Masayuki Suo DVD Collection Review

There have been many Japanese filmmakers with an exceptional skill for comedy who have made an impression on the collective subconscious of Western film fans over the last 20 years or so: Juzo Itami, Isao Takahata, SABU, Katsuhito Ishii, Kouki Mitani, Kankuro Kudo, Shinobu Yaguchi - the list goes on. However, none have quite made the impact that Masayuki Suo had in the late 90s when Shall We Dance? became a hit in cinemas the world over. Combining the witty social observations of Juzo Itami with the introspective sensibilities of Ozu, Suo’s films delighted Japanese audiences since the late 80s, when his breakout hit: Fancy Dance first hit cinemas. In the following decade Suo released two more smash hit comedies: Sumo Do, Sumo Don’t, and of course the renowned Shall We Dance? but he then went on a long period of non-activity. It’s been a hard wait for fans of the director, especially with Fancy Dance having never been released on DVD in any region, and Sumo Do, Sumo Don’t only managing a cheap, low profile Hong Kong DVD release a few years back; plus with Shall We Dance? being heavily edited by Miramax in the West, few were awaiting its US DVD release.

Then, in the winter of 2005 Kadokawa Pictures announced the Japanese DVD release of the original unedited cut of Shall We Dance? complete with English subtitles. Kadokawa followed this announcement up with news that they would also be releasing Fancy Dance and Sumo Do, Sumo Don’t, but alas without any subtitles for foreign viewers. You could almost hear the collective sighs among Asian film fans across the globe, all eager to own decent DVD releases of Suo’s back catalogue. It seemed they were destined to wait and wait and wait. Well, the wait is now over; Hong Kong DVD distributor IVL have slapped together Suo’s three biggest hits into one DVD Boxset - complete with Chinese and English subtitles on both the feature presentations and the extra features - for international fans to enjoy. The question is, was it worth the wait?


----- Fancy Dance -----

What would you be willing to give up in order to take over the family business? In Yohei’s (Masahiro Motoki) case he has a moderately successful career as the lead singer in a ska punk band and a relationship with Masako (Honami Suzuki), the hottest girl in the club the band plays at. Yet he’s willing to give it all up for one year to become a Zen Buddhist novitiate and prove to his father he has what it takes to inherit the family temple when he passes away. Yohei doesn’t want to do it, but with the temple having been in the family for nine generations already, he feels an obligation to fulfil his filial duty. However, on the way to the temple he realises his father has tricked him when he bumps into younger brother Ikuo (Ken Osawa), and learns that there was already a male in the family who intended to become a monk anyway. Not wanting to back out on his word though, Yohei and Ikuo arrive at the temple together, where they meet up with fellow apprentices Eishun (Hikomaro) and Shinada (Hiromasa Taguchi).

From then on the brothers' cushy lives in Tokyo are over, and they are confronted with a life where discipline and routine defines every single action they take. There are rules upon rules dictating how they can eat food and even how they sleep and how long for, and the senior monks looking over the novices are mercilessly strict – particularly Koki (Naoto Takenaka): a senior monk who seemingly goes out of his way to crash down hard on his subordinates. At first their lives are miserable, but little by little Yohei and the other novices get used to the Buddhist way of life, however Yohei is tempted to stray from his path when Masako starts making surprise visits to persuade her boyfriend to come back to Tokyo. Can the young man make it through a full year as a monk, or will he have to concede the family temple to his younger brother after all?

Having started his directing career with Abnormal Family, an hour long softcore porn film that also doubled as an affectionate tribute to the work of late maestro Yasujiro Ozu, Masayuki Suo slipped comfortably into mainstream comedy with this wonderfully subtle little comedy that respectfully parodies the rigid indoctrination of Zen Buddhism. An adaptation of a then-popular ongoing manga serial by writer Reiko Okano, Fancy Dance can pretty much be summed up as a series of sketches on the day-to-day life of monks, using a bunch of spoilt Tokyo-ites to interject a healthy dose of culture clashing. Masayuki Suo clearly revels in the material and often employs quirky techniques that ensure the film remains authentic towards its manga roots. Stand out examples would be shooting actors face-on and the use of montages and vignettes to drive home punchlines. The result is a film that is constantly amusing and, while there isn’t really much in the way of a narrative, it should put a great big smile on your face throughout. The one downside however, is that the comedy frequently overwhelms the rather subdued narrative, which is essentially a character study of a young man starting to find his purpose in life.


