AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 DAYS blu-ray review

Germany Region B blu-ray

1080p Widescreen 2.29:1

English: DTS-HD Master Audio 6.1 (original)

German: DTS-HD Master Audio 6.1 (dub)

Subtitles: English, German








I never saw this film in the theater or on DVD until blind-buying the German blu-ray when I was in Germany. When I first saw the trailer for this film in 2004, I remember thinking, “there is no way in hell that I would see this film.” I don’t know what changed but after watching some clips of this film on tv, I was actually surprised how entertaining this film was. After watching the whole movie on blu-ray, I was pretty impressed. It’s basically a fun adventure film which is mainly carried by the charms of Jackie Chan and Cecil de France. The only negative about this film is Steve Coogan. I assumed that this film was his big chance to get into Hollywood as a leading man, but he certainly isn’t one after watching this film. He sort of reminds me of Russell Brand actually – good in small bits, but he’s not good enough to carry a whole film on his shoulders. Coogan is not dashing, charming, interesting, or even a good actor in this film. But everything else about the film is good. It’s worth it just to see Arnold’s cameo as a crazy wigged Turkish leader. Another surprise in the film is that the action choreography is excellent – it’s perfectly edited and there are tons of martial arts scenes which I didn’t expect. Before watching this film, I always thought that Jackie Chan would be just a supporting sidekick in this, but he is actually the main star of the film. Karen Mok is excellent as well as the hot villainess. She gets a really great fight scene with Jackie Chan in the climax.

I feel bad for dissing Jackie Chan for a while when he did these Hollywood family action films. But actually, the majority of them aren’t really that bad (Karate Kid, Forbidden Kingdom, Rush Hours, Shanghai Noons, and now Around the Wold in 80 Days) – they are solid entertainers and are pretty much the equivalent of his 1990 HK films which are also family action films with silly stories. I’m almost tempted to see The Medallion, The Tuxedo, and The Spy Next Door now.

The German Region B blu-ray has reference video and audio quality. No problems whatsoever. The film looks beautiful since this is a film that goes from one exotic location to the other. The English audio is perfect as well. There are no forced German subtitles when watching this blu-ray with the original audio.

There’s a couple “making ofs” and a trailer too.

Highly recommended for fans of fun adventure movies and Jackie Chan!

FORBIDDEN CITY COP blu-ray review

Hong Kong Region A blu-ray

1080p Widescreen 1.85:1

Cantonese: Dolby TrueHD 7.1 (original)

Mandarin: Dolby Digital 5.1 (dub)

Subtitles: English



MOVIE: 8.5






There are only two really special actors with a soul in mainstream Hong Kong cinema, and they are Jackie Chan and Stephen Chow. I do love Jet Li and Donnie Yen, but they are both mainly glorified two-dimensional action heroes that don’t have any soul in their films. I normally can’t stand Hong Kong comedies, but it’s only Stephen Chow and Jackie Chan that can make great comedy movies that everyone can enjoy.

Stephen Chow’s Forbidden City Cop is a great, fast-paced entertaining flick! I felt like I was watching John Carpenter or Sam Raimi direct Stephen Chow as a cross between Inspector Gadget and James Bond during Ancient China times.

Stephen Chow plays an outcast royal guard of the emperor who spends his days as a doctor, inventor, loving husband, and dreams of joining the royal guard again. He does not have any kung-fu skills, but he’s got serious skills with his gadgets. The other emperor’s royal guards get killed by a cultish organization that want to take over China, so the emperor hires Stephen Chow to go undercover to stop this power-seeking cult. Chow uses his brains and gadgets to outsmart this cult.

This movie is not only extremely funny, but Stephen Chow has some serious chemistry with his wife, played by Carina Lau. So it’s not only a funny action movie, but the romance is excellent and a bit touching for a mainstream Hong Kong film.

The action, editing, and directing is creative and amazing. So if you are seeking a great Hong Kong film with a combination of action, comedy, and romance, Forbidden City Cop is one Hong Kong classic to watch.

Surprisingly for a 90s HK film, the soundtrack is great as well – even spoofing the James Bond theme song throughout the film.

As for the blu-ray, I’m going to state my usual disclaimer about Kam & Ronson HK blu-rays:

Lower your expectations. People say that these blu-rays from this Hong Kong company KAM & RONSON are just upconverted DVDs. Maybe so, but they still look and sound better than previous dvds. If you love any of the movies that KAM & RONSON are making blu-rays into, then buy them. Just expect them to be better than your previous dvds. Don’t expect them to be reference blu-ray examples.

The video quality is better than past Hong Kong DVDs, and the video is clear and crisp, but this company has no desire to clean up scratches and white specs off of the video. The video quality is at its best during any nicely lit day scenes. But night scenes aren’t that great.
The audio is actually very good. The Cantonese Dolby TruHD 7.1 sounds more like a 2.1 soundtrack (as on all Kam & Ronson blu-rays). The dialogue is clear and there is great subwoofer action.

The extras are only a 1080p non-subtitled trailer and a non-subtitled 10-minute making of the film.

The English subtitles are riddled with grammar and spelling mistakes, but not bad enough to ruin the movie-watching experience.

If you love Stephen Chow, you are going to love this film!



