What asian film/series have you just seen.. marks out of 5

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Masterofoneinchpunch
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Re: What asian film/series have you just seen.. marks out of

Unread post by Masterofoneinchpunch » 07 Dec 2015, 18:29

Question on Don't Give a Damn: a few sites like IMDB and Hong Kong Cinemagic that this film was supposed to reunite Jackie Chan along with Sammo Hung and Yuen Biao. Usually Rumble in the Bronx is mentioned as why Jackie could not be in it. I am having trouble finding a primary source that states this. Was this even true? I'm suspecting it was wish fulfillment either on the part of fans and/or Sammo. I've found some interesting facts from Robert Samuels on the film, but nothing dealing with Jackie. I thought Jackie and Sammo were not on great terms in 94/95.

Also Clyde Gentry III (in Jackie Chan: Inside the Dragon) states that Sammo had some gambling problems that got worse during the mid-90s. Any information on this?

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Re: What asian film/series have you just seen.. marks out of

Unread post by Markgway » 07 Dec 2015, 20:28

Jackie was circled several times in the 90s for a Three Brothers reunion, any DAMN may have been one of those projects, but how close he came to actually being on board is highly debatable. I personally think Jackie was on his own career path, still going strong at Golden Harvest, and that it didn't involve Sammo or Biao, whose respective careers were on a downward spiral. Jackie just didn't need them anymore and knew their box office appeal had dwindled. They needed him (badly). Also, it's hard to imagine Jackie signing on for that script. Not sure I buy into the tales of bad blood between Jackie and Sammo at this point -- if that were true Jackie wouldn't have employed Sammo to choreograph Thunderbolt (1995) or direct Mr. Nice Guy (1997). There's always been competition and friction between those two, but not acting together was I believe a purely commercial consideration on Jackie's part. DAMN wasn't actually a flop (it was a low budget pic for starters) but the fact that Rumble and Thunderbolt made respectively ten and nine times the box office speaks volumes.
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Re: What asian film/series have you just seen.. marks out of

Unread post by Masterofoneinchpunch » 07 Dec 2015, 21:59

Markgway wrote:Jackie was circled several times in the 90s for a Three Brothers reunion, any DAMN may have been one of those projects, but how close he came to actually being on board is highly debatable. I personally think Jackie was on his own career path, still going strong at Golden Harvest, and that it didn't involve Sammo or Biao, whose respective careers were on a downward spiral. Jackie just didn't need them anymore and knew their box office appeal had dwindled. They needed him (badly). Also, it's hard to imagine Jackie signing on for that script. Not sure I buy into the tales of bad blood between Jackie and Sammo at this point -- if that were true Jackie wouldn't have employed Sammo to choreograph Thunderbolt (1995) or direct Mr. Nice Guy (1997). There's always been competition and friction between those two, but not acting together was I believe a purely commercial consideration on Jackie's part. DAMN wasn't actually a flop (it was a low budget pic for starters) but the fact that Rumble and Thunderbolt made respectively ten and nine times the box office speaks volumes.
Thanks. So much questionable material on this movie. But I'm in agreement with Jackie not needing them, them needing Jackie. I agree with your summation and I just realize that Sammo's son is in Thunderbolt as well. I've read of "bad blood" between the two that would wax and wane (like many friendships though often I read about issues during Twinkle Twinkle Lucky Stars and later because of the plot of Once Upon a Time in China and America (1997)), but I do wonder the timeline of the up and downs. I read an interview today where Sammo stated he would not want to do an autobiography so I would love to see an indepth biography of him.

Did you see DAMN and what did you think of it if you did?

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Re: What asian film/series have you just seen.. marks out of

Unread post by Markgway » 08 Dec 2015, 03:14

DAMN stank.

Jackie was upset about OUATC&A and it's interesting that they've worked together only once since (Sammo choreographed The Medallion).
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Re: What asian film/series have you just seen.. marks out of

Unread post by Yi-Long » 08 Dec 2015, 12:48

Why was Jackie angry with Sammo about OUATIC&W? Because he felt it was HIS idea to mix martial arts and a western? Was he afraid Jet could become a major international star because of this movie?

I really wish they hadn't fallen out. They were there together on their rise to the top in Hong Kong, and I absolutely believe that IF they had stuck together when Jackie was having his international breakthrough, they could have made far more interesting and better movies TOGETHER, instead of the crap they have churned out separately since then. Yeah, Jackie became a success and made lots of money, but that success was mostly because of the stuff he had shown he could do before he jumped to Hollywood, and I feel Yuen Biao & Sammo would have kept him a lot more ambitious and sharp, instead of the Hollywood-lame-O's who just wanted him to do comedic buddy-action movies with B-stars.

