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Eureka Blu-ray with 4 versions



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Black Mask

original title: Hak hap

Comparison:

  • Extended Cut (T.V.P.)
  • Extended Cut (Eureka)
Release: Apr 24, 2024 - Author: Muck47 - Translator: Muck47 - external link: IMDB

Comparison between the German extended version of T.V.P. and the British/American extended version of Eureka Entertainment

 

- 8 relevant differences
- Difference: 13.4 sec

Runtimes: 101:29 min (TVP) // 102:18 min (Eureka)

 

It could have been so nice...but no, even the British/American 2-disc Blu-ray edition of Jet Li's 90s smash hit Black Mask from Eureka Entertainment, available since April 22/23, 2024 in the UK/US, is unfortunately far from being the ultimate edition for this film, that's incredibly complex when it comes to different versions. We've already written our fingers to the bone about the chaos in a total of 8 reports, and the new release adds a few more. The deficits of the German 2-disc edition of TVP have been partially eradicated, but annoyingly and above all avoidably, new ones have also been added.

First the positive aspects, which are also the focus of this comparison: The editing errors in the extended version of T.V.P., which we had already described in passing in the report between the Hong Kong version and the extended version of TVP, are not to be lamented here. So there are no nonsensical mistakes, some of which were even present in all the other versions. Even the small additions to the violence in the shoot-out in the second half of the film are now included in full. What's more, the picture master(s) from Fortune Star that Eureka was allowed to use are at least somewhat newer and of better quality than the originals used by TVP. But well: 2016 (Eureka according to the note after the credits) vs 2010 (TVP) is not really something to brag about after all.

And as praiseworthy as it is that Eureka offers both a reconstruction of the Taiwan version and its own extended version on Disc 2, there is an unpleasant surprise with the inserts themselves. In contrast to The Iceman Cometh or The Big Boss, unfortunately no longer material was found in the Fortune Star archives and therefore Eureka had to fall back on the Taiwan DVD for inserts - and surprisingly these were not deinterlaced correctly. As a result, there are overly obvious "combing" effects. During movement, the picture is virtually unenjoyable due to a number of artifacts. Especially for the action expansions, of course, this is an absurdity, and this small collection of screenshots speaks for itself. TVP did not have this problem. The picture quality of the Taiwan DVD is really bad either way, but at least any movements during scenes were smooth to watch in the German reconstruction. The fact that you can still find such a technically outdated realization on a Blu-ray from a boutique label in 2024 is really surprising.

What else does the Eureka release offer? Disc 1 contains the Hong Kong version of the 2016 picture master and something that calls itself the export version - which, curiously enough, is simply the extended TVP cut of the export version instead. So here you actually get to see several Taiwan inserts correctly deinterlaced, but the movie itself is also a somewhat wild patchwork with its own editing decisions, whereby material from the actual export AND the US version is missing at the same time. And of course it mainly uses the very outdated US HD master, making it a bit ridiculous how Mike Leeder & Arne Venema offer their usual praise of never having seen the movie look that good before in the audio commentary.

Otherwise, of course, once again it's quite a chic presentation with booklet and exclusively produced bonus material. With a total of 4 film versions with improved picture quality and this sumptuous overall package, you should really consider yourself lucky if you compare this with earlier versions. But the fact that such strange mistakes have been made with the inserts/versions, in terms of the quality, unfortunately leaves a bland aftertaste.

 

Running times are according to the scheme
Extended Cut on German Blu-ray in 23.976fps / Extended Cut on British Blu-ray in 23.976fps

The British Blu-ray still has references to Fortune Star at the start.

31.5 sec




From 06:59-09:09 / 07:31-09:40 there are inserts from the Taiwan version for the first time. What is immediately noticeable, of course, is that the TVP version stays with the poor picture source of the Taiwan DVD throughout the whole scene, while the Eureka version only ever switches to it briefly (usually in the middle of shots) and otherwise uses the Hong Kong picture master. By doing it this way, a few Taiwan-exclusive frames were overlooked in Eureka, which add up to less than a second but this is completely unimportant. The aspect ratio is also striking: TVP uses 1.78:1 as the main source and 1.66:1 for inserts, while Eureka keeps the entire film in 1.85:1 (as with many Eureka/88 releases: by strictly adhering to this apparent original aspect ratio, the actual image source is cropped more than it needs to be). While TVP has consistently applied a thick blur effect over the burned-in subtitles in the lower part of the picture, Eureka has left them unprocessed.

To illustrate this, here is also a comparison of the first scene before and after the main HD master.