Minor quibbles aside though Fancy Dance is undoubtedly a big success, and this is in no small way down to the cast Suo strung together – many of whom would go on to work with the director again. Masahiro Motoki was at that time in a transitional period of becoming a serious actor after achieving fame as a model turned popstar, but as the protagonist Yohei, Motoki successfully captures both the arrogance and the charm of a confident young former musician. His love interest: Masako is also very appealing thanks to actress Honami Suzuki’s innate likeability. The supporting roles too are extremely memorable, in particular Hiromasa Taguchi as the rather gormless Shinada; who struggles the most with maintaining the temple’s daily routine. Naoto Takenaka too manages to steal every single scene he’s in as the hypocritical and irascible senior monk Koki.

At the time of its release Fancy Dance gave Masayuki Suo a reputation as a director to watch, as a filmmaker of witty satirical comedies and a natural successor to Juzo Itami.

Presentation

Presented at 4:3, the original theatrical showing of Fancy Dance was 1.85:1, but screenshots from the theatrical trailer on the Japanese DVD release (which uses the same masters) suggests that this is in fact a full frame presentation, and there’s a very good chance that Suo shot the film with 4:3 TV exhibition mostly in mind as the framing certainly feels natural throughout. Aspect ratio aside, IVL’s transfer is certainly a hit and miss affair. The positives are that the transfer has been pleasantly remastered, the print is clean, detail is reasonably high, colours are strong and flesh tones natural. Brightness and contrast are a little more uneven, the image could do with being a little brighter and contrast tweaked down just a bit as shadow detail is rather poor, but mostly the film looks pretty good.

Now for the negatives: The transfer isn’t progressive, with 3:2 Pull Down interlacing making for an ugly display on progressive screens, so get your deinterlacers ready. Horrible, thick Edge Enhancement is rife throughout the film and cross colouration can be seen in the monks' black robes from time to time. These artefacts are most likely down to the masters IVL have been supplied with, but the one annoying problem that is completely down to IVL is their usual shoddy encoding job. They may have authored Fancy Dance onto a DVD-9 disc, but the actual film presentation takes up less than 4GB of that and frequently buckles under the strain, with mosquito noise and low-level noise frequently cropping up. Overall I would say that this is a solid, but unspectacular presentation with definite room for improvement.


The original Japanese DD2.0 is the only audio track present on the disc and it’s been reasonably well remastered, resulting in a nice clean track with clear and audible dialogue throughout. Bass levels are lacking, resulting in a rather limp, hollow sound during the concert scenes at the beginning of the film, but seeing as the film is completely dialogue driven from then on out it’s never really a problem.

Optional English and Chinese subtitles are provided, but unfortunately the English subtitles are quite poor. Not only is the translation too literal and unclear at times, but there are frequent spelling and grammatical errors throughout.

Extras

Just three extra features on the disc, but they’re well worth your time. First up is Fancy Dance Scene Discussion with Masayuki Suo (2mins 59secs) where the director talks us through a couple of scenes in the film where he had to think outside the box to convey the right Buddhist feeling to the viewers. Clocking in at just under three minutes, there’s no time for a proper in depth discussion with the director, and the English subtitle translation is frankly awful, so bad that it’s quite difficult to understand what Suo was saying.

The second option on the disc is an Interview with Hiromasa Taguchi (8m 59s), a comedy character actor that any Japanese film fan worth his salt will be familiar with thanks to his frequent collaborations with the likes of Masayuki Suo and Kouki Mitani. Fancy Dance was Hiromasa’s first film, and alongside an amusing anecdote on Suo’s rather eccentric approach to casting, Hiromasa provides some good information on the film’s shoot.

The final extra is an Interview with Naoto Takenaka (10m 59s), one of the most ubiquitous character actors in Japanese cinema. Naoto is a notoriously unserious guy and he doesn’t disappoint in his interview here, reminiscing more about the fun the actors had off set rather than the actual filming process. Throughout the interview he’s constantly making comments about how annoying he found Hiromasa Taguch,i with his tongue firmly in his cheek until he can take it no more and eventually cracks up. Whilst not quite as informative as the previous interview, this one is a lot of fun.

Optional English and Chinese subtitles are provided on all the extras. The English subtitles have no spelling or grammatical errors that I can recall.


