Sony Pictures has formally announced the March 3rd Blu-ray and DVD release of ASHES OF TIME REDUX, director Wong Kar-wai’s remixed version of his 1994 wuxia masterpiece. To promote the release, they have offered up a video sneak peek at the film and the bonus materials that accompany it.

ASHES OF TIME REDUX is based on wuxia author Louis Cha’s 1957 classic “The Legend of the Condor Heroes.” It stars the late Leslie Cheung as Ouyang Feng, a heartbroken and cynical man who spends his days alone in the desert, connecting expert swordsmen with those seeking revenge and willing to pay for it. As Ouyang narrates his tale, interweaving the stories of his unusual clients, old friends and future foes, he begins to realize the mistakes of his own past, and how his fear of rejection may have led him to a life of exile.

The film features gorgeous visuals from DP Christopher Doyle, stylized swordplay and wire action from Sammo Hung, and sophisticated and subtle direction from Wong. It also possesses a killer line-up of Hong Kong heavy hitters from the 1990s delivering excellent, understated performances. This includes Brigitte Lin, Jacky Cheung, Tony Leung Chiu-wai, Tony Leung Ka-fai, and Maggie Cheung.

Both the DVD and Blu-ray editions of ASHES OF TIME REDUX come with two bonus features, “Born from the Ashes: The Making of ASHES OF TIME REDUX” and a “Q&A with Wong Kar-wai.” The film is presented with its original Cantonese soundtrack and optional English subtitles. Running time is listed at 94 minutes.

In this excerpt from a Q&A session included on the DVD release, director Wong Kar-wai explains why ASHES OF TIME was controversial for its time and argues that martial arts movies should be about more than just fighting.

Brigitte Lin portrays a swordswoman with split personalities, evenly divided between opposing yin and yang or female and male forces. The concept of yin and yang, or the balance of opposing forces in nature, is a common philosophy embraced in Chinese martial arts and wuxia storytelling. This sequence also shows off the incredibly bold visual style that Wong brings to what could have been an otherwise simple training exercise.

Ouyang Feng (Leslie Cheung) attempts to navigate the fractured mind of Murong (Brigitte Lin), unaware of her alter ego. Lin’s presence here is palpable. The scene highlights the phenomenal skills of cinematographer Christopher Doyle to turn a verbal exchange into a visual work of art.

Ouyang Feng (Leslie Cheung) shares a quiet moment with a nameless swordsman (Tony Leung Chiu-wai) who is gradually going blind yet still must fight.

In this excerpt from a “Making Of” featurette on the DVD, world renown cellist Yo-Yo Ma discusses his involvement in performing solos for the new score. Also shown is director Wong Kar-wai and the film’s original composer Frankie Chan.

Ouyang Feng (Leslie Cheung) has his first encounter with Murong (Brigitte Lin) who while posing as her own brother is soliciting his services to kill swordsman Huang Yaoshi (Tony Leung Ka-fai).

ASHES OF TIME REDUX arrives on Blu-ray and DVD on March 3rd. It’s available for order at Amazon and HKFlix.

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  • 107


    Will the original version be included with this release?

  • Mark Pollard

    The original version was not mentioned in the release and I doubt it would be included. When I get my hands on it I’ll do a comparative review between both versions.

    Interestingly, I haven’t heard many Asian cinema fans complain about Wong’s decision to pull a “George Lucas” on his only martial arts film.

  • dac1138

    I seriously doubt the original cut will be on this disc…or any disc. WKW has been discouraging screenings of the old cut of Ashes for over 5 years while he worked on this one. I know I personally had tickets to 2 different screenings scheduled that were pulled due to his request. It’s unfortunate as I prefer that earlier cut (it leaves more action in) and I found the digital color effects distracting and muddy looking on the screen when this cut was in theaters.

  • Jason

    I was lucky enough to see both the original ‘Ashes if Time’ as well as ‘Redux’ on the big screen, and I will be sure to pick up the DVD release. Thanks for posting about this, Mark. I’m spreading the word, and linked here for the preview clips.

  • Rhythm-X

    “Interestingly, I haven’t heard many Asian cinema fans complain about Wong’s decision to pull a “George Lucas” on his only martial arts film.”

    I certainly have complained, and I won’t be buying this or any other version that doesn’t offer the original cut as an option. It makes me sad that when there’s finally, after all these years, a competent DVD of ASHES OF TIME being released, it’s not really ASHES OF TIME anymore. I’m pretty disgusted, actually. Even if Wong prefers his new, CG enhanced rescored version of the film, the original version ought to be allowed to exist, and it ought to be presented in the best possible quality, strictly for posterity’s sake if nothing else. Maybe some of the footage would have had to come from less than ideal sources – but the vast majority of it could have been restored from the same materials WKW used to create REDUX, only without the new color scheme and the rescoring.

  • Daniel Zelter

    WKW says he couldn’t find a good print for Ashes of Time, and this is actually what he managed to save. A similar situation happened with the subbed version of “Master of the Flying Guillotine”, where they found it in a chicken coup. HK really needs to have better archives.

  • Erroneous Monk

    I’ve heard him say as much, but if it’s not unabashed BS (as I suspect) then I don’t really think he looked very hard for the footage or was particularly interested in finding it. The use of a newly recorded replacement musical score, extensive digital recoloring, and newly created CG effects speak louder than words about how faithful he intended to be to the original film. George Lucas would approve.

  • Daniel Zelter

    I imagine if he could get remastered copies of Chungking Express, Fallen Angels, and Happy Together, he probably did the best he could with Ashes of Time.

  • Nick Boros

    What happened to the Ashes of Time Redux Blu Ray? The DVD has become available on March 3rd for purchase, but the US Blu Ray has seem to fallen off of the map. I know that it is available in the UK on Blu Ray and it is region free, but the standard definition extras are in PAL. So I was holding out for the US Blu Ray so that I could watch any extras if I choose.