• Who Am I? (Umbrella Entertainment) Blu-ray Review

    Released by: Umbrella Entertainment
    Released on: August 8th, 2019.
    Director: Benny Chan, Jackie Chan
    Cast: Jackie Chan, Michelle Ferre, Mirai Yamamoto, Ron Smerczak, Ed Nelson
    Year: 1998
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    Who Am I? – Movie Review:

    A group of commandos travel by helicopter into Africa to steal a mysterious device. After the mission, the troop’s helicopter is attacked. Before the chopper goes down, one man (Jackie Chan) manages to fall from the helicopter, the trees break his fall and he survives. He’s found by a tribe of natives who nurse him back to health, but as he recovers it’s clear that he has amnesia. After asking over and over again ‘Who am I?’ the natives give him that name – Whoami.

    When he travels away from the tribe and finds a man lying beside a rally truck with a snake bite on his leg, he helps him, but not before his sister, Yuki (Mirai Yamamoto), assumes Whoami is hurting him, not helping him. They get that sorted out and soon enough he drives the injured man to the nearest hospital, winning the race along the way. After this happens, the media takes interest and a cute reporter named Christine Stark (Michelle Ferre) takes an interest in him. Of course, there’s more to all of this than it first appears and soon enough, those who had employed Whoami in the first place realize that his survival is a problem for them. He makes it from Africa to Holland and, with help from a few friends he makes along the way, tries to not only figure out the truth behind his past, but put a stop to some high-ranking criminals as well… assuming those out to get him don’t knock him off first.

    This one is worth seeing for the ending itself. The film’s finale, where Chan goes up against Ron Smoorenburg and Kwan Yung, is impressive, and it leads into one of the most impressive stunts of Jackie Chan’s career. The fact that the build up to this is as entertaining as it is, well, that’s definitely some nice icing on the cake. Who Am I? may be an imperfect movie, but it’s still a whole lot of seriously entertaining fun. A big part of the reason that it works as well as it does is Chan’s natural charisma. The guy is just insanely likeable and that goes a long way towards making this all click. Benny Chan’s direction is also pretty solid. He keeps things moving at a good pace, interjecting with a bit of humor now and then and really doing a very fine job of holding the action set pieces around which the story is anchored together.

    As to the acting? Chan handles himself fine here, his English was good enough at this point in his career that shooting in that langue wasn’t a problem. He does very well. The rest of the cast… that’s a different story. Mirai Yamamoto overdoes the ‘cute and bubbly’ thing a bit too much while Michelle Ferre never really succeeds in convincing us of much. Ron Smerczak and Ed Nelson as two of the film’s heavies are just plain bad. But hey, Chan is able to carry the film pretty easily and the production values are solid throughout. This one might take twenty to thirty minutes to really get moving but once it does, it turns out to be a fantastic watch.

    FUN FACT: According to Jackie Chan’s autobiography, Never Grow Up, when Jackie was filming Who Am I? in Africa, there were no toilets nearby. In order to go to the bathroom, he and everyone else involved in making the film had to head out away from the village to do their business on the ground. Whenever this had to happen, armed guards would escort Jackie because there were dangerous animals around and they didn’t want him to get attacked while reliving himself in the middle of the night.

    Who Am I? – Blu-ray Review:

    Who Am I? arrives on Blu-ray on a 50GB disc (with the feature taking up just shy of 30GBs of space) framed at 1.78.1 anamorphic widescreen and appears to be taken from an older master. Detail does surpass standard definition offerings but it never rises to where you want it to be. Mild print damage can be spotted here and there but it’s minor. Colors look decent enough, a little flat in some spots but nothing too serious in that regard. Black levels are okay, skin tones too. That said, the image is definitely zoomed in from its original 2.35.1 aspect ratio to fill the 1.78.1 frame. Oddly enough, the prologue and title screen are in 2.35.1 before the aspect ratio then shifts to 1.78.1. The zooming is noticeable but, quite frankly, it doesn’t really butcher the compositions. It’s watchable enough, if imperfect.

    Got it? Good. Those who may understandably need to see the film in its original 2.35.1 aspect ratio have the option to do so on this disc by way of a standard definition presentation, upscaled to 1080p and taking up 9GBs of space. Colors are definitely darker here and detail is softer as well.

    Note that both options present the film in its US version which runs approximately nine-minutes shorter than the uncut Hong Kong version of the movie.

    The screen caps below show the difference in picture quality. If the caps aren’t the exact same frame, they’re close enough to show you how the compositions are affected here:

    The primary audio option for the feature is an English language 24-bit DTS-HD 2.0 track. The track sounds fine, it’s clean and properly balanced. Dialogue is easy enough to follow and the score and effects sound pretty decent. There are no alternate language or subtitle options provided, although an English Dolby Digital 5.0 Surround Sound mix is also available for the standard definition version of the movie described above.

    Extras are limited to menus, chapter selection and a trailer for the feature.

    Who Am I? – The Final Word:

    Who Am I? fails to receive the special edition that it deserves and it would have been nice to get the full-strength version in 2.35.1, but for now, this does seem to be the best English friendly version out there. The movie itself is a blast, featuring Chan in very fine form and showcasing some ridiculously impressive stunts and action set pieces.

    Click on the images below for full sized Who Am I? Blu-ray screen caps!

    And some more caps from the 2.35.1 version!