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Manga presents
Red Hawk: Weapon of Death (1995)

"You will pay for your crimes."
- Red Hawk (Jimmy Theodore)

Review By: Jeff Ulmer   
Published: December 19, 2002

Stars: Jimmy Theodore, David Swift, Charles Douglas, Tom Charles, Darien Sewell
Other Stars: Doug Stone, David Lucas, Richard Hayworth, Mark Turner Canadian, Gil Starberry, Mona Marshall, Peter Spellos, George C. Cole, Jackson Daniels, Wendee Lee
Director: Sang Il Sim

Manufacturer: WAMO
MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (violence and strong language)
Run Time: 01h:25m:44s
Release Date: August 27, 2002
UPC: 660200411428
Genre: anime

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer
C+ CB-B+ C-

DVD Review

Manga brings a dub-only version of the Korean project, Red Hawk, to DVD, an anime-style martial arts production from 1995.

The land of Chungwon is in chaos, as warring gangs roam the countryside. One of them, the Camellia Blossoms, is trying to overthrow the government by crippling the economy. Inside the gang, an elite martial arts fighting force, known as the Five Dragons, is being trained to kill, but Danlyong, the younger of two brothers, resists his duty as an assassin, and escapes with the help of his sibling, Muklyong. For his treason, Muklyong will be transformed into the group's Weapon of Death by spiritual means, under control of Lord Seabong.

Paralyzed by the reign of violence under Lord Seabong, the citizens are helpless to defend themselves. When Honglyung's father is murdered by one of the roving gangs, shes begins her quest for the only one with the strength to oppose the tyrants, the legendary Red Hawk. With a small group of friends, Honglyung sets out on a perilous journey, but when she finds him, will Red Hawk be able to overcome the forces that await them?

Red Hawk is a fairly typical fighting genre production, without a lot to really make it stand out in the crowd. While the voice acting is passable, the scripting leaves much to be desired, with some inexplicable decisions. The first thing that sticks out here is that the dub insists on littering itself with uncalled for profanity. While true to the original production, and not something I'd normally object to, the dub retains the Korean character names, which if subtitled wouldn't be an issue, but when spoken, it often becomes confusing at first as to who they are referring to, since many of the names are fairly similar in pronunciation, especially for English audiences who may not be accustomed to Asian names.

The animation style and design work are decent, offering some unusual and distinctive character work. The plot has reasonably good pacing, allowing plenty of martial arts battles along the way that don't slow things down appreciably. There isn't a lot in the way of character development, other than superficially. The story follows the well used "brother against brother" model, and lots of superhuman transformations, but with all the fighting going on, key plot points are often hammered home in order to keep things moving. This isn't anywhere near the worst thing I've ever seen, but it is pretty forgettable.

Rating for Style: C+
Rating for Substance: C


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio1.85:1 - Widescreen
Original Aspect Ratioyes

Image Transfer Review: Red Hawk is presented in 1.85:1 non anamorphic widescreen. Image quality is fairly good, but there are a few issues with it. Colors for the most part are well saturated, and black levels are solid, but there are areas where the color is inconsistent, or scenes which are too dark, off color or with poor contrast. Racking in the transfer is abundant, as are stretches where the image goes in and out of focus or where brightness varies through a scene. There is sporadic print damage throughout, most pretty minor—dust, specs and scratches—but a few major flaws are present. Aliasing and interlacing are also moderate.

Image Transfer Grade: B-


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Englishyes
Dolby Digital

Audio Transfer Review: Audio is English only, and either 2 or 5.1 channels. The difference in the staging between tracks is minimal at best, with all of the action appearing in the front soundstage. The sound is clear and makes good use of directionality left to right. While not overly dynamic, there is little to complain about from a technical standpoint.

Audio Transfer Grade: B+


Disc Extras

Full Motion menu with music
Scene Access with 12 cues and remote access
1 Original Trailer(s)
Weblink/DVD-ROM Material
Packaging: Amaray
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extra Extras:
  1. Image gallery
  2. Character profiles
  3. Manga video catalogue
Extras Review: There are a few extras here, starting with a rogue gallery, which introduces the major characters. Although there are some spoilers, this might be worth a quick look prior to watching the feature to get used to the names. A 28-image photo gallery is made up of screen grabs, and contain some pretty severe aliasing. A trailer for the feature is also included, along with Manga's standard catalogue collection.

Extras Grade: C-


Final Comments

Red Hawk provides a pretty mediocre story, both in terms of originality and execution, with an abundance of martial arts style fighting sequences. While the character design isn't bad, and there is some humor involved, this was pretty unfulfilling, and made worse by the dub track and its reliance on profanity to enhance the drama. A rental at best.


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