Monday, April 30, 2012

Karate Warriors: Comparison (Brentwood vs. Welcome to the Grindhouse)

The Film : Chieko (Sonny Chiba), a mysterious stranger arrives in town and is caught up in gang violence in the streets. When Chieko comes across young thug lying facedown in the gutter, he takes the man to hospital to get him medical attention. One of the nurse at the hospital Yumi informs Chieko that there is an on going turf war between the Iga and Nishi mobs. Through out the rest of the film Chieko will befriend both the Iga and Nishi mobs as he plays them against each other.

The Brentwood Karate warriors transfer is nearly unwatchable and I would rate it as the worst of all their Chiba releases. The image is so soft, murky and cropped that you miss almost have of the film. The BCI release will come as a revelation to all Chiba fans with its colorful and sharp image which is presented in its original aspect ratio.
Audio wise the Brentwood release is a mess with noisy distortion and tiny sounding dialog that is hard to make out. The BCI release is free of any audio defects and overall its sound full despite its mono limitations.
Karate Warriors is part of Brentwood’s 10 Faces of Sonny Chiba set which includes nine other Sonny Chiba films and outside of a Sonny Chiba bio there are no real extra content. Extras for the BCI release include Trailers for The Bodyguard, Legend of Eight Samurai, 9 Deaths of a Ninja and Sister Streetfighter. The remaining extras consist of ads and Grindhouse related buffers.
Karate Warriors gets its best DVD release to date via BCI Welcome to the Grindhouse double feature.

Theatrical Release Date: Japan, 1976
Director: Kazuhiko Yamaguchi
Cast: Etsuko Shihomi, Hiroshi Miyauchi, Sanae Obori, Kenji Ohba, Tatsuya Nanjo, Sonny Chiba, Emi Hayakawa, Masashi Ishibashi
DVD released: 2002 2007
Approximate running time: 88m04s 88m08s
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1 Full Frame 2.35:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Rating: NR NR
Sound: Dolby Digital Mono English Dolby Digital Mono English
DVD Release: Brentwood BCi Eclipse/Deimos
Region Coding: Region 0 NTSC Region 1 NTSC
Retail Price: OOP $12.98

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