Ting Chau
Cast: Anthony Wong, Meng Lo, Lori Shannon, Miu-Ying Chan, Edward Corbett
DVD released: July 31st, 2007
Approximate running time: 98 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Sound: Dolby Digital Stereo Cantonese
Subtitles: New and Improved English subtitles and the original English subtitles which give the film a totally different feel
DVD Release: Discotek Media
Region Coding: Region 1 NTSC
Retail Price: $19.95
Synopsis: A wanted killer named Kai San (Anthony Wong) relocates to South Africa where he now works as a cook at a restaurant. Kai and the owner of the restaurant he works unknowing help spread Ebola when they come in contact with infected tribe members while buying cheap meat. Now infected with Ebola Kai has become even more increasingly violent making everyone who crosses his path a potential victim.
The Ebola Syndrome is reunites the duo that made on of the most infamous category three films “The Untold Story” director Herman Yau and actor Anthony Wong. Fans of category three films or just extreme cinema in general are this films target audience with its nonchalant depiction of rape, murder, pissing on people and cannibalism. Surprisingly the films plot is pretty straight forward and to the point. Little is left out or left to the imagination. Direction wise Herman Yau does a remarkable job of capturing the mayhem without ever getting lost in it. Each murder scene is feels spontaneous and contrived like most exploitation films do.
Actor Anthony Wong is the real reason to check out The Ebola Syndrome as he just owns every moment he is in. Wong is diabolical delightful playing this type of disturbing persona’s that he so often gets cast as. The two moments in the films that really sell his performance as Kai are the opening murder sequence and the scene where he makes food out of his boss and wife who own the restaurant. The films score especially the main theme adds immensely to the overall mood of the film. Ultimately the content and tone of violence in the Ebola Syndrome may be too much for those with weak stomachs while those who like their carnage and depravity pushed to the extreme will thoroughly enjoy this film.
The Ebola Syndrome gets a solid release from Discotek. The transfer looks really good with some very minor print damage and very mild motion blurring during scenes with heavy movement. The audio sounds robust, clean and free of any hiss or distortion. Both subtitle options are easy to follow and understand.
Extras include an interview with the director Herman Yau (16 minutes) (in English no subtitles), a photo gallery (26 stills), filmographies, deleted scenes (2 1/2 minutes of footage that has not been put back into the film), the film theatrical trailer and trailers for other Discotek releases.
The icing on this release is a handful of insightful extra highlighted by an excellent audio commentary, highly recommended.