Eastern Condors (1987)
Director - Sammo Hung
DVD Released by : 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment/Fortune Star
Player reviewed with : Malata 520
Receiver reviewed with : Sony 925
Cantonese and English Soundtracks 5.1 Dolby and DTS
Chinese Subtitles
Enhanced for 16 x 9 TVs
New and Original Trailers
Running Time : 97mins.
Region 1

Directed by Sammo Hung, EASTERN CONDORS is an action packed war movie much in the style of The Dirty Dozen. Convicts are offered freedom if they agree to take on a mission to destroy an ammo depot left behind by the Americans after the conflict in Vietnam has ended. The prisoners parachute to their dropping point and are joined by three women who are Cambodian fighters. Together they forge ahead to find the depot.

EASTERN CONDORS stars Sammo Hung, Yuen Baio, Yuen Wo Ping, Joyce Godenzi, and Yuen Wah. With this cast, you can bet that there is plenty of action. From gun battles to kung fu, this movie covers it all.

Fox's EASTERN CONDORS doesn't have that many extras but this DVD is a must for those in Region 1 who don't have multi-region players. For those with the HKL DVD, you might even find a reason to get this one, too. Fox is doing a good job on their releases so far. There is some room for improvement but that will be explained later.

The image quality is great. The film print used is in very good condition. The colors and detail are also very good. There are a lot of jungle scenes and the greens really look good. In comparison, the HKL Region 2 version is darker and doesn't have the same detail. The 16x9 transfer is really a treat. The only minor problem I have with it is that the Fortune Star logos aren't flagged as 16x9. Overall, I am very pleased with the transfer.

There are English and Cantonese Dolby 5.1 and DTS tracks. I used the 5.1 Cantonese track and switched occasionally to the English track. The sound level seems a little low and sounds much better with the level up a little louder than normal. Before I raised the volume, it sounded week. The music was low and the guns didn't always sound right. If you compare to the HKL Region 2 version, the Fox DVD isn't as robust. I guess the Fox DVD is mixed to be played with the volume up a bit. The original theatrical mix would solve this problem. I prefer the original language the movie was made in but I checked the English dub for those who prefer it. The lip synching is well done and the dialogue is a little more up front in the mix than the Cantonese one.

The subtitles are easy to read and are free of misspellings and grammatical errors. These are dubtitles, which is when the subtitles are exactly what is said on the English dub. There is one time early on in the movie where they don't appear when they should but they are fine all other times.

There are few extras on this DVD. There are two trailers for EASTERN CONDORS and trailers for other Fox/Fortune Star releases.

Fox's EASTERN CONDORS is definitely worth picking up if you are a fan of the movie. If you are in region 1, this is the best you can get. Those who have the Hong Kong Legends Region 2 version may consider this DVD for the improved picture but may be disappointed in the sound. I don't consider the lack of extras all that bad because I am thrilled just to have the uncut movie in it's original language.

Fox and Fortune Star have done well with this release even though the sound could have been a little bit better. Most Hong Kong film fans really prefer the original soundtrack. I still think that Fox and Fortune Star are putting a good effort into these movies.

Reviewed 12/28/2003