Royal Warriors appears in an aspect ratio of 1.85:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. This became a solid presentation.
For the most part, the movie brought appealing delineation. Some softness crept into the image at times, but most of the movie felt accurate and well-defined.
I saw no signs of jagged edges or shimmering, and edge haloes failed to appear. Grain remained light but present, and no print flaws interfered.
Warriors opted for a low-key but natural palette that worked fine. While the colors rarely stood out as memorable, they became well-rendered.
Blacks felt dark and firm, and shadows showed nice smoothness and clarity. I found myself pleased with the transfer.
Unfortunately, the film’s DTS-HD MA monaural soundtrack held up less well over the last 37 years. Though superior to the atrocious mix for Yes, Madam, this audio nonetheless seemed flawed.
Distortion remained the biggest concern. The awkwardly-looped dialogue consistently sounded dense and edgy.
Effects became rough and shrill. Music worked a bit better but still showed too much distortion. Expect a disappointing soundtrack.
Note that the disc also included a DTS-HD MA monaural “Cantonese Alternate Mix”. I’ll leave it to Warriors aficionados to find the differences, as I don’t know the film well enough to spot the changes.
Whereas a “Home Video Mix” for Madam proved higher quality than its abysmal theatrical track, that doesn’t hold true when I compare theatrical to “alternate” for Warriors. Audio quality felt identical for both.
The Blu-ray also offered a DTS-HD MA 5.1 English soundtrack. I don’t do dubs in non-native languages and skipped it, but I wanted to mention its inclusion.
When we shift to extras, we find an audio commentary from Hong Kong film expert Frank Djeng. He presents a running, screen-specific view of story/characters, cast and crew, dubbing, stunts and action, sets and locations, genre domains and the movie’s release.
I thought Djeng’s discussion of Madam tended to feel more like a list of credits for the participants than a look at the movie’s creation, and some of that carries over here as well. However, Djeng manages to dig into the production better here, so this becomes a reasonably informative piece.
Under Missing Aeroplane Inserts (0:29), we see brief shots of an aircraft in flight. I assume these got cut from the movie because the airline involved didn’t agree to their usage.
They’re not exciting but they’re interesting to see given their conspicuous absence from the film. The final product fails to depict the airborne setting well, and these shots would’ve helped in that regard.
In addition to English and Cantonese trailers, we finish with an English In the Line of Duty Credit Sequence (2:57). It indeed alters the opening/closing to use the English title and text.
Note that this Blu-ray for Warriors comes as part of a four-movie In the Line of Duty I-IV collection. It also includes 1985’s Yes, Madam!, 1988’s In the Line of Duty III and 1989’s In the Line of Duty IV.
This means a mix of non-disc-based materials that apply to all four movies. Two double-sided posters emerge. One advertises Royal Warriors on both sides, while the other shows Yes, Madam! on one side and promotes all four films on the other.
A 100-page booklet comes packed with credits, photos, art and a mix of essays/interviews. It acts as a terrific complement to the package.
An early lead role for Michelle Yeoh, Royal Warriors - aka In the Line of Duty I - turns into a fairly effective action flick. Though it comes with some missteps due to iffy comedy, it nonetheless packs enough of a punch to work most of the time. The Blu-ray comes with strong visuals, problematic audio and a few bonus materials. Expect a pretty exciting tale here.