Some of his best directors and choreographers have been Sammo and Yuen Biao. Jackie almost never looked faster and more intense than he did in the fight-scenes in Heart of the Dragon. And Jackie hasn't REALLY made a great movie ever since the early-mid 90's, where he did some fantastic stuff with Drunken Master 2, Crime Story, etc.
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Re: What asian film/series have you just seen.. marks out of

Unread post by HungFist » 08 Dec 2015, 13:45

Zatoichi the Fugitive (Japan, 1963) [BD] - 3.5/5
A very entertaining and character driven 4th film in the Zatoichi series. Zatoichi encounters a woman he once loved, who has now hooked up with a desperate swordsman. Good story, good characters, and an emotionally powerful climax. This is a better movie than many of director Tokuzo Tanaka's other films.

+ Sonny Chiba Special: Part 4

Hepcat in the Funky Hat (Japan, 1961) [35mm] – 3.5/5
Sonny Chiba plays a happy-go-lucky son of a detective, who always manages to get himself in trouble, but comes out saving the day. It’s the third directorial effort by Kinji Fukasaku – the first two also starred Chiba – and already full of that madcap energy and camerawork he’s famous for, but without any of the nihilism. In fact, this one of his most positive films, a shameless celebration of youth, where the old men are left eating the dust. At 53 minutes the film moves at lightning speed, though in the hands of any other director it would have ran at least 20 minutes longer. It’s packed with youthful energy, groovy jazz, cute girls, and early 60’s pop-cinema, and comes with a very enjoyable performance by the young Chiba.

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Hepcat in the Funky Hat: 200 000 Yen Arm (Japan, 1961) [DVD] – 3/5
A solid sequel which however put more emphasis on plotting than the 60’s youth culture. This time the plot is about a young baseball player whose market value is more important for the greedy adults than his health. It’s a nice piece of entertainment by Fukasaku and Chiba, but more conventional than the first film. Cute and energetic female lead Hitomi Nakahara also returns, playing a different but similar role as last time.

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Re: What asian film/series have you just seen.. marks out of

Unread post by Markgway » 08 Dec 2015, 15:23

Yi-Long wrote:Why was Jackie angry with Sammo about OUATIC&W? Because he felt it was HIS idea to mix martial arts and a western? Was he afraid Jet could become a major international star because of this movie?
Apparently, it was because Jackie told Sammo some of his ideas for upcoming projects (e.g. a kung fu western, an amnesiac in a foreign land) and Sammo pilfered them for OUATIC&A. I seem to remember Sammo admitting as much and feeling bad about it. That didn't stop Jackie who turned the ideas into Shanghai Noon and Who Am I?, respectively.
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Re: What asian film/series have you just seen.. marks out of

Unread post by Ivan Drago » 08 Dec 2015, 20:32

Markgway wrote:DAMN stank.

Jackie was upset about OUATC&A and it's interesting that they've worked together only once since (Sammo choreographed The Medallion).
Actually, both are in Around the World in 80 Days.
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Re: What asian film/series have you just seen.. marks out of

Unread post by Markgway » 08 Dec 2015, 23:48

Ivan Drago wrote: Actually, both are in Around the World in 80 Days.
I forgot about that one. Gee, thanks for reminding me. :icon_suspect: :D
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Re: What asian film/series have you just seen.. marks out of

Unread post by Ivan Drago » 09 Dec 2015, 16:57

I haven't seen it in ages!
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Re: What asian film/series have you just seen.. marks out of

Unread post by HungFist » 10 Dec 2015, 10:19

Zatoichi and the Chest of Gold (Japan, 1964) [BD] - 3/5
Zatoichi meets Chuji Kunisada, a famous Robin Hood like character who has appeared in dozens of his own films, in the 6th film in the series. Director Kazuo Ikehiro had nice grittiness to his style, but Daiei was one of the most conservative studios in Japan, which set limits to what he could do. This film has nice sets and locations, but it does feel a bit conventional with its "stolen tax money" plot. One also wishes there was a bit more character depth to the menacing villain Tomisaburo Wakayama.

+ Sonny Chiba Special: Part 5

The Escape (Japan, 1962) [35mm] – 3/5
An entertaining military / "caper" mix based on the February 26th Incident in 1936, which saw a large number of rebel soldiers attempting a coup d'état in Tokyo. The film shows the raid on the prime minister’s house and follows the military police’s attempts to rescue the minister, whom the enemy thinks is already dead, without anyone realizing a rescue operation is being carried out. It’s a dialogue driven film with some exiting action in the beginning and end. Sonny Chiba has a small role as one of the soldiers. Ken Takakura is the real lead as the head of the military police.

The Kamikazes (Japan, 1962) [VoD] – 2.5/5
The 1960s saw Japanese war movies becoming popular mainstream hits, and subsequently drifting towards more nationalistic tones after a number of pacifist classics that had played to international recognition in the 1950s. The output ranged from harmless adventures to patriotic melodramas. The Kamikazes leans towards the latter, but it’s still a pretty decent movie most of the time. The film follows both kamikaze pilots and human torpedo pilots – the latter being a less commonly discussed but highly interesting topic. Some of the nationalistic emphasis drags the film down, but the battle scenes, both air and underwater, are highly effective. Sonny Chiba has a pretty big supporting role as a kamikaze pilot. It’s a solid performance, but not especially memorable.

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Re: What asian film/series have you just seen.. marks out of

Unread post by Ivan Drago » 11 Dec 2015, 00:42

Deadly Strike (1978)

Director: Wong Fei-lung
Cast: Bruce Li, Chen Sing, Lung Fei, Tsai Hung, Sham Chin-bo, Lee Keung

Lame movie wasting an ace cast, but redeemed by some decent drama in the last reel. Fights frequent but unremarkable, BBFC hacked out the nunchakus from the tape master used for the DVD.

4/10
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Re: What asian film/series have you just seen.. marks out of

Unread post by HungFist » 12 Dec 2015, 17:39

Authentic Account: Osaka Shock Tactics (Jitsuroku gaiden: Osaka dengeki sakusen) (Japan, 1976) [35mm] - 4/5
A very entertaining jitsuroku yakuza film by Sadao Nakajima, who spent most of his career contributing to genres other directors had made popular. Here he manages to create some badass scenes of violence escalating on the streets, somewhat similar to some Italian crime films from the same era, all set to a kick-ass score by Toshiaki Tsushima. Hiroki Matsukata and Tsunehiko Watase are at the top of their game as ugly and brutal gangsters. The pretty boys that populate modern Japanese gangster films would piss in their pants if they came across these guys. There are some slow parts in the beginning, and the film lacks characterization, but it's so entertaining most of the time that it doesn't really matter.

+ Sonny Chiba Special: Part 6

Gambler (Japan, 1962) [DVD] – 2/5
Meiji era set gambling/family melodrama – not a yakuza film like Toei’s better known gambler films – by veteran Daisuke Ito, who started directing films in the 1920s. The film looks and feels charmingly old fashioned: especially the beautiful sets seemingly built on a mountain or a big hill facing Osaka are atmospheric. Solid execution all-around. However, it’s also very much a teary melodrama – a genre not made for this viewer – with crying scenes coming in ever increasing pace towards the end. Sonny Chiba has a relatively small role as the protagonist’s (Rentaro Mikuni) apprentice. Most of his scenes are during the last 20 minutes and don’t give him much to do.

Love, the Sun and the Gang (Japan, 1962) [DVD] – 2.5/5
The second film in the Gang series, which is linked only by theme and title. Ken Takakura, Tetsuro Tamba and a bunch of other crooks plan on robbing a casino run by foreigners. Of course, most of the gangsters are merely looking for a chance to double-cross their partners. A decently made but unremarkable, jazz-tuned, highly noirish caper by Teruo Ishii. Takakura stars in one of his early “punk roles”, as opposed to the stoic hero roles he later became famous for. The middle part is quite talkative, but there’s some energy to the visual style. Sonny Chiba appears in a small supporting role as a helicopter pilot. He has a couple of good scenes near the end, but his screen time is limited to a couple of minutes.

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Re: What asian film/series have you just seen.. marks out of

Unread post by HungFist » 14 Dec 2015, 17:27

Nobuhiro Yamashita Early Works: Part 1

Night Imitate Summer (Japan, 1996) [DVD] - 1/5
Amateurish 8mm short film gives no indication of Yamashita's talent. The 11 minute film follows a salesman who finds himself in a building full of crap and crappy people. Yamashita's trademarks are nowhere to be seen, and the film is not really worth a watch even as a curiosity.

Rotting Woman (Japan, 1997) [DVD] - 3/5
This must be the most unusual thing Yamashita has ever done: a gruesome zombie film dedicated to Lucio Fulci. Shot on 16mm, the film shows one woman's slow transformation into a zombie after being fatally bitten. It's simple film, but the short running time (10 min) makes it work and the gore effects are great. The film was shows on quite a few international festivals, where audiences probably labelled Yamashita a rising horror talent. How ironic for a director who, in reality, became known as the Japanese Aki Kaurismäki.

+ Sonny Chiba Special: Part 7

Gang vs. G-Men (Japan, 1962) [DVD] – 4/5
The young Sonny Chiba is fabulous in this wildly entertaining Kinji Fukasaku film. It’s the 4th movie in the very loosely related Gang series. This instalment sees former gangster (Koji Tsuruta) brought back to action when the police needs his help to bring down a dangerous gang lead by Tetsuro Tamba. Chiba plays an enthusiastic young man who goes undercover even though it's obviously more than he can handle. Critic Mark Schilling aptly described his character as "the seventh samurai" of this story. Though not an all time classic like some of Fukasaku's later movies, it's a very stylish and entertaining film full of 1960s cool. Chiba, bursting with youthful charm and energy, is the film’s biggest asset. This is one of his best performances, often leaving superstars like Tamba and Tsuruta in his shadow, and marked the beginning of his best era as an actor.

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Tale of A Company Boss: Part 5 (Japan, 1963) [VoD] - 2.5/5
The 5th (or 6th, depending on how you count) part in a series of salaryman comedies. Old man Eitarô Shindô, young fella Katsuo Nakamura and future pinky violence comic relief Toru Yuri run a travel agency whose latest customer turns out to be bunch of mischievous elementary school kids. They end up travelling the country with the singing and goofing kids while Nakamura falls in love with their teacher (Hitomi Nakahara from Hepcat in the Funky Hat) and Shindô and Yuri have the hots for a geisha. It's not a bad film for what it is: fans of the genre should be entertained, even though the film is hardly exceptional. Fans of Chiba should be warned, though: his role as Nakamura's old student pal is only about 45 seconds.

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Re: What asian film/series have you just seen.. marks out of

Unread post by HungFist » 16 Dec 2015, 08:12

Nobuhiro Yamashita Early Works: Part 2

Season Seeds (Japan, 1998) [DVD] - 2/5
Two lazy guys stuck in a small apartment. This one is starting to feel a bit like a Yamashita film, and it stars Yamashita himself, but it's neither very funny not especially interesting. 8mm again, runs 19 minutes.

Hiroshi and Rolan (Japan, 1999) [DVD] - 1/5
Frustrating 12 minute short film about a Japanese guy and a very irritating foreign girl in a small hot room. This is not the kind of clever understated humour Yamashita became known for. The only point of interest is Hiroshi Yamamoto in the starring role. Runs 12 long minutes, shot on Hi8 and looks like crap.

105 Yen Hamburger is Not Cheap(Japan, 2000) [DVD] - 2/5
Yet another one room dialogue film, this time about fast food and dating. Yamamoto co-stars and improvises - one can hear Yamashita laughing behind the camera. He's having more fun than the audience. The 15 minute film, shot on digital, feels oddly amateurish considering Yamashita had already completed his enjoyable debut feature film Hazy Life (1999) by that time.

+ Sonny Chiba Special: Part 8

The Loyal 47 Gangsters (Japan, 1963) [VoD] - 2/5
A modern gangster film reworking of the 47 Ronin story, where an innocent lord is forced to commit harakiri, but his loyal samurai swear for revenge. In this version Ken Takakura is a young gang boss tricked by the villainous Toru Abe. His underlings, lead by Chiezo Kataoka, start planning for revenge after Takakura dies in jail. Fans of the original story may be interested in seeing how the modern aspect is executed, but otherwise this is a relatively uninspired yakuza film. It doesn't help that it's remarkably slow paced, originally intended as the first half of an epic; however, part 2 never surfaced. The biggest point of interest is probably setting some of the scenes in Paris. Sonny Chiba plays one of the gangsters, but his role is sadly very small and forgettable.

Yakuza's Song (Japan, 1963) [VoD] - 3.5/5
This is one of Chiba's best early starring roles, an enjoyable crossover between Toei's old fashioned yakuza cinema and the kind of youthful love story set in the criminal world you'd find in Nikkatsu's films. Sonny Chiba plays a low ranking yakuza who spends more time enjoying life than doing the yakuza work. He falls in love with a pretty student girl, whose brother (Saburo Kitajima) later gets drawn into the yakuza business against his own wishes. The film is charmingly old fashioned, utilizing many studio sets and Showa era music; however, the film's real strength is the breezy romance between Chiba and lovely Chiyoko Honma. Early/mid 60s was the time when Chiba was at his best as an actor, and here he finds just the right balance between youthful energy and seriousness. It also doesn't hurt the dressing department seems determined to make Chiba look as cool as possible, and that composer Tooru Funamura provides a cool, highly spaghetti esque score. The film may not add anything new to the genre, and the storyline is strictly standard stuff, but as an enjoyable programmer picture the film delivers!

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Re: What asian film/series have you just seen.. marks out of

Unread post by Ivan Drago » 16 Dec 2015, 11:29

Swordsman (1990)

Director: King Hu, Tsui Hark, Ching Siu-tung, Raymond Lee
Cast: Sam Hui, Cecilia Yip, Jacky Cheung, Yuen Wah, Sharla Cheung, Lau Shun, Wu Man, Lam Ching-ying

There is an irony that I became fascinated with the works of King Hu with a film which turned out to only have two shots from his shoot left in the finished picture. Anyway, this is a lovely, beautiful film with great action, gorgeous music, a fun cast and astonishing production values. Just about the only bad thing I can say about is Lam Ching-ying's phoney beard!

9/10
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Re: What asian film/series have you just seen.. marks out of

Unread post by saltysam » 16 Dec 2015, 12:02

Hero From Shanghai 2/5 ok Chen-Kuan-Tai inependent kung fu flick.the german dvd is dubbed and the print's seen much better days but is anamorphic and in the correct ratio.
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Re: What asian film/series have you just seen.. marks out of

Unread post by saltysam » 17 Dec 2015, 11:54

Bruce Lee Superstar 1.5/5 Early Ho Chung Tao effort slipped under my normally reliable Bruceploitation radar,i'd never seen it.Not one of his finest hours but like all these movies strangely watchable-even though they nearly all uniformly conform to type- Meets wise master early on -check- goes to the USA-check-challenged by wannabes throughout and by an extra on one of his movies-check- Lung Fei shows up for a scrap -check- tasteless real life funeral footage-check. The german dvd is english dubbed and has a great anamorphic transfer....why do Ho's lesser movies have the best transfers :icon_suspect:
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Re: What asian film/series have you just seen.. marks out of

Unread post by saltysam » 19 Dec 2015, 14:17

Thunder Kick 2.5/5 old school basher has great nostalgia value for me as i had this on a condensed super 8 version when i was about 12,one of my earliest memories of the genre.Larry Lee stars as the hero who wants to wipe out the three gangster brothers ruining the local town.Mostly standard fare but with a great climax including the use of the rarely seen tonfas. the german dvd is 2:35:1 anamorphic but uses a clearly heavily censored cinema print,inserting the missing footage from a 4:3 source.ordinarily this wouldn't be too jarring but this film was clearly cut to shreds so there's a lot of inserts here.Still great to see this old favourite of mine in a decent version
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Re: What asian film/series have you just seen.. marks out of

Unread post by saltysam » 19 Dec 2015, 17:54

Pedicab Driver 4/5 One of Sammo's best,a really entertaining film. The new Warner Archive dvd has a superb transfer but isn't perfect due to the odd choice of using CC subs.However to me they didn't prove problematic and i was able to enjoy the film despite them.
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Re: What asian film/series have you just seen.. marks out of

Unread post by Shingster » 19 Dec 2015, 21:29

Do you know if it's been shown in hi-def on that Warner channel in the states salty? Does the DVD contain the vicious roundhouse kick outside the bad guy's mansion towards the end?

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Re: What asian film/series have you just seen.. marks out of

Unread post by saltysam » 20 Dec 2015, 01:51

Shingster wrote:Do you know if it's been shown in hi-def on that Warner channel in the states salty? Does the DVD contain the vicious roundhouse kick outside the bad guy's mansion towards the end?
it's been shown in HD on their streaming channel if that's what you mean.As for the roundhouse kick,i'll check to confirm,until today i hadn't seen it in 7-8 years, was it in the MIHK VHS?
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Re: What asian film/series have you just seen.. marks out of

Unread post by Shingster » 20 Dec 2015, 02:36

Thanks Salty, It was in the MIHK VHS but I think it was cut from the Laser Disc because IIRC there were complaints from fans that the bootleg DVD that did the round a few years back (which I believe was sourced from the LD) didn't have that kick in it. I've only ever seen the MIHK release though myself.

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Re: What asian film/series have you just seen.. marks out of

Unread post by saltysam » 20 Dec 2015, 12:23

Shingster wrote:Do you know if it's been shown in hi-def on that Warner channel in the states salty? Does the DVD contain the vicious roundhouse kick outside the bad guy's mansion towards the end?
The roundhouse kick is intact :)
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Re: What asian film/series have you just seen.. marks out of

Unread post by Shingster » 20 Dec 2015, 19:49

Nice one, thanks! I'm torn between purchasing this DVD and waiting for a HD release to surface now! :D

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