The whiplash, double-pronged Chungking Express is one of the defining works of nineties cinema and the film that made Hong Kong filmmaker Wong Kar-wai an instant icon. Two heartsick Hong Kong cops (Takeshi Kaneshiro and Tony Leung), both jilted by ex-lovers, cross paths at the Midnight Express take-out restaurant stand, where the ethereal pixie waitress Faye (Faye Wong) works. Anything goes in Wong's gloriously shot and utterly unexpected charmer, which cemented the sex appeal of its gorgeous stars and forever turned canned pineapple and the Mamas and the Papas' California Dreamin' into tokens of romantic longing. It also has one of the coolest opening scenes in movie history, all the cooler for being repeated with one subtle change to introduce the second story.
Chungking Express has not fared so well on western DVD over the years, the best version being the Tae Won Entertainment region 3 Korean release. Now that should all be put right when the film gets the Criterion treatment for a US DVD and blu-ray release on 25th November 2008 at the SRP of $39.95 for each. As before this is good and bad news for UK viewers, as while the region 1 DVD should be no problem for most of us, the region A blu-ray - which, let's face it, is the one we really want – will be coded region A, more of a problem to bypass. Anyway, the new, restored high-definition digital transfer and a remastered Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack supervised by director Wong Kar-wai will be joined by the following features:
- Audio commentary by noted Asian cinema critic Tony Rayns;
- U.S. theatrical trailer;
- Episode excerpt from the BBC Television series Moving Pictures, featuring Wong and cinematographer Christopher Doyle;
- New and improved English subtitle translation;
- A booklet featuring a new essay by critic Amy Taubin.