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In the Line of Duty IV (Blu-ray Details)

Unique ID Code: 0000221707
Added by: Jitendar Canth
Added on: 24/3/2023 19:40
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    Review for In the Line of Duty IV

    9 / 10


    I was going to make a comment here about ‘saving the best to last’ but one of the commentaries on the disc made me adjourn to Google to check. It turns out that there are five more In The Line Of Duty feature films in the series following this one, all starring Cynthia Khan. It does make me wonder if Eureka intend to release them as well, and why 88 Films only released the first four as a boxset in the US. Then again, while the four films in the series that we did get were produced over a five year period, the following five films came out in just over two years, suggesting a quick cash in, rather than anything of substance. But of the four films that we do get, I was surprised that it was this, In The Line of Duty IV that really made me sit up and take notice.

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    Inspector Lai-Ching Yeung is in Seattle, America to help the local police investigating a smuggling ring. She’s partnered with a volatile local cop, Donny with whom she has an abrasive relationship, given that he’s a brutal cop who leads with his fists, without asking questions. That friction intensifies when Yeung encounters Luk Wan during a stakeout, an immigrant dock worker who is implicated when the cop leading the investigation is murdered. The cops want to arrest him, and the smugglers want him dead as he’s a witness. Luk Wan thinks that going back to Hong Kong will bring him safety, but the cops and smugglers follow him too. It’s a race against time to see who will find him first, but the smugglers have a mole in the police...

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    The Disc

    In the Line of Duty IV gets a 1.85:1 widescreen transfer, with the choice between PCM 2.0 Mono Cantonese and English, with optional subtitles, and a signs only track for the English dub. It’s a good transfer, clear and sharp with consistent colours, excellent detail and proper film grain, bringing the lunatic stunts and crazy action across without issue, print damage or signs of age. The third film was just the odd one out when it comes to the audio, as there are no problems here with the Cantonese track, properly balanced, with the dialogue clear and audible, and the action coming across well. The music drives the story well, even if there are few similarities with the score to Beverly Hills Cop 2. The subtitles are accurately timed and are free of typos.

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    The first run release of this film will come with special o-card packaging and a 24-page booklet with writing on the film by James Oliver and plenty of production art.

    The disc boots to a static menu page which lists all of the audio options and the following extras.

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    Export Version of In The Line of Duty IV (95:35) PCM 2.0 English only

    Audio Commentary with Frank Djeng
    Audio Commentary with Mike Leeder & Arne Venema
    Archival Audio Commentary with Stefan Hammond and actor Michael Wong

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    Donnie Yen Interview [Archival] (19:40)
    Donnie Yen: Style of Action [Archival] (15:02)
    Hong Kong Theatrical Trailer (4:25)
    UK Release Trailer (1:53)
    Line of Duty Franchise Trailer (4:48)

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    When it comes to the four films in the series that Eureka have released, In The Line of Duty IV really is saving the best for last, a cut above the rest when it comes to every aspect of the film, from the stunts and action, to the story, and to the performances. It really does shine. Compared to the first three films, it doesn’t have a problem balancing the comedy and drama; instead it just blends the two deftly, so that there is no contrast to jar your suspension of disbelief. The third film threw me with the way that it could turn on a dime from slapstick to gore. That sort of transition is never an issue in this film.

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    Of course with Yuen Woo-Ping as the director, and Donnie Yen co-starring in an early, but decidedly assured performance, there’s an added quality to the film to begin with. The story actually has some Hollywood style polish to it, rather than giving the sense that they were making it up as they were filming it, as so many Hong Kong action movies did back then. It begins with some overseas glamour, although this time it’s Seattle in the US, as opposed to the Japanese locations of the previous two films in the series.

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    The story seems pretty generic to begin with, with the police chasing drug smugglers from the US to Hong Kong, although things get rather topical for the era when the CIA wind up involved in the situation, not so obliquely referencing the Contra affair from a couple of years previously. There’s no little irony to the film’s final fight scene. The character dynamic between the leads also more than matches the action and stunts, with the abrasive partnership between Yeung and Donny making for much of the drama. He’s a brutal cop who beats information out of suspects, whereas she’s more inclined to believe in innocence before guilt is proved. The two butt heads over the dockworker Luk Wan, and they have to work through their issues before they can help him, and uncover the truth behind the crimes.

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    It’s the action in this film that really does impress though, with some brilliantly choreographed fight sequences, coupled with some genuinely breathtaking stunts. This film took me back to the eighties, and the first time I saw a Jackie Chan film, and how it completely changed the way I view action cinema. I was getting the same kind of edge-of-the-seat thrill from In the Line of Duty IV, a feeling I haven’t had in quite some time with Hong Kong action cinema. Thankfully the audio niggles that afflicted the third film aren’t a problem here. Eureka have also put together a very impressive package of extras for the fourth film, with archival material and new commentaries, that certainly make this the pick of the pack when it come to the In The Line Of Duty Blu-rays.

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