----- Rating -----


----- Sumo Do, Sumo Don’t -----

If Fancy Dance put Masayuki Suo on the map in his native country, his next feature: Sumo Do, Sumo Don’t catapulted him into the stratosphere; succeeding heavily at the box office and then winning five awards at the Japanese Academy Awards – including the big four: Best Film, Director, Actor, and Screenplay.

Shuhei Yamamoto (Masahiro Motoki) is an arrogant young rich kid who is complacently idling away his time at University with the intention of getting a corporate job through his family’s business connections. His conceit is crushed however, when one of his lecturers: Professor Anayama (Akira Emoto) calls Shuhei into his office to explain why he hasn’t attended a single one of his classes all year. Anayama offers Shuhei a deal; he will give him the passing grade he needs if the sporty young man joins the University Sumo club for one day, and help get the team into an upcoming amateur league tournament.


It turns out that years ago Anayama was once a grand champion when he was in the University team, but gradually diminishing interest in the sport resulted in the decline of the club, until it got to the point where there was only one member left and the team was left floundering at the very bottom of the lowest amateur division. Today, the single surviving member is Aoki (Naoto Takenaka), an ineffective wrestler who suffers from irritable bowel problems whenever matches arise, and even with Shuhei on board the club still doesn’t have enough members to enter any league tournaments – which according to league rules would mean that the club would have to close for good. So the couple work together to form a team of misfit Sumo wrestlers, because it seems no one with any real athletic ability is interested in taking up a harsh, messy, traditional Japanese sport.

First to be recruited is the withdrawn overweight student: Hosaku (Hiromasa Taguchi), whose walking is so uncoordinated Aoki mistakes it for a natural Sumo gait. Next is Shuhei’s scrawny younger brother: Haruo (Masaaki Takarai), who volunteers after being humiliated by the professional wrestling team. With only one man missing, the foursome qualify to take part in the promised competition; but they all lose horribly, with neither winning a single bout. Although they only promised to join the club for one competition, their shame is too high, and Shuhei vows that if they all knuckle down they can chalk up their first competitive win. After recruiting a fifth member: the arrogant English student George Smiley (Robert Hoffman), and persuading Professor Anayama to take a more active role in coaching them, the team work hard to turn the fortunes of the Sumo club around.

Sumo Do’s success at the Japanese Acadamy Awards was well earned, it’s an utterly charming sports comedy with completely infectious characters and some great comedy set pieces. Essentially the film features all the same themes of Fancy Dance; that is, the fish-out-of-water scenario and the idea that the embracing of a certain discipline can lead to personal maturity and fulfilment. But while Suo’s previous film remained fastidiously unglamourous in its portrayal of the Buddhist Monks, Suo infuses Sumo Do with a healthy dose of romanticism. His insertion of just the right level of sentimentalism imbues Sumo Do, Sumo Don’t with a wonderful feeling of nostalgia. We’re essentially peering into the best years of the characters' University lives, a time when they make the important transition between idealistic, impressionable students into determined, assured young men – all because they finally took something seriously and gave it everything they’ve got, thanks to the influence of Sumo Wrestling and its underlying philosophies being imparted to the group.


Although I say that Suo romanticises the emotions and philosophies of his subjects, his portrayal of the actual sport is completely naturalistic, shooting from low angles and featuring as little choreography in the fights as possible to show the amateurism and growth of its characters. No one takes massive leaps of skill in this film, they start winning matches because of their stamina training, hard-headed determination, team spirit, and the little snippets of technique that Anayama can impart to them within the limited training time that they have. This makes the matches incredibly authentic, and the tribulations of the team feel all the more real and involving.

Of course much of Sumo Do’s appeal is also that it is constantly laugh-out-loud funny. Generally the humour is a lot more broad than Fancy Dance’s subtlety, but the gags come regularly and almost all hit the spot. This is in part down Suo's recasting of a quartet of fine comic actors from Fancy Dance: Masahiro Motoki, Naoto Takenaka, Hiromasa Taguchi, and Akira Emoto; with the standout being Takenaka’s wonderfully downtrodden portrayal of the rectally-challenged Aoki.

