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Accident Blu-ray Review

  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Video Codec: AVC/MPEG-4
  • Resolution: 1080p/24 (23.976Hz)
  • Audio Codec: Cantonese DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (48kHz/16-bit), Cantonese Dolby Digital 5.1 and 2.0
  • Subtitles: English (Forced)
  • Subtitles Color: White
  • Region: A (Region-Locked)
  • Rating: N/R
  • Run Time: 87 Mins.
  • Discs: 1 (1 x Blu-ray)
  • Studio: Shout! Factory
  • Blu-ray Release Date: June 12, 2012
  • List Price: $26.97

Overall
[Rating:3.5/5]
The Film
[Rating:3.5/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:3.5/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:4/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:1.5/5]

Click thumbnails for high-resolution 1920X1080p screen captures

(Screen captures are lightly compressed with lossy JPEG  thus are meant as a general representation of the content and do not fully reveal the capabilities of the Blu-ray format)

The Film

[Rating:3.5/5]

Hong Kong director Pou-Soi Cheang crafts an intelligent crime thriller in Accident (意外,Yì Wài) that is part Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, part I Saw the Devil. Ho Kwok-fai (Louis Koo) is a hitman tortured by his wife’s death in a car accident. Ironically, he as built up a reputation in the crime world for organizing the most elaborate assassinations and making them look like accidents. So meticulous is he that, among his collective of collaborators, he is known as “The Brain.” His latest mark, an elderly man in wheelchair whose son wants him dead, will prove the undoing of his gang, when things go badly and a bus accident during the job leaves the Brain wondering if the “accident” was really an accident. He launches a detailed investigation, with everyone a suspect, including his own partners, and the people involved in hiring him for the last job. Can a man who has spent his life orchestrating the perfect accidents ever accept that maybe an accident was just an accident?

What makes this film interesting, like Tinker Tailor, is not an incessant amount of violence or special effects, but the fact that suspicion falls just about everywhere and the filmmakers attempt to allow the viewers into the head of the Brain, no pun intended. They certainly aren’t anywhere near as successful as keeping this rouse going or making it as intricate and suspenseful as Le Care’s story, but as a slight change of pace from the usual Hong Kong action films, it is a success.

Video Quality

[Rating:3.5/5]

Accident was shot on medium speed 35mm Kodak Vision2 250D 5205 and on Kodak Vision2 500T 5218 film stock and processed at the famous Shaw Brothers labs in Hong Kong. The image wavers a lot in this AVC/MPEG-4 1080p/24 encodement on a BD-25 disc. Some of the brightly lit scenes look clean and detailed, especially where close-ups are concerned. Unfortunately, many of the shots suffer from softness and a bit of graininess that boarders on noise. Blacks sometimes look solid and deep, but very often look washed out, grainy and greenish/bluish in color. White levels also clip in some spots.

Audio Quality

[Rating:4/5]

The Cantonese DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (48kHz/16-bit) soundtrack fares a bit better than the image does, offering clean dialogue with good dynamic range and nicely extended lows. There is good use made of the surround channels for atmosphere and discrete effects. I should mention also that the English subtitles not only seem a bit grammatically incorrect in places, but they are encoded right onto the video, so for any native Cantonese speakers, they cannot be turned off.

Supplemental Materials

[Rating:1.5/5]

There’s nothing much here at all, only the obligatory theatrical trailer in 1080p and a run-of-the-mill making-of inexplicably upscaled to 1080p.

The supplements:

  • Making of (1.33:1; window-boxed; upscaled 1080p/24; 00:12:39)
  • Trailer (1.78:1; 1080p/24; DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1)

The Definitive Word

Overall:

[Rating:3.5/5]

I urge everyone into Hong Kong cinema to give Accident a try. Well acted with a slow-burning, suspenseful story arc, the film is at the very least worth renting on a weekend to blow a couple of hours.

Additional Screen Captures

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Overall
[Rating:3.5/5]
The Film
[Rating:3.5/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:3.5/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:4/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:1.5/5]

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