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Slaughter in San Francisco (Blu-ray Details)

Unique ID Code: 0000225238
Added by: Jitendar Canth
Added on: 20/4/2024 19:33
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    Review for Slaughter in San Francisco

    1 / 10


    I have never chosen to watch a Chuck Norris movie. He is in one of the Expendables flicks, but I can’t recall which one, and I didn’t buy it for Chuck Norris anyway. For most of my life, I thought that I watched a Delta Force movie regularly on VHS, but I just checked IMDB, and it turns out that it was an even more obscure title, Megaforce, with no Chuck Norris. I was once compelled to review Lone Wolf McQuade for this site, but other than the presence of future Trek actor Robert Beltran, found little to appreciate. Despite his meme-worthy uber-manliness, I have never been inspired by Chuck Norris.

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    Slaughter in San Francisco from 1974 is his first starring role, although originally it wasn’t. After Norris made a memorable impact in Bruce Lee’s Way of the Dragon, Golden Harvest quite wisely used the actor again, but as a villain once more, in Yellow Faced Tiger, a vehicle for Don Wong, one of many potential next Bruce Lees who were aping his moves on screen following the icon’s early death. It was only when Chuck Norris became famous in his own right, that the film was re-released as Slaughter in San Francisco, with Norris now taking top billing. Those money men at Golden Harvest never missed a trick...

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    Don Wong and John Summer are partners in the San Francisco PD. They are also loyal friends, to the degree that Don sacrifices his career, and a year of his life in prison after he kills a man to save John’s life. Now he can only get a job as a waiter in a restaurant, which is where he first encounters obnoxious crime boss, Chuck Slaughter. Don’s inscrutability is enough to get Slaughter’s attention, enough to make him want to recruit the ex-cop. Then John is killed trying to stop a gang of bank robbers, and an innocent Chinese family is scapegoated by a dirty cop. Slaughter’s behind it all, and Don wants revenge.

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    The Disc

    Slaughter in San Francisco gets a 2.39:1 widescreen 1080p transfer on this disc, with PCM 2.0 Mono English audio. Yellow Faced Tiger, also on this disc has much the same transfer from a 2k restoration, but with PCM 2.0 Mono Mandarin with optional English subtitles. Given that this a predominantly English speaking cast, set in the US, I watched the English version of the film, not that it made any difference. Both versions are dubbed as per Golden Harvest practice at the time, and the English dub is bad, lip sync wholly absent. The image is clear and sharp though, with rich and consistent colours, excellent detail, bringing the action across well. There is no sign of age or print damage, and the film is wonderfully restored for this release.

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    The disc boots to a static menu screen where you’ll find the following extras along with the audio and subtitle options.

    Slaughter in San Francisco (88:03) gets an audio commentary from Mike Leeder & Arne Venema.
    Yellow Faced Tiger (106:02) gets an audio commentary from Frank Djeng & Michael Worth.
    Karate Cowboy: Talking Chuck (40:48)
    Return to Slaughter (15:10)
    Original HK Trailer (3:57)
    US Trailer (2:10)
    Export Trailer (2:21)

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    People talk about films that are so bad that they are good. Slaughter in San Francisco isn’t that kind of film. It might help if I was drunk while watching it, but it would require a degree of inebriation so far gone, that I’d be surfing the fine line between drunkenness and oblivion for 90 minutes. I couldn’t do that, even at my most student. Sometimes it’s fun to see how different cultures view each other. This is a vision of San Francisco as seen through Hong Kong eyes, and it’s not fun. It’s silly, it’s bizarre, and it’s so out of whack that it gave me whiplash trying to parse it.

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    It’s also not a Chuck Norris movie. He’s the villain in it, and it’s a rare movie that has the actor portraying the villain at the head of the cast. This isn’t exactly Batman (1989). Don Wong is the star of the film, an actor obviously being groomed as the next Bruce Lee, but lacking in charisma or acting talent; not that he had much competition in that regard in this film. And most of the fight sequences in this film have one hero surrounded by a dozen villains, and all of them kindly deign to attack him one by one. All of the fights follow the usual punch and kick choreography style of the period, which gets samey very quickly, and the hit impact sounds are all louder than Dirty Harry’s Magnum.

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    Speaking of Dirty Harry, the cops in this film are familiar if you’ve seen Hong Kong movies, but are nothing like those usually portrayed in Hollywood. They are either corrupt to the max, or incompetent to Keystone cop extremes. Don and his partner are introduced as the latter, and it’s only once Don is kicked out of the police that he gains some competence as an investigator. These are US policemen that are reluctant to draw their weapons, which would make quick work of any run of the mill martial artist, but it wouldn’t make much of a movie.

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    Slaughter in San Francisco is painfully juvenile. The worry was that the writers would create a San Francisco in Hong Kong’s image, and that would have been bad enough, but this film was created by people who have no idea how the world works. Everything that happens in this film is just daft. That wouldn’t be bad, but everyone’s taking things so seriously. This is usually in this kind of downer review where I’d point out that the extra features at least are worth watching, but as I’m not a fan of Chuck Norris, they’re lost on me. Admittedly, this is a particular period of kung fu cinema that has never appealed to me, and if you’re an aficionado of 70s Hong Kong action, you should look for a second opinion. But for me, this was my one, and only viewing of Slaughter in San Francisco.

    Slaughter in San Francisco is available direct from Eureka Entertainment, from Terracotta, and mainstream retailers.

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