Presentation

Although the packaging claims Sumo Do, Sumo Don’t is presented in 4:3, it’s actually been given an anamorphic 1.85:1 presentation. As with Fancy Dance IVL have crammed the main feature presentation into just under 4GB, resulting in the ugly triumbrant of low level, chroma, and mosquito noise creeping into the image at times. Edge Enhancement is again present, but thankfully isn’t as extreme as the halos that plague Fancy Dance’s transfer - although it does have its moments. Also, the transfer exhibits the same 3:2 Pulldown interlacing. Similar flaws aside though, this is generally a more pleasing presentation. Suo opted to give Sumo Do, Sumo Don’t an over-processed look, resulting in a diffuse glow across all day-lit scenes. This evokes a strong feeling of nostalgia, but it also makes the image seem a lot softer than it is. In fact, detail levels aren’t bad, and contrast/brightness levels are much more pleasing. The colour scheme too is much more vivid than Fancy Dance’s, but a little bleeding is present in brighter colours.


As with Fancy Dance there’s only the original Japanese DD2.0 to choose from for the audio, and overall I would say the sound is warm but pleasing. The bass could definitely be tighter, but the deepness brings a nice weight to the dialogue – which is clear and free from any tearing at higher pitches/volumes. For the most part the audio is centred, with the stereos only really being used at the rowdy sports events.

Optional English and Chinese subtitles are provided. The English subtitles have no spelling or grammatical errors that I can recall.

Extras

Hiromasa Taguchi and Naoto Takenaka are back to provide an interview each for the DVD. First up is the Interview With Hiromasa Taguchi (11m 24s) who talks about various aspect of the shoot and the training he went through in preparation for the Sumo scenes. He also goes into detail about the shooting of these scenes, revealing that Suo basically told the actors to do certain things during the match and who is going to win, but otherwise left them free to develop the matches themselves. The Interview With Naoto Takenaka (10m 35s) is unsurprisingly a less serious affair, with the actor focussing more on reminiscing about the fun the cast had playing practical jokes on each other and the film crew in between takes. He also provides an amusing anecdote about how he approached his character’s irritable bowel problems, complete with demonstration. Both interviews are very welcome additional features.

Optional English and Chinese subtitles are provided on all the extras. The English subtitles have no spelling or grammatical errors that I can recall.

----- Rating -----



----- Shall We Dance? -----

With Sumo Do, Sumo Don’t making Masayuki Suo the darling of Japanese cinema and the toast of the Japanese Academy, all that was left for the director was world domination. Well, he hasn’t quite managed that feat, but when his fourth feature film Shall We Dance? hit theatres in the winter of 1996 it became one of the highest grossing films of the year and obliterated all-comers at the Japanese Academy Awards, taking home 14 gongs. Then in the summer of 1997 its success spread to America when Miramax released a slightly edited down version of the film into theatres and brought back a box office taking of just under $10million – which in the pre Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon era, made Shall We Dance? the highest grossing foreign film playing in its original language with subtitles in US Box Office history. Masayuki Suo had now arrived on the world scene, but rather than capitalise on this success the elusive director went on a 10year hiatus from filmmaking, returning to the director’s chair with the 2006 release of I Just Didn’t Do It. Instead it was left to new wave horror-meisters Takashi Miike, Hideo Nakata, and Takashi Shimizu to become the first high profile contemporary Japanese directors to cross the Pacific and work successfully within the United States.

Middle aged Salaryman Shohei Sugiyama (Koji Yakusho) seems to have the ideal traditional Japanese life. He has a stable career as a senior accountant, a brand new detached residence out in the suburbs of Tokyo, an attractive dutiful wife named Masako (Hideko Hara), and an intelligent well-behaved daughter: Chikage (Ayano Nakamura); yet this doesn’t stop him suffering from a mid-life crisis. Each morning he wakes at 5.30am – too early to have breakfast with the family – then bikes and catches the train to work, comes home, has a bath and goes to bed again without interacting much with his family at all. The one bright spark in his otherwise dreary routine are the brief glimpses of an attractive ballroom dance instructor he catches on his daily train ride to and from work. One day he plucks up the courage to go to her dance academy under the pretence of taking private lessons with her, but when he finds out how much this would cost he has to make do with the group beginner’s class run by a friendly elderly instructor named Tamako (Reiko Kusamura). He is joined in the group by Tanaka (Hiromasa Taguchi): an overweight man taking lessons on the advice of his doctor and Hattori (Yu Tokui): who is taking dancing lessons on the side in order to surprise his dancer wife. They are also occasionally partnered with more experienced dancers Toyoko (Eriko Watanabe): an acerbic housewife who was once an aspiring dancer, and Aoki (Naoto Takenaka): Sugiyama’s co-worker who’s become a Latin dance maestro to attract younger women.


