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Red Wolf
cast: Kenny Ho, Christy Chung, Elaine Lui, and Ngai Sing

director: Yuen Woo-ping

88 minutes (18) 1995
widescreen ratio 16:9
Hong Kong Legends DVD Region 2 retail

RATING: 8/10
reviewed by Rob Marshall
A hodgepodge of Hollywood influences marks comedy thriller Red Wolf (aka: Hu meng wei long) out from the crowd of Eastern adventure movies. John McTiernan's Die Hard is one; Steven Seagal's Under Siege vehicle is another. But, instead of a battleship, the bad guys takeover a luxury cruise ship. Still, the decidedly flimsy storyline follows a similar development to American movies as two mismatched heroes struggle to defeat hijackers and save the lives of innocent passengers.
   Hong Kong action maestro Yuen Woo-ping, acclaimed fight choreographer of The Matrix, directs stars Kenny Ho and Christy Chung in their fight against a gang of terrorists, which include the fabulous Elaine Lui. There's lots of fun to be had as Lui plays her femme fatale role at full tilt, while Chung provides much of the silliness. Kenny Ho was a protégé of Jackie Chan, and this shows in the numerous stunt scenes that he performs against heavily armed opponents. In a way, this is hardly a classic Hong Kong movie, but it's unusual because there are several non-Asian actors involved and location shooting aboard a genuine ship (they couldn't afford many sets!) gives the backdrop a sense of realism lacking in most similar productions.
   For DVD, Red Wolf receives Special Platinum edition status, with a two-disc package. The main film has been digitally restored and re-mastered for anamorphic transfer, enhanced for 16:9 TV, with Dolby digital 5.1 sound in English-dubbed or original Cantonese versions, plus English or Dutch subtitle options, and scenes indexed in 28 chapters. The lively audio commentary has genre expert Bey Logan and leading lady Christy Chung. Hidden extra: promo trailers for other Hong Kong movies.
   The second disc has nearly four hours of extras with nifty menu designs tagged as sections of the cruise ship, opening to director's biography showcase - Genius On The Move (10 minutes), four filmed interviews - with the adorable Christy Chung (in Love On Delivery, 18 minutes), the totally charming Elaine Lui (in Lights, Camera, Action, 18 minutes), plus two supporting players. Bobby Samuels (Black American actor and stuntman) talks about the short-lived G7 stunt crew of westerners in Red Wolf Revisited (19 minutes) and much else besides in Gentleman And Warrior (14 minutes), while UK actor/stuntman Steve Brettingham laments the general lack of preparation in Hong Kong movies in When Opportunity Knocks... (16 minutes). He certainty wasn't ready for his seduction scene with Elaine Lui!
   There's also a stunt-choreography workshop with Ngai Sing (37 minutes, with English subtitles), another Elaine Lui interview about Sammo Hung's American TV series Martial Law (17 minutes), an illustrated text-biography of Christy Chung, a glamour pix gallery of Elaine Lui in Angel On Fire, some behind-the-scenes photos in Candid Camera and a couple of trailers, but the highlight of this disc is excellent featurette Heromakers (62 minutes), which has interviews with many of Hong Kong's cadre of stuntmen (plus contributions from Jackie Chan and Sammo Hung), and boasts lots of clips and behind-the-scenes footage. This last is essential viewing if you are into Hong Kong cinema.

copyright © 2001 - 2002 VideoVista