Anamorphic Widescreen 2.35:1

DD 5.1 French

DD 5.1 English (dub)

Subtitles: English



MOVIE: 9.5






I have seen many movie adaptations of mainstream or obscure comic books from around the world. I think that the best Hollywood adaptations of graphic novels are Watchmen, Sin City, 300, Kick-Ass, Scott Pilgrim, and V for Vendetta. Sure, I love the Spiderman and Nolan’s Batman movies, but those aren’t adaptations of any of their particular books. I would say that I’m a casual comic-book fan of American comics, but I take my European comics very seriously (Tintin and Asterix, for example). I don’t like it when movie adaptations of European comic books are messed up. When the first Asterix movie came out – Asterix & Obelix vs. Caesar – I was pretty disappointed because it was just hijacking the title of the original comic book. The movie is nothing like the original comic book – far from being a movie adaptation of the book. But over the years, I’ve learned to appreciate this film once I accepted it as a new Asterix adventure and not being an adaptation of its book. But when Asterix & Obelix: Mission Cleopatra came out, now this was the Asterix movie I dreamed of!

Asterix & Obelix: Mission Cleopatra is a perfect movie adaptation of the original comic book Asterix and Cleopatra. Alain Chabet, more known as an actor, directed and wrote the screenplay for this film. He also stars in the film playing a really funny Julius Caesar who’s the boyfriend to the hottest Cleopatra put on screen, Monica Bellucci (sorry, Elizabeth Taylor). In their Egyptian palace, the two leaders bicker like a regular couple and just casually make a bet with each other: Cleopatra wants to prove to Caesar that Egyptians are greater people than Romans by building another palace in just three months. So Cleopatra hires the young, up-and-coming architect played by the extremely funny Jamel Debbouze. Cleopatra’s usual architect, who is old and traditional, is jealous because he’s not chosen to do the job, so he does everything possible to prevent the younger architect from succeeding. Knowing that it’s impossible to build a huge palace in just three months, the young architect travels to Gaul to get the help of Getafix the Druid who can make a magic potion that can give anyone superhuman strength. So Asterix, Obelix, and Getafix travel to Egypt to help the young architect complete the palace within 3 months. Along the way, the Gauls have to deal with Romans, the other villainous architect, and even pirates that try to stall their task.

Chabet totally understands Asterix and its humor. The screenplay is so funny and has the exact same type of humor that was in Goscinny and Underzo’s book. I really wish that Chabet could direct any future Asterix sequels. It’s too bad he didn’t get to film the third Asterix film, Asterix at the Olympic Games, which was just a piss-poor film. The acting in Mission Cleopatra is perfect as well. Besides Chabet and Bellucci, it’s a treat to see the chemistry between Gerard Depardieu and Christian Clavier. They have been a funny duo in other French films as well, and they certainly are awesome in this film playing Obelix and Asterix.

If people say that Sin City the movie is like the graphic novel coming to life on film, then so is Asterix & Obelix: Mission Cleopatra. This movie is like a live-action comic book – from the flow of the film to the funny characters and to the impressive eye-candy special effects. Watching this film gave me the same pleasure as reading the book, or any Asterix book for that matter.

For people who want English subtitles or an English dub, the only way to go is to find this DVD from the United Kingdom. The DVD quality is excellent. The anamorphic widescreen video quality has sharpness and detail that is quite good. The video appears free of edge enhancement and pixelation, which makes a natural, crisp-looking image as good as it’s going to get for a DVD. The French DD 5.1 is really active as well. This movie is full of action with catapults, kicks, and punches so the audio quality is excellent, with clear dialogue and effects. Bass is strong, deep and tight in the action sequences. The English dub is sort of silly sounding but it’s good enough for kids who can’t read subtitles yet.

There are no extras on this DVD.

This movie was made for blu-ray, but it’s only available in Spain and Germany without English subtitles. It’s pretty strange that the blu-ray isn’t even available in France. But either way, this UK DVD is a perfect way to enjoy this masterpiece adaptation of a French comic book. For fans of the Asterix comic book, it’s a masterpiece. For people who have never read the Asterix comic book, it’s still a pretty entertaining and witty movie. I’m sure the non-Asterix fans would rate this film lower, but I just loved this movie as a film by itself and as an adaptation of the comic book.

7 HUSBANDS FOR HURMUZ blu-ray review

Turkey Region B blu-ray

1080i Widescreen 1.78:1

Turkish: DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1,  LPCM Lossless 7.1, DD 5.1 EX

Subtitles: English, Turkish, French, German, Dutch









After watching the trailer for this 7 HUSBANDS FOR HURMUZ, I thought it would be a fun, visually entertaining eye candy-type comedy. And I wasn’t disappointed in that respect. What I liked about the film is that the majority of the film showcased extremely hot Turkish ladies. This is one of those movies that proves that if you don’t have an extremely good story, just fill up the screen with a lot of hot actresses. I was even surprised that this movie is also a musical. There were about seven to nine very catchy rewatchable songs in 7 HUSBANDS FOR HURMUZ.

Here’s the kicker – it’s hard to tell if this movie was horribly written or if the English subtitles were awful. I’m leaning towards the subtitles problems. Even though the English subtitles were pretty much grammatically correct with good spelling, the subtitles were not translated well. I really had no idea what was going on in this film. It’s like everyone was double-talking or babbling. While the screenplay may have been witty and funny, there is no way to figure that out if you don’t speak Turkish. I did read other reviews of this film and it did get mixed reviews with people criticizing the screenplay.

From what I could make of the story, I couldn’t figure out if the main girl, Hurmuz, was looking for 7 husbands, had 7 husbands already, was hiding from all 7 husbands, or if she was trying to hook other hot Turkish ladies up with the 7 husbands. I would have to probably watch this movie two more times to figure out the gist of the film. But in the meantime, damn this movie had great music and extremely attractive women.

The Turkish blu-ray is of excellent quality. The 1080i is just awesome. The colors stand out, they pop with amazing clarity. The audio is just about perfect as well – perfectly mixed and really comes alive during the songs.

The only extras are a trailer, teaser and photo gallery.

This mainstream Turkish movie is worth watching for a change from the usual art-house Turkish film that gets exported to other countries. It’s just too bad the English subtitles on this blu-ray sucks.