Who Am I (1998)
By Matt Stevens

In my opinion “WHO AM I?” is the only Jackie Chan film since DRUNKEN MASTER 2 that is worthy of the master’s talent. Despite a slow first half, the film entertains on all levels and delivers a laugh filled last hour that is just amazing to watch. The fact that it’s 95% an English language film sure helps.

There are four version of this film on DVD, all widescreen, and I have seen three: 1. A Hong Kong release; 2. a cut U.S. release; 3. and a 16x9 DD5.1 SE from Japan, followed by the same SE in a duel DTS/DD5.1 edition.

The HK version: Universe released a single layered DVD about 2+ years ago that featured a non-anamorphic 2.35:1 transfer and a somewhat strident 5.1 soundtrack. It’s a good DVD for a Hong Kong release, but on a large monitor, it does lack detail and suffer from too much edge enhancement. Since it’s a 2 hour film on a single layer, it also suffers from some artifacting and a few frame drops (the tribe dancing sequence is the worst offender). The tribe sequence has optional English subtitles, so that is a plus.

The Columbia/TriStar transfer is 16x9 and miles above the Universe version in quality, but the film’s opening act is butchered of 15 minutes, losing some important action and even the funniest stunt in the film! Avoid.


There is a Region 2 duel DTS/DD5.1 SE, as well as an earlier DD5.1 edition, both from Pioneer Japan. The DTS edition is nearly $80 shipped, so the DD5.1 edition is the better choice. The soundtracks are almost exactly the same and they feature the same 16x9 transfer & extras, so why not spend $50 less?

Being duel layered, there is ample room for a high bit rate transfer and soundtrack and Pioneer has provided both to near perfection. The 5.1 soundtrack has none of the hollowed out sound or distortion of the HK version. There is more bass and a louder surround presence. Nothing earth shattering compared to U.S. films, but still a marked improvement.

The picture quality is where the real difference can be seen. This anamorphic transfer is a complete triumph and blows the HK release away. It has better detail, a more solid black level, less print damage, no artifacting, gorgeous colors and a level of sharpness that can only be derived from a top notch 16x9 master. The constant shimmering that plagued the HK transfer is nowhere to be found here, even on the vast desert landscape of South Africa and the cobble stoned streets of Holland.

This disc's only problem is the lack of English subtitles for the tribe sequence. Thankfully, there is little dialogue for those scenes and the on screen action is self-explanatory.

Extras include bios in Japanese and three theatrical trailers.

If you know this film and have a code free player, this is the version to get. If you’ve never had the chance to experience WHO AM I? before, do so now!

"Matt Stevens"

Screenshots taken from Universe Version