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Righting Wrongs (Above the Law)

original title: Zhi fa xian feng

Comparison:

  • Vinegar Syndrome Mandarin cut
  • Universe DVD (Mandarin cut)
Release: Aug 01, 2022 - Author: Muck47 - Translator: Muck47 - external link: IMDB

Comparison between the Mandarin version on the Blu-ray of Vinegar Syndrome (Disc 2) and the Mandarin version on Side B of Universe's Hong Kong DVD.


We've already written quite a bit about Righting Wrongs (Alternative title: Above the Law) in several reports. The comparison between the Mandarin version and the Hong Kong version deserves special mention here. The Mandarin version with more than 60 differences and a more "harmless" ending was also the basis for the export version and afterwards further edited releases in e.g. Germany, Great Britain or France. Restored in good (SD) quality, only the Hong Kong version has been offered so far.

Already since 2021 it was clear through hints in the Blu-ray.com forum that the British label 88 Films is working on an HD release of the title. As for many films with Jackie Chan and other Hong Kong classics, a lush package with many original audio tracks, bonus material and especially several versions is officially announced by now. There is even a hybrid cut with different options for the end scene and an ending randomizer. Before the British edition is available from September 2022, it came as a surprise in July that the US boutique label Vinegar Syndrome also announced a Blu-ray release of the film. It's common for titles from this label to be available exclusively in the label store just a few weeks later.

The corresponding 3-disc Blu-ray edition of Vinegar Syndrome, which uses the same new HD masters from Fortune Star that were also provided to 88 Films, was now available to us. Knowing about the previously poor quality availability of the Mandarin version and its over 60 differences in detail, which also inevitably affected the export cuts based on it, we took a closer look at the new HD versions of Vinegar Syndrome. For the "normal" viewer, these are simply qualitatively excellent masters of the largely original, official versions of the film. Otherwise, the release of Vinegar Syndrome with two robust glossy slipcases and a booklet with several great essays is once again a dream come true for fans.

In detail, however, it becomes apparent that the master used for the Mandarin version is probably a reconstruction. For the most part, it's done absolutely correctly, far from the really gross editing errors Fortune Star allowed themselves with Dragon Lord or Millionaires' Express. However, several mini-deviations in the range of up to 3 sec were not reconstructed 1:1. Here, the new Mandarin HD master then corresponds to the Hong Kong version - or it was suddenly trimmed a bit in the scenes around it, probably to make up for the difference on the soundtrack.

As I said, there is absolutely nothing spectacular about it. In any case, it's striking that exactly the same small editing errors were then carried over for the new HD export version on Vinegar Syndrome. However, our early comparisons again showed that these mini-deviations were actually also present here (as well as on the German, UK and French exploitations based on them) exactly the same as they were on the Universe DVD with the "original" Mandarin version. Thus, for the Blu-ray from 88 Films in September, it remains to be seen if these editing errors have been corrected on both the Mandarin and export versions. On various previous Asian releases from 88 Films, even such minor deviations in the frame area were indeed corrected on the masters supplied by Fortune Star.


Running time information is arranged according to the scheme
Mandarin Cut on Disc 2 of the American Blu-ray / Universe DVD in PAL speed

 

A few additional mini-deviations with a duration of less than 0.5 sec each were not listed in the cut report.

At the beginning, various logos on the Vinegar version, while the Universe DVD immediately enters in the first scene.

+ 74 sec (= 1:14 min)




02:35-02:36 / 01:15

The gun on the side of the instrument can be seen a moment earlier in the Vinegar version.

+ 0.5 sec



In the shots shortly thereafter, the actual Mandarin version was also tightened up a bit. This was ignored in the Vinegar version.


03:25-03:26 / 02:02

Before the car bounces down the meadow, a few frames were trimmed again in the correct Mandarin version. In the Vinegar Syndrome version, this was not taken into account.

+ 0.6 sec



06:46-06:47 / 05:15

A shot of the killer in the hallway starts a little earlier. To be more precise, here he passes the wall before he then comes around the corner.

+ 0.5 sec




06:50 / 05:18

The shot of the killer from behind was mistakenly cut off too early on the 2022 Blu-ray - presumably to compensate for the previous mini-difference.

0.8 sec



During the following assassination, the Vinegar version again loses trivial frames (several times < + 0.5 sec and in total 2.3 sec).


16:47-16:48 / 14:52

A shot of Chan in the car starts insignificantly earlier.

+ 1 sec




17:25-17:27 / 15:29

Chan creeps around the room a little longer.

+ 2.6 sec




As the scene progresses, there were actually a few mini-cuts that were roughly reconstructed. In the end, the Vinegar version is about 1 sec shorter.

19:33 / 17:29

Another striking moment is towards the end, before the one guy picks up the phone. Here the Universe DVD is a little longer.

0.5 sec




25:55 / 23:35

The difference in runtime evens out a few minutes later, with the last shot before the scene on the precinct being insignificantly longer on the HD master.

+ 0.5 sec




The scene with the murder by the superintendent, which is conspicuously different in each of the three cut versions, is almost exactly identical. Only a few trivial frames accumulate here and there (though also in the shots around the original Mandarin changes) in favor of the HD master.


When the superintendent hangs the grandfather in the 62nd/60th minute, there are insignificant frame aberrations.


After identical credits, there are other company references.

Universe DVDMandarin cut by Vinegar Syndrome






As the credits roll, however, there is a curious observation about the two other HD versions of Vinegar Syndrome, i.e. the Hong Kong version and the export version.

Timecodes all from the new Vinegar versions:

Hongkong cut 96:03-96:06 / Mandarin version 98:38-98:41 / Export cut 90:53-90:56

In the fight of Chan against the superintendent, the closeup, in which Chan takes the superintendent on his shoulders, is actually followed by the side shot, in which the superintendent is thrown to the side. That's how it was in all the old versions. Curiously, both the Hong Kong version and the export version of Vinegar Syndrome show a different part of the fight here instead.

Export cut by Vinegar SyndromeMandarin version by Vinegar Syndrome (Original scene)



Here are the same moments from the Vinegar Hongkong edits, which also has the wrong arrangement of shots.




Hongkong cut 96:14-96:17 / Mandarin version 98:49-98:52 / Export cut 91:04-91:07

Shortly thereafter, Chan's slow-motion kick is repeated several times. The last loop is now replaced for the first time in the new HD master by the follow-up shots, in which the superintendent has to take further attacks.

Export cut by Vinegar SyndromeMandarin version by Vinegar Syndrome (Original scene)



Here are the same moments from the Vinegar Hongkong edits, which also has the wrong arrangement of shots.




Also, here's a note on the soundtrack just about the export version:

Hongkong cut 02:40 / Mandarin version 02:40 / Export cut 03:41

When the assassin shoots and Chan throws his book in the air for protection, there were the first mini-cuts of the Mandarin version. With the English audio only from the export version, one was obviously confused here and has inserted a second shot on the soundtrack for the first time. This has not been done before on any of the old releases and is not the case on the soundtracks of the Mandarin and Hong Kong versions of Vinegar Syndrome.




Slipcase and cover of the Blu-ray set by Vinegar Syndrome: