“Our reputation is one of the best in Hong Kong.”
From Eureka Entertainment – one of the best boutique home video labels – the Hong Kong action classic Time and Tide is the latest to experience a worthwhile and immaculate upgrade to Limited Edition Blu-ray, 20 years after its initial DVD release. With 2000 copies limited to having the grand company of a smart slipcover featuring original artwork from Darren Wheeling, Tsui Hark’s Time and Tide is the next great addition to Blu-ray collections.
Time and Tide opens in either a miracle or tragedy, depending on your viewpoint. Tyler (Nicholas Tse), a fast-paced young adult, impregnates a lesbian police officer – much to the dismay of her girlfriend. This occurrence, played out hilariously, is only the beginning, essentially just the wrapper covering a sweet. Tyler, somehow, joins a bodyguard unit, frequently keeping a watchful eye of people of importance. The job has its bonuses: it enables Tyler to slide cash under the door of his pregnant friend, Jo (Cathy Tsui). Tyler’s lifestyle enables him to befriend mercenary, Jack (Wu Bai), with whom he collaborates in attempting to foil an assassination. Their collaboration leads to a path of money, drugs, shoot-outs, double-crosses, and all-around chaos.
Time and Tide lives up to virtually all expectations, conventions and stereotypes of Hong Kong action cinema and Heroic Bloodshed. Though not as prolific in this guise as any of the top tier films from either John Woo (A Better Tomorrow and Hard Boiled) or Ringo Lam (City on Fire and Full Contact), Tsui Hark’s encapsulation of this style entails multiple layers and levels of exaggerated action sequences, but also relatable character traits and ideals. The key to this type of Hong Kong action film is to have you relate to the main character and then watch them go berserk with never-ending gunfire and quick fists.
Contextually, Time and Tide was Tsui Hark’s comeback film on his return to directing in the Hong Kong film industry. In the previous two years, Hark was gifted with a post-prime Jean-Claude Van Damme at his disposal in both Double Team and Knock Off in 1997 and 1998 respectively. Both films were far from being well received. Hark returned to Hong Kong, but as the saying sort of goes, both films have “developed cult fandoms in the years since”. Hark’s Time and Tide was a clear return to form and exemplified, essentially, what the American film industry had missed out on.
Time and Tide’s upgrade to HD is a pleasant one. All throughout, a beautiful picture is present – wonderfully capturing East Asia at the turn of the Millennium. Frequently, though, exterior shots appear somewhat grainy – an excellent pleasure for fans of film grain. There’s always something special about a clear, crisp HD image, cloaked in grain, but not too much. Perhaps the greatest success and element of this Blu-ray release is the presentation of Tsui Hark’s signature editing and pacing during fight sequences – they look better than ever.
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Sadly, for those in love with bulk quantities of bonus content, the Blu-ray of Time and Tide does lack in this department. Of course, any recovered bonuses from yesteryear, such as director/cast interviews and making-of featurettes, would have most likely been presented in SD. But still, this form of content is always welcomed. Feature length audio commentaries – both old and new – are available to choose from, featuring the voices of Tsui Hark (old) and Frank Djeng (new).
Additional to the excellent slipcover and the disc itself, an intellectually-written booklet is present. Comprising an array of great visuals similar to that of the slipcase cover, the booklet not only features the bonuses and spec and the Blu-ray disc, but it proudly features a full contextualisation of Tsui Hark’s career and Time and Tide.
Time and Tide is out now on Limited Edition Blu-ray from Eureka Entertainment.