DVD Title
 Drunken Angel
International Title
 Drunken Angel
Movie Length: 98 minutes Original Length: 98 minutes
Company: Bo-Ying Release: 2005
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1 Anamorphic: No
Region: 0 Discs: 1
  
Language/Sound:
Japanese (1.0 Mono)
Subtitles:
English, Chinese, Japanese
Extras
· Menus (English)
· Chapters (18)
Captures
Review
Anthony Romero

Although billed as a "region 6" release, this disc by Bo-Ying is in fact a region free DVD. Beating out the region 1 release by a couple of years, this title, along with its Mei Ah cousin, were often what Akira Kurosawa enthusiasts settled for outside of Japan until 2007. So, now with Criterion's Drunken Angel out on the market, how does this release fair? Not too well to be honest, with video quality on par with the region 1 but with abysmal audio and extra presentations.


 Video:

The video quality here is pretty similar to the later day Criterion release. Both have a lot of print damage, with moments of light shimmer and an overall soft look to the video. The placement of scratches are different between the two, indicating that different sources were utilized, as to be expected since Criterion often tries to track down their own print for their releases. The major differences between the two is the overall brightness and level of contrast. This video track is a lot lighter than the region 1 version, while the contrast also looks to be set lower. This is very obvious during an early scene with the clouds, which are all but washed away in Criterion's release:

Region 0 - Region 1

Drunken Angel is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.33:1, or full screen. Unlike the Criterion release, this one is not window boxed.


 Audio:

Drunken Angel has one audio track, a one channel mono presentation in Japanese. The overall quality is pretty poor. It's not as clear as it could be, with some of the dialogue sounding slightly muffled, even more so than the Criterion release.

The audio can be accompanied with four, removable, subtitle tracks. There are two for Chinese, both simplified and traditional. There is also one for Japanese, and finally an English one as well. The English one, as expected, is iffy. All of the names have been changed to more typical Chinese ones, such as Chung Wing for Matsunaga and Kong for Okada. A lot of the Japanese aspects are lost in the translations too, such as wine for sake or dollars for yen. Besides these, the translations in general are typo ridden with a fair number of them not reading very well in general. For example, the immortal translation of "You were the tommy chick last time" which is said to a young boy who had a tummy ache. A few lines go without translations as well.


 Extras:

None. This release has a menu and chapters, but otherwise is devoid of any extra content. As a side note, the main menu oddly refers to the film as "Alcoholic Angel".


 Overview:

Bottom line, just go for the Criterion release. The video quality might be comparable, but this disc loses out in every other way. The only reason to suggest this particular title, in fact, is if the viewer feels more comfortable with Chinese subtitles than English and would like the release for that aspect.