When it comes to buying movies on home video formats, I'm sure everyone is familiar with the concept of double dipping. For the uninitiated it's buying a dvd (or whatever format) of a film only to buy it again when the film is re-released in a better edition, usually a new transfer or maybe with new extras. Like a moth to a flame there are maybe thirty to forty movies I'm drawn to buying over and over again, it's something that seems ingrained in my wiring. While some movie fans can be satisfied with one version of a film, and others may skip a few re-issues to wait for a significant upgrade, such as a release on a new format, unfortunately my brain refuses to function in this sensible manner. Which brings me to my most extreme case, John Woo's Hard Boiled.
Since the film was released back in 1992, I've bought countless different versions across just about all the home video formats. When I read positive feedback on the Japanese blu ray release I pulled the trigger without giving it another thought. Only afterwards did I think do I really need another version of Hard Boiled? Guiltily checking my shelves, I found that this would be Hard Boiled edition twelve for me, yes twelve different editions of Woo's action classic, and it isn't even my favourite of his movies, just the most exploited!
01. Tartan VHS
02. Encore UK Laserdisc
03. Pioneer Japanese Laserdisc
04. Delta Video French Laserdisc
05. Criterion collection US dvd
06. Fox Lorber US dvd
07. Tartan collector's edition UK dvd. The subtitles on this edition are by far the best of any version of the film.
08. Mei Ah HK remastered dvd
09. E-M-S German remastered dvd
10. Dragon Dynasty US ultimate edition. Dubtitles ruin this release, but the extras are pretty good.
11. Stranglehold US PS3 game pseudo blu ray release
12. Japanese blu ray. By far the best the film has ever looked anywhere, lookout for more on this soon.
This is clearly insane, as my long suffering wife knows only too well. Looking on the brightside, maybe this post can help anyone out there who thinks they have a problem. Who knows, maybe just maybe there's even someone worse than I am! It could have been worse still as I haven't included the copies I didn't hold onto.
It may seem a little obsessive compulsive and I've no doubt many would frown upon what to them would be my flagrant disregard for the value of money, and yes there are thousands of other movies I don't already own that I could be spending the cash on instead. For me though some films are worth the time, effort and money it takes to track down a worthy new release. Of course not all "upgrades" turn out to be worthwhile, but in the case of this Japanese blu ray of Hard Boiled, although it's a film I've bought and seen many, many times, it's now been given a new lease of life. By being able to take the best version available and show it a little care and attention to make it even better (more to follow), I now have the satisfaction of being able to recreate the feeling of seeing the movie for the very first time, and that is something very special.