Full Contact is the English title for Xia dao Gao Fei, which was originally released in 1992. The film features the re-teaming of director Ringo Lam and action star Chow Yun Fat (Jeff): the duo previously teamed for City on Fire and Prison on Fire Parts I & II. Though the film has been available, many versions edited, in the past, Tai Seng's all-region DVD presents the film uncut.
When Jeff, a nightclub bouncer in Bangkok, finds out that his friend Sam is about to be killed by Hung, a loan shark, for his $300,000 debt, Jeff goes to save him. But to get Sam out alive, Jeff has to use force, angering Hung in the process. In order to pay off the debt and make amends with Hung, Sam convinces both Jeff and Chung, another friend, to team up with his cousin, Judge, to rob a truckload of weapons and ammunition in order to get the money they need. But the heist goes terribly wrong when Judge betrays them, leaving Chung dead and Jeff without two fingers. Jeff then sets off to get revenge…
I was looking forward to seeing Full Contact, not only because of Chow Yun Fat, but also because of Ringo Lam, whose American debut, Maximum Risk, I enjoyed. Full Contact, though, exceeded all my expectations – it is a fantastic film with some amazing action scenes. Chow Yun Fat's character, Jeff, is similar to many of the other characters he's played over the years, but his performance is no less enjoyable here. Lam's direction is incredible, as the film is well paced and edited throughout. And while Full Contact is not my favorite Chow Yun Fat film, it definitely ranks in my top five.
Full Contact is presented in 1.70:1 non-anamorphic widescreen. The transfer is rather rough looking, as some degree of grain, marks, lines, and scratches appear throughout the film. Colors vary from natural to slightly muted during the course of the film. Flesh tones are accurate throughout, though the blacks are slightly too light.
Full Contact is presented in a remixed Dolby Digital 5.1 track in both Cantonese and Mandarin, and the original Dolby Mono 2.1 track in both Cantonese and Mandarin. Of the two, I preferred the original 2.1 mix more: the 5.1 tracks add stereo separation, along with some slight surround use in the gunfights, but it was accompanied by some echoes in the track which are both distracting and annoying. The English subtitles, though readable, do contain quite a lot of bad grammar, and a few of them were a bit hard to decipher. Also included are optional subtitles in Chinese (Traditional & Simplified), Korean, Japanese, Bahasa (Indonesian and Malaysian), Thai, and Vietnamese.
Unlike many Tai Seng DVDs, Full Contact features full color disc art, and like many of them, it has no booklet or insert. Extras include a cast and crew list, a film synopsis, and trailers for this film, Swordsman II, and Treasure Hunt.
Though the presentation leaves quite a bit to be desired, Full Contact is a terrific Hong Kong action film that fans of action star Chow Yun Fat or director Ringo Lam should definitely check out. Recommended!