Pitting Arrow’s new restorations against BCI’s prior edition
This article contains several comparisons which contrast BCI’s 2008 Blu-ray transfer of these films with the new Arrow version. The frames aren’t necessarily exact matches, but should give a solid indication of the visual differences.
Arrow’s new edition of the Sister Street Fighter collection released on March 5.
Available now, Arrow Video’s new Sister Street Fighter Collection includes all 4 films in the classic martial arts series spun off from Sonny Chiba’s world-famous Street Fighter franchise, with new remasters by Toei.
This marks the Blu-ray debut for the latter films of the series, but Sister Street Fighter and Sister Street Fighter 2: Hanging By a Thread were actually released on Blu-ray before as a double feature in 2008, by the now defunct BCI Home Entertainment which was acquired by Mill Creek. That edition is now long out of print and became a highly sought collector’s item, making Arrow’s new release a welcome one indeed.
BCI’s prior edition featured very grimy transfers that were full of dust and scratches — a choice I personally find charming for its grindhouse appeal, but not favored by most home video enthusiasts who prefer clean prints. Arrow’s new discs are certainly cleaner and exhibit an uptick in general clarity, closer to a “definitive” look with finer grain and less noise. They’re also framed better, capturing more of the image and correcting a slight horizontal stretch in the 2008 release. However, I generally found the colors superior in BCI’s edition.
Sister Street Fighter
Here are a couple isolated frames where print damage visible in BCI’s edition is absent or mitigated in Arrow’s release.
The framing on these new discs captures more of the overall image, as evident in these shots (note the positions of characters or objects on the edges).
But while Arrow’s release is superior in most respects, I prefer the more natural color palette of BCI’s discs which appears richer and more lifelike.
Sister Street Fighter 2: Hanging By A Thread
More or less the same observations on the presentation of this sequel; the main difference is that Arrow’s transfer of the first film skewed slightly brighter than BCI’s, but on the sequel the opposite is true. I also think the difference in color timing is more evident here with an overall green bias.
Of course, image quality is only part of the equation. Arrow’s new box set contains all 4 films, not to mention some nifty new bonus features, so it’s pretty much a must-own for fans of the series.
SPECIAL EDITION CONTENTS:
- Original uncompressed Japanese mono audio
- Original English dubbed audio and corresponding English SDH subtitles for for Sister Street Fighter
- New optional English subtitle translation for all four films
- New video interviews with actor Shinichi “Sonny” Chiba, director Kazuhiko Yamaguchi, and screenwriter Masahiro Kakefuda
- Original Japanese theatrical trailers for all four films
- Original U.S. and German theatrical trailers for Sister Street Fighter, plus original English and Germanopening titles to the film
- Stills and poster gallery
- Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Kungfubob O’Brien
- FIRST PRESSING ONLY: Illustrated booklet featuring writing on the series by Patrick Macias and a new essay on the U.S. release of Toei’s karate films by Chris Poggiali
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Except where noted, all 16:9 screen images in this review are direct captures from the disc(s) in question with no editing applied, but may have compression or resizing inherent to file formats and Medium’s image system. All package photography was taken by the reviewer.