TVP 0.7 sec longer

German Extended Version (TVP)British/American Extended Version (Eureka)



19:24 / 19:56-20:02

The shot of Rock turning to the side is cut off earlier. He is actually still talking a bit at the end of the shot in both Hong Kong and Taiwan versions. After that, you can see clocks ticking and the monitor flickering earlier.

6.2 sec




Re-ordered scene
19:25 or 19:27-19:28 / 20:03-20:04

A shot of the timer appears in the Taiwan version during the "better move quickly" dialog. Since the TVP extended version has the complete 7 seconds of the Taiwan version built in, it is also shown here in this order. In Eureka, it runs directly after the shot of the yellow 75, as was the case in theatrical version. Since the theatrical and Taiwanese versions differ fundamentally in the sequence of the shots here, it was clear that a choice had to be made. Since Eureka showed all the footage before (including the 6.2 sec missing from TVP, which was completely nonsensical), this was the more clever solution for the scene.

No time difference

German extended version (TVP)British/American extended version (Eureka)



For the sake of completeness, it should be mentioned briefly that TVP again switched to the Taiwan material on a large scale, so that even identical scenes in between were unnecessarily from the poor image source and, thanks to occasional dialog, a lot of the image was constantly blurred at the bottom.

German Extended Version (TVP)British/American Extended Version (Eureka)




20:05 / 20:43-20:44

When there was actually an additional (inconsequential) moment in the Taiwan version shortly afterward, TVP simply used the regular Hong Kong master while Eureka was more thorough here. So when switching from Rock to Tsui, a few frames at the end/beginning of the shots can be seen as an insert.

0.9 sec




At 22:15 / 22:54, an insert from the export version begins at the scene change. The TVP version was accompanied by 0.2 sec of black frame, while the Eureka version runs through in one.

Two consecutive frames from the same scene at 22:29 / 23:07. TVP used the old US master here, in which the massively adjusted coloring during the flickering lights was particularly noticeable.

German Extended Version (TVP)British/American Extended Version (Eureka)




Alternative
23:58-24:11 / 24:37-24:57

Additional material of the Export version was arranged differently: The TVP version first fades over to Tsui with his hand on his head and then shows a few close-ups. The Eureka Extended shows these close-ups earlier and then usually lingers on the shots a little longer, while the TVP Extended fades over earlier. In addition, a long shot from above is only available in Eureka's cut.

Eureka 6.6 sec longer

German Extended Version (TVP)British/American Extended Version (Eureka)




24:50-24:51 / 25:36

The next Taiwan insert with the dancing Yuek-Lan begins slightly earlier on TVP.

+ 0.5 sec



63:56 / 64:43

The shot in which the assassin grabs the policeman's arms in all versions, which was annoyingly missing in the TVP version, is included in Eureka's version.

0.6 sec




64:04 / 64:51

Shortly afterwards, the Taiwan version had a short close-up in which a policeman is pulled forward. This moment overlooked by TVP is included in Eureka's version.

0.5 sec




These were virtually the only frames for screenshots of these two moments that were not riddled by artifacts in Eureka's version. In general, the scene is unfortunately a prime example of the interlacing problems already described in the intro and also shown with uncompressed images for both the Taiwan and extended versions of Eureka. Although these are again only short inserts and you don't have to constantly endure the poor quality of the Taiwan DVD as with TVP, the inserted moments have at least been deinterlaced in TVP, while Eureka constantly has bad combing effects during the fast movements.

German Extended Version (TVP)British/American Extended Version (Eureka)




There are several shots of a timer in the 88th/89th minute and the Taiwan DVD always showed a longer time on this one. This makes perfect sense, especially when Rock mentions at 89:00 / 89:50 that they still have a little more than two minutes (according to the original soundtrack and German dub), whereupon the theatrical version shows a significantly lower time. In all versions from Eureka, the higher, probably correct timer indication can be seen. Unfortunately, this no longer fits with the English dubbing, as they were probably also surprised by this and had Rock say "There's less than two minutes remaining".

German extended version (TVP)British/American extended version (Eureka)



For comparison, here's a screenshot of the old Hong Kong DVD with subtitles burned in from the theatrical version there.



Also curious during the same scene: The laser beams have probably been digitally reworked, which means that a flare effect has also disappeared in at least one place. Finally, here's a comparison image of the gunfire from the following scene, where the effects still simply don't look good.

German Extended Version (TVP)British/American Extended Version (Eureka)




The end credits are largely identical, although they run much faster in Eureka (to the different song used in the Mandarin dub!). There is also something missing towards the end after the Dolby logo and the different copyright notice is also illustrated here.

German Extended Version (TVP)British/American Extended Version (Eureka)