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New Battles Without Honor and Humanity
SPECIFICATIONS
  • 2.35:1 Widescreen
  • 2.35:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
  • Japanese Dolby Digital 1.0 Mono
  • Japanese PCM Mono
  • English subtitles
  • 2 Discs
FEATURES
  • Beyond the Films: New Battles Without Honor and Humanity, a new video appreciation by Fukasaku biographer Sadao Yamane
  • Teaser Trailer
  • Theatrical Trailer

New Battles Without Honor and Humanity

Dual-Format Edition
Reviewed by: Chris Galloway

Directed By: Kinji Fukasaku
1974 | 98 Minutes

Release Information
Blu-ray | MSRP: $99.95 | Series: Arrow Video
MVD Visual

Release Date: August 29, 2017
Review Date: August 28, 2017

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SYNOPSIS

In the early 1970s, Kinji Fukasaku's five-film Battles Without Honor and Humanity series was a massive hit in Japan, and kicked off a boom in realistic, modern yakuza films based on true stories. Although Fukasaku had intended to end the series, Toei Studio convinced him to return to the director's chair for this unconnected, follow-up trilogy of films, each starring Battles leading man Bunta Sugawara and telling separate, but fictional stories about the yakuza in different locations in Japan. In the first film, Bunta Sugawara is Miyoshi, a low-level assassin of the Yamamori gang who is sent to jail after a bungled hit. While in stir, family member Aoki (Lone Wolf and Cub's Tomisaburo Wakayama) attempts to seize power from the boss, and Miyoshi finds himself stuck between the two factions with no honorable way out.


PICTURE

Arrow Video presents Kinji Fukasakuís New Battles without Honor and Humanity on Blu-ray in a new dual-format edition, available exclusively in their New Battles without Honor and Humanity Trilogy box set. The film receives a 1080p/24hz high-definition encode on a dual-layer disc, presented in its original aspect ratio of 2.35:1. Arrow is using a master supplied to them from Toei.

These Toei masters can wildly vary though usually fall on the end of ďokayĒ and thatís about where this is. What we get is a fairly mediocre presentation of which my praise would be limited to ďitís not awful.Ē Itís a gritty film with a fairly dirty look to it, with only the occasional burst of colour, so I wasnít expecting an image that pops but even then it still underwhelms. I think this is mostly caused by the fairly milky black levels, limiting details, particularly in the shadows, and there is a washed out look a lot of the time. The image is also rarely all that sharp, with only an above-average amount of detail.

Thereís a modest amount of grain and itís rendered fairly well, though the image can still have a slight digital look to it at times. Impressively the restoration has been quite thorough I thought, and damage popping up isnít all that common.

It looks okay, certainly better than DVD (at least the DVD here, which utilizes the same master), but it would be nice if Arrow could work their own magic on these titles.

6/10

All Blu-ray screen captures come from the source disc and have been shrunk from 1920x1080 to 900x506 and slightly compressed to conserve space. While they are not exact representations they should offer a general idea of overall video quality.

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AUDIO

The film comes with a lossless linear PCM 1.0 Japanese monaural track. It is what it is and gets the job done fine enough. Itís not terribly dynamic and comes off flat, but dialogue sounds clear and the sound effects, though maybe a bit tinny at times, sound fine enough.

(Notes open the film indicating that at around the 53-minute mark there is a line of dialogue, apparently involving a slur against Koreans, that has been edited it. It also says all known copies of the film contain this edit. It is noticeable since there is a very obvious gap in one characterís spoken lines but itís not all that big a deal.)

6/10

SUPPLEMENTS

Arrow spreads special features over the three films in the box set. New Battles without Honor and Humanity only comes with one significant feature, an introduction by Fukasaku biographer Sadao Yamane. For less than 10-minute Yamane talks a little about what led to this film after Fukasaku finished the original five film series (basically the other films made so much money Toei wanted the series to continue). But Fukasaku went in a bit of a different direction with the new trilogy, creating three films that didnít have anything to do with one another. I still havenít seen the original films (I missed out on the original set now going for ridiculous prices) so this was a nice little primer, and it was a relief to discover I didnít need to see the original films to enjoy these ones (though I did learn that only one actor reprised their role from the original series, linking them in at least a minor way).

The disc then closes with the teaser trailer and the theatrical trailer, which both feature a lot of shooting.

It offers an okay introduction to the series but thatís about it.

3/10

CLOSING

Not a stellar looking or sounding presentation but it will do.




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