For the Final Version of this I intend to do a Multi-disc version with custom menus and everything.
Ill try my best not to be confusing but there's quite a lot to cover and I have to go to work soon.
From the research and work ive done so far and the various versions Ive collected over the Years here is what ive got and where I am.
What I have is.
French DVD version. PAL 720x576 16.9 Cantonese 5.1, Mono
2 Tartan DVD editions (Tartan Asia Extreme and Hard Subbed Version) PAL 720x576 16.9 DTS, AC3 5.1 and mono mixes in both Cantonese and English (Best English Subs)
Mei Ah Remastered DVD NTSC 720x480 16.9 Remastered DTS, AC3 in cantonese. (Direct English Translation subs)
Criterion DVD NTSC 720x480 4:3 Letterbox Mono in Cantonese and English Comentary.
Dragon Dynasty Blu Ray. 1920x1080p DTS HD 5.1 Cantonese, AC3 5.1 English
I have taken the PAL Versions and done a 25fps to 23.976 conversion to them and the Subtitles.
and done a reverse telecine from 29 fps to 23.976 on the NTSC Versions.
Almost all of them don't sync up as it seems There are various versions of the film from completely different masters made custom by the distributor of the film in that region. (The Killer Is A Different Story and Sync up almost perfectly)
The only 2 that do are the Dragon Dynasty and Criterion Versions.
The French DVD is the best Picture overall. Has a bit of a blue tint but over all has nice grain and all the detail. The 2nd in line is the Dragon Dynasty which has a much higher resolution but has the dreaded DNR issue that plagues this format and has wiped out much of the Detail kind of like the Predator Ultimate Edition! (Plus it has a weird Aspect ratio where the picture has been squashed slightly!) The Tartan Asia extreme is good but not as good at the above and the others are way behind.
So its The French for the picture then.....
Well its missing bits! and when I say bits its 3 or 4 frames from at the end of a shot sometimes and its random through out as i mentioned above all have this characteristic a little (With the Meh Ah Remaster The audio is in-sync to the audio with others when you realign at where a reel change would of occurred, there are some other sync re-alinement but it took me about 2 days to finish it, More on this later)
When considering the other factors like the Multiple Audio Tracks available (Most of them from the Dragon Dynasty & Criterion)and that the Criterion is The only one that had John Woo Supervise the Telecine (From his own Print I believe.) its a bit more hard. Remember the Dragon Dynasty syncs up with the Criterion.
For my version 1 I synced up to the Dragon Dynasty with good success. The only thing I did not finish is the Proper Subs from The Tartan.
The other thing would be to go into the French version and remaster all the picture to the Audio and add frames here and there ect or re cut all the audio tracks to the French Picture.
Its a decision Ive not fully made yet. What do you think?
The audio an Hard Boiled has always sounded crap to me. It was fine on a T.V on VHS in the early days but you put it through a HiFi and worse a Digital Amp it sounds weird. Compare it to the English Dub where the music and Sound Fx sound good to me.
The best audio for me were the original Mono. Just sounds the best, more bass and better eq. Hard Boiled was released in mono and all the 5.1 mixes have been created from the mono mix. The DTS track on the Blu ray is passable but I have tried e.qing it myself add in more bass and a custom LFE channel to spruce it up a bit. sounded Better but nothing to the clarity of the English Dub.
Now I gather in 92 when Hard Boiled was released the foreign markets were given a print with the original Mono mix and a Sound Fx and Music audio track for there dub. This must still be floating around because it sounds like the Meh Ai remaster uses these tracks and mixes them with the original Mono. Sounds Much better but at times has horrible POPs, glitches and phasing. Still not good enough really but sounds better than all the 5.1 mixes.
My plan is to use the Blu ray DTS, Cantonese and AC3 English tracks, the Meh Ai DTS and CD soundtrack and create my own custom mix. Its a tough one as they all have problems. I have started syncing the soundtrack up to the film (Dragon Dynasty Picture) with is a big job in its self as the tracks on the CD Soundtrack run at a different speeds, Mixes and are edited different (3 different tracks used on the CD make up a sequence in the film) Plus some music is not included on the CD. At the end I will hope to have a separate Dialogue Track, Sound Fx Track, and Music Track some of them will cross but it will be close enough to make a decent 5.1 mix.
How much Better does the Criterion Mono on the Laser-disc Sound to the DVD? I gather it PCM? If its a lot better would be grate to add this as the Original Audio track on the final.
From what has been wrote before on various forums the general consensus is that the Tartan DVD has the Best Subtitles available. I'm trying my best to sync these up to the Dragon Dynasty Release. A PAL to NTSC conversion is not possible due to the problems outlined in the Picture Section above. It takes time but Ill get there.
I watched the Mei Ah remaster and the Subs are Direct translation from the Cantonese. They suffer from most Chinese translations and are a bit all over the place but add more to whats going on. Would a mix of this and the Tartan into a new translation be worth while?
Next I will go through what extra features I have collected and some things I know are available but have not got hold of.