Written by: Michael Den Boer on September 27th, 2008
Theatrical Release Date: Hong Kong, 1985
Director: Chuen-Yee Cha
Cast: Fu Yin-Yu, Tung Wei, Kara Hui, Tony Leung Ka Fai, Alex Man, Siu Chung Mok
DVD released: September 16th, 2008
Approximate running time: 93 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Letterboxed Widescreen
Sound: Dolby Digital 5.1 Mandarin
Subtitles: English, Chinese
DVD Release: Well Go USA
Region Coding: Region 1 NTSC
Retail Price: $14.98
Synopsis: Shui Erh a peasant girl who works as a maid at a brothel discovers that she is the king’s illegitimate daughter. She is forced to go into hiding when the king’s legitimate heirs found out about her existence. While trying to escape from the assassins sent to kill her she meets a young man named The Knight who agrees to protect her.
Journey of the Doomed was the directorial debut of Chuen-Yee Cha whose other notable films include In the Line of Duty 5: Middle Man and The Rapist. The plot for Journey of the Doomed starts off strong. The film starts to go off track after Shui Erh narrowly escapes with her life after an all out slaughter on the brothel where she works at. The last hour of the film is basically Shui Erh on the urn trying to get away from those who are trying to kill her. The other sub plot that is prominent in this last hour is the romance between Shui Erh and The Knight.
There is very little action in this film and most of it is pretty bland. There is plenty of T & A and the soft core sex scenes are some of sleazier that I have seen in a Shaw Brother’s film. The special effects are pretty cheap looking and the scene where Shan Chun uses his hypnotic powers is laughable. The best scene in the film is when two female assassins slaughter everyone at the brothel that Shui Erh work’s at.
Cast in the lead role of Shui Erh is an actress named Fu Yin-Yu. Performance wise she does an adequate job playing the damsel in distress. Tung Wei is cast in the role of The Knight the young man who helps protect Shui Erh and eventually falls in love with her. His fight scenes are where he shines, while he is lacking during his more dramatic moments. The film’s standout performance comes from Kara Hui (My Young Auntie) who plays one of the female assassins. Ultimately Journey of the Doomed is an interesting premise that never fully pays off.
Well Go USA presents Journey of the Doomed is presented in a letterboxed widescreen that frames the image around a 1.85:1 aspect ratio. Colors look nicely saturated and flesh tones look healthy throughout. Even though the transfer is interlaced the image remains stable and there are no issues with blurring or ghosting. Outside of a few instances where the image looks a tad to soft the transfer fares pretty well all around despite not being flagged for progressive playback and the lack of an anamorphic widescreen presentation.
This release comes with one audio option a Dolby Digital 5.1 mix in Mandarin. This audio mix while cleaned up does have few instances where the audio sounds to spread and hallow. Overall this is a more than serviceable audio mix that most excels during the film’s fight scenes. Removable English and Chinese subtitles have been included.
Extras include are limited to a trailer for Journey of the Doomed (3:09). Overall Journey of the Doomed gets an uneven release from Well Go USA that leaves room for improvement in the audio/video presentation.