Although Sugiyama’s motives for entering the lessons are to get closer to the beautiful, aloof dance instructor Mai Kishikawa (Tamiyo Kusakari), he starts to find that Ballroom Dancing is beginning to fill the void in his life, and Sugiyama starts to come out of his introverted shell little by little. Meanwhile Mai has also been wrestling with a crisis of her own; having recently dropped out of the professional circuit after her dance partner dumped her. Since then she has been wallowing away in self pity at her father’s dance school and secretly looking down on the amateurs that frequent the place, but watching Sugiyama and his friends putting in so much effort to learn the simple routines and become good enough to compete in amateur competitions, Mai starts to come out of her shell just as Sugiyama does.

Masayuki Suo may be covering familiar ground with the themes of Shall We Dance?, exploring aimless individuals who find purpose and inspiration through a common discipline, but there’s no denying that this is his strongest film to date. The reason for this is pretty much down to the deep characterisation and interaction between the various characters. Shall We Dance? has a reasonably large cast, and it’s a testament to Suo’s screenplay that every one has a thoroughly rewarding character arc and play important roles in the arcs of others. Also, the gradual development of the lead character Sugiyama is much more nuanced and satisfactory than in Suo’s previous films. This pretty much makes Shall We Dance? a very uplifting and rewarding drama, even if it doesn't have the witty comical social observations to enlighten the proceedings. The art of dance also provides plenty of scope for physical comedy, which is something that Suo and the ensemble cast tap into to great effect, in particular Naoto Takenaka as the weedy middle aged wannabe love god Aoki. Naoto steals just about every scene he’s in, using his small, lithe physicality to come up with a truly eccentric performance. Just one look of him sashaying through the offices at work is enough to crack anyone up, but when he hits the dance floor you’re guaranteed to be laughing and cringing at the same time. Hiromasa Taguchi too captures similar comical sentiments as the ordinarily shy Tanaka who bursts into animated exuberance when dancing.


Koji Yakusho and Tamiyo Kusakari also excel in the lead roles of Sugiyama and Mai with Koji providing the stand out performance of the film, taking a character who on the surface at least may appear a little cold and selfish (he does take up dancing with the desire to start up an extra-marital relationship afterall) and giving him an inherent warmth and shyness that makes Sugiyama very sympathetic. As Mai, Tamiyo is straddled with a rather unsympathetic character at the start of the film when Mai holds an aloof arrogant contempt for the amateur dancers she teaches, but Tamiyo manages to inject a lot of naivety into the role to temper the cynicism that threatens to consume Mai’s dancing career. Tamiyo’s a pretty famous ballerina in Japan, but to this day Shall We Dance? is the only film she’s appeared in.

At 136 minutes Shall We Dance? is a pretty long film, but by the end you’ll be wishing it was 30 minutes or even and hour longer; the time flies by. It’s an utterly entrancing and heart warming comedy drama and certainly one of the most iconic Japanese films of the late 90’s. Over the years it has spawned many imitators, but sometimes you just can’t beat the original.

Presentation

IVL previously released this 2-disc DVD of Shall We Dance? separately before the Kadkokawa Classics range had begun, and boy does it show in the transfer! Presented anamorphically at 1.87:1 and with most of the DVD-9 disc devoted to the transfer, Shall We Dance? has far higher picture quality than the other titles in this boxset. What’s more, it’s fully progressive to boot! The image is detailed and the print is very clean, with only the occasional nick and scratch popping up. Contrast/brightness levels are excellent and shadow detail high. The image also has a vibrant, clean colour scheme with very natural skintones. It’s worth noting that the scenes in the dance class are shot with very warm lighting, which results in a pinkified image and salmon skin tones, but the colour scheme remains vivid and clean, with no bleed. The only negative artefact that this has in common with the other transfers is the Edge Enhancement, which is all too frequent and noticeable. Still, this is a very nice transfer.

As with the previous DVDs in the boxset Shall We Dance? is presented with a Japanese DD2.0 soundtrack, and as with the previous titles the audio remains mostly centred, but unlike the other titles, the stereo speakers open up delicately during the musical interludes. The bass on this title is also much tighter, and while it may seem a little weak in comparison to a typical DD5.1 track, the bass manages to remain strong when needed without overwhelming the dynamics of the soundtrack. The track is also pleasantly clean, which means the dialogue remains crisp and clear without any tearing. In short, this is an excellent DD2.0 audio track.

Optional English and Chinese subtitles are provided. The English subtitles have no spelling or grammatical errors that I can recall.

Extras

With a second DVD dedicated entirely to the extras, it’s pleasing to see IVL have slapped a good 1hr 43mins of material onto the disc. First up is the Interviews section, where you will find no less than five interviews and a lengthy video diary, here’s a rundown of the lot:

Interview With Koji Yakusho (16m 21s): As the first interview on the disc it is therefore the one that establishes the main questions that each interviewee are also going to be asked. Koji is an affable, shy but charming man who answers each question asked with enthusiasm. From his mannerisms and comments you would never believe he’s one of the biggest stars in Japan. Koji covers many aspects of the filming, from his casting and first impression of Masayuki Suo, to the extensive dancing practise he and his co-stars had to go through before the shoot started. It’s a pretty informative interview.

Interview With Tamiyo Kusakari (21m 37s): The longest interview on the disc at over 21mins but Tamiyo is such an animated and jovial interviewee that it seems much shorter. Aside from providing her own observations on the film’s shoot and her impressions of Masayuki Suo (who she subsequently fell in love with and married not long after working on the film), Tamiyo also discusses her reluctance to move away from Ballet for a while and take on a film project. She also provides some amusing anecdotes about clumsily staining the various costumes she was given to wear in certain scenes of the film.

Interview With Naoto Takenaka (12m 48s): Takenaka’s on good form here taking the mickey out of his co-stars with some amusing and no doubt extremely exaggerated anecdotes about their behaviour. This interview is from the same session that his interviews on the previous film’s DVDs were taken and Takenaka tends to focus more on what he and the cast got up to between shooting, but it’s clear from this interview that he has great respect for Suo as a director and he provides some insight into Suo’s directing process. His message to the director at the end is also hilarious.

Interview With Masayuki Suo (03m 20s): This interview is so short it essentially boils down to Suo talking us through the various dance scenes and why he approached them the way he did. It’s short, but very informative.

Interview With Hiromasa Taguchi (13m 15s): The final interview on the disc and also one of the most informative, Taguchi talks us through his experiences in the practise sessions he, Koji, and Yu Tokui regularly attended. He also mentions how much grander this production seemed in comparison to the other two films he made with Suo. He’s also the only interviewee to discuss the big success the film had in the US.


Also in the interviews section is the American Video Diary (31m 53s) which is a lengthy featurette about the director’s tour across 19 major citites in the States to promote the film for Miramax before its general release in the US. Most of the footage is shot hand held by either Suo or his assistant Fumiko Futami and comes complete with on screen text explaining what’s happening in each scene, but there are also regular interjections from a recording interview with the director (which explains why his earlier interview was so short). The 19 cities were split up into two tours: one that took place through April of 1997 and one that took place through May. For the first tour Suo is joined by his recently wed wife Tamiyo Kusakari and the two are clearing enjoying each other’s company so much that most of the footage feels like it’s from a newlywed couple’s holiday journal. This is a fun featurette, mostly because Masayuki Suo’s in great spirits throughout and is cleary revelling in interacting with the various foreign journalists and fans of his film. It’s a shame that the footage is cut short once he reaches the Canadian stretch of the tour because he had his video camera nicked! At the end of this featurette is information on the film’s box office takings in America and a list of all the awards it won at western film festivals.

The next extra feature is simply titled: Trailer (03.45) which is actually a montage of deleted scenes and outtakes set to music. This feature shows there must have been many more excellent scenes that didn’t make it into the finished film. The final feature on the disc is a simple Artwork Gallery.

Optional English and Chinese subtitles are provided on all the extras. The English subtitles have no spelling or grammatical errors that I can recall.

----- Rating -----


Overall

Three of the best comedy/dramas to come out of Asia in the last 20 years, given decent presentations and slapped together for under £20, makes this set a complete no-brainer for anyone interested in quality cinema. Those who already purchased the original IVL 2-disc release of Shall We Dance? may feel a little irked by the fact Fancy Dance and Sumo Do, Sumo Don’t have not been released seperately, but you can rest assured that these two films together alone are worth the asking price. Just consider the inclusion of Shall We Dance? as an extra and you should be free to double-dip. Either that or sell your old copy now!

Film
9 out of 10
Video
7 out of 10
Audio
7 out of 10
Extras
7 out of 10
Overall

9

out of 10

Last updated: 22/04/2018 19:08:34

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