Friday, July 15, 2005

Sometimes things go better than you planned. I was in Walmart today, and they still had a bunch of 88 cent DVDs in stock. Yep, you read that right, 88 cents. Of course they come in a cheapy cardboard sleeve and not a DVD box or CD style jewelbox. So I dug through the pile a bit and found a copy of Return of the Streetfighter, the second of the mid '70s Sonny Chiba Streetfighter martial arts series. Buying it was a no brainer, even though I suspected it would turn out to be a bad transfer that would have some major problem the instant I played it. At that price you can throw it out if it doesn't work. But to my pleasant surprise it was actually a good looking budget DVD. Even more interesting was that the actual opening of the disc indicated it was a Front Row Entertainment product even though they weren't listed on the packaging. Hmm. This just makes me wonder yet once more about the legality of these ultracheapies. I suspect these are pretty precariously balanced on the borderline between legality and being out and out bootlegs.

I may go back and grab another title or three, although I'll continue to have little expectation of quality given some of the titles. The Streetfighter films at least have the advantage of being released in North America in the '90s at the behest of Chiba fan Quentin Tarintino in cleaned up form, so good quality source material is available for recent issues. Some folks have suspected in the past that the Front Row Entertainment DVDs were probably based on the laserdisc releases of these films. I know from past experience that a lot of the bargain releases of martial arts films in recent years are made from prints that are probably the original North American market prints from 20 years ago or whatever. And thats if you're lucky. I picked up a 2fer a while back where the one film on the DVD seemed to have been dubbed from a bad quality VHS copy. At least i bought that one for two bucks or whatever. I would have been utterly pissed off if I'd bought it at the original price of 20 bucks or whatever it was I saw some places online offering it for.

No comments: