Undefeatable - 4K Ultra HD Blu-rayOverview -
Cynthia Rothrock spent the 90s kicking ass and flooding the home video circuit with those films, and Godfrey Ho’s 1993 serial killer action thriller Undefeatable may be among the best of her starring roles. A rather intoxicating mash-up of Hong Kong action, flat dramatic plotting, and genuinely nasty violence, Undefeatable arrives in stunning 4K Ultra HD courtesy of Vinegar Syndrome with a 4K transfer aided by HDR that blows the door off decades-old SD transfers. Packed with special features, including a wildly different alternate cut of the film, this release comes Recommended!
This special limited edition spot gloss slipcover (designed by Robert Sammelin) is limited to 6,000 units and is only available on our website and at select indie retailers. Absolutely no major retailers will be stocking them.
Kristi Jones (Cynthia Rothrock) is a street tough member of a martial arts gang known as the Red Dragons. In an attempt to go straight and leave the gang life behind, Kristi participates in mafia run back alley street fights in an attempt to win enough money to put her sister through college. Meanwhile, a sadistic fighter known as Stingray becomes increasingly violent while taking part in unsanctioned fights to the death. When Stingray's wife leaves him due to his increasingly aggressive behavior, Stingray loses his grip on reality and begins raping, murdering, and removing the eyes of any woman that resembles his wife. When Stingray turns his murderous rage on Kristi's sister, Kristi has no choice but to reluctantly team up with Nick, a martial arts trained detective, in an attempt to stop Stingray's rampage before more women turn up dead.
Directed by notorious Hong Kong filmmaker, Godfrey Ho (under one of his many pseudonyms), UNDEFEATABLE has obtained true cult status thanks in large part to its now infamous final fight. Starring the always bad-ass Cynthia Rothrock (Righting Wrongs, Martial Law) in one of her most memorable roles, as well as an impressive martial arts performance by John Miller (Honor and Glory), and featuring an eye-popping performance by Don Niam in one of his few acting roles. Vinegar Syndrome is proud to present one of our most requested titles, UNDEFEATABLE, for the first time on Blu-ray and 4K UHD, restored from the original camera negative. Also, included in this set is the rarely seen alternate Hong Kong cut released under the title BLOODY MARY KILLER. In true Godfrey Ho fashion, the film was re-edited into an almost new movie, featuring more fight scenes, an entirely new subplot involving Triad gangsters, as well as additional characters, including known martial arts actor Robin Shou (Mortal Kombat).
directed by: Godfrey Ho
starring: Cynthia Rothrock, Don Niam, John Miller, Donna Jason
1993 / 95 min / 1.85:1 / English Mono
- 3-disc Region Free Set: 4K Ultra HD / Blu-ray x2
- 4K UHD presented in High-Dynamic-Range
- Newly scanned & restored in 4K from its 35mm original camera negative
- Presented in both its English language UNDEFEATABLE version and its wildly different BLOODY MARY KILLER version in both Cantonese and Mandarin with newly translated English subtitles
- Brand new commentary track with actress Cynthia Rothrock (UNDEFEATABLE)
- Brand new commentary track with filmmaker & film historian Brandon Bentley (BLOODY MARY KILLER)
- "Godfrey Ho Discusses Undefeatable" (15 min) - a brand new interview with producer / director Godfrey Ho
- "It’s a Cartoon with People" (18 min) - a brand new interview with cinematographer Phil Cook
- "Street Fighter" (12 min) - a brand new interview with actress Cynthia Rothrock
- "They Call Him Stingray" (25 min) - a brand new interview with actor Don Niam
- "A Mind for Action" (16 min) - a brand new interview with actress / assistant director Donna Jason
- "Cynthia Rothrock: A Legendary Life" (14 min) - a video essay by film historians Samm Deighan & Charles Perks
- "Undefeatable vs. Bloody Mary Killer” (8 min) - a video essay comparing the two versions by filmmaker Chris O’Neill
- Original trailers for both UNDEFEATABLE and BLOODY MARY KILLER
- 12-page booklet with an essay by writer and film historian Danielle Burgos
- Reversible sleeve artwork
- English SDH subtitles
Storyline: Our Reviewer's Take
The ass-kicking films of Cynthia Rothrock are just now starting to be reappraised properly thanks to the recent releases of some of her most-famous works, but Vinegar Syndrome dived deep into her career and pulled out a nasty slice of action that has seen viral fame thanks to its eye-popping and over-the-top end fight sequence. But where Undefeatable really strikes me as the most interesting is with the crazy man at the helm, Hong Kong filmmaker Godfrey Ho (working under the name Godfrey Hall on this film). The filmmaker is no stranger to taking wildly different material from various resources to deliver the kind of B-grade, cheesy action that sells. But with this one, the director really lets his freak flag fly free with the Hong Kong inspirations. The ass-kicking is tough, the serial killer plot as extreme as it can be and the tonal shifts even more extreme. The result is one of a kind.
Kristi Jones (Rothrock) is a whip-smart member of the Red Dragons, a local martial arts gang who take part in back-alley street fights so Kristi can raise money for her sister’s college education. On the other side of things, there’s a dude named Stingray (Don Niam) who was left by his wife, sending him on a rampage, raping, murdering and gouging the eyes out of any woman who resembles his wife. Kristi’s sister unfortunately becomes one of Stingray’s victims, sending Kristi to team up with Detective Nick DiMarco (John Miller) to track down and stop Stingray.
Does all that sound a bit insane? It’s because it is, and Godfrey Ho is clearly having a fun time cutting between all the wild grunting and kicking seemingly designed for the Mystery Science Theater treatment. But what’s different about Undefeatable is that all that wild stuff actually works. It’s all so strange that it becomes compelling, and the film sidesteps usual DTV pitfalls like cheap sets, even cheaper fights and even cheaper dialogue to deliver something truly rare.
Godfrey Ho was well known for cutting and pasting different sections of film he stole with newly filmed sequences to create something cheap and quick, but Undefeatable sees the filmmaker actually returning to previous actors and refining their respective collaborations without the kind of cut-and-paste model he was known for. Rothrock’s stolid acting and martial arts talents finally being given something actually interesting to play against, however egregious the crazy serial killer plot may be.
No matter if you’re looking for an ass-kicking good time or some bad B-movie entertainment to whet your appetite, you’ll find it all in Undefeatable. I even encourage you to watch the 88-minute alternate version, as it has a ton of new footage, including scenes with Robin Shou (famous for his role in Mortal Kombat). The key plot remains mostly the same, but a subplot involving a man also getting revenge on Stingray has been added. The new footage doesn’t really go anywhere, but it’s no less interesting to watch Godrey Ho cut and paste things to create something new.
Vital Disc Stats: The 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray
Ready for an eye-popping good time? Undefeatable arrives in 4K Ultra HD courtesy of Vinegar Syndrome with a three-disc release that offers a BD-66 for the 4K disc, BD-50 for the Blu-ray feature and special features, plus a BD=25 for the Bloody Mary Killer cut and its commentary. All discs boot up to standard menu screens with options to play the film, set up audio, explore bonus features and select reels.
The following message appears before the film begins: “The original negative to Undefeatable has experienced decades of poor handling and storage, resulting in substantial image damage. While every effort was made to reduce this damage, some issues could not be resolved without the risk of introducing digital artifacting.”
Even with that word of warning before Undefeatable opens, I was immediately impressed by just how great the overall presentation looks. The 2160p image is framed at 1.85:1 and offers a really sturdy HEVC encode that handles the myriad damage found in the source wonderfully. Clear wear lines are seen in the first reel, but that clearly didn’t mar just how much clarity could be pulled out of the image itself. The wear lines are a bit noticeable, though it doesn’t take away from just how vivid those flesh tones and bold 90s colors are rendered. Even where I detected some slight color fluctuations due to the source condition, it still looks terrific overall.
HDR is applied delicately, as I didn’t notice any of those primaries blown out too much, and flesh tones are tuned in just right. I’ll say that I was surprised by the amount of shadow definition available at the source, and even with the damage to the source marring some of the darker areas, it’s all rendered wonderfully in this presentation. As for that final fight sequence, those subpar SD clips can now be discarded completely, as Vinegar Syndrome makes it look incredible here. I cannot recommend this transfer highly enough, especially since it’s clear the restoration work pulled the most out of the damaged source.
Vinegar Syndrome presents Undefeatable with a DTS-HD MA presentation of the original mono soundtrack, and I found the track to be nicely punchy despite the flat soundscape. The cheap score is balanced nicely with the dialogue, and those whacky moments of grunting and kicking all sound clear. I noticed minor hiss and pops a couple of times, but overall this is a very clean and pleasing audio presentation.
As for supplements, Vinegar Syndrome didn’t stop at just a stunning video presentation. There’s a really nice supplements package that incorporates a really great new interview with Godfrey Ho himself, new interviews with Cynthia Rothrock and cinematographer Phil Cook. Rothrock is a great interview subject and hearing her talk about her collaboration with Godfrey Ho is a terrific listen. So many of the involved actors are martial arts experts first, so it’s really great to hear how they were poached to star in films and how they navigated trying to become dramatically proficient. There’s even a great video essay explaining the differences between the eastern and western versions of the film. In addition, the alternate Bloody Mary Killer cut looks to be sourced from original materials, as it looks just as crisp and clear as the main feature, although with some more nicks and scratches in certain areas.
Disc 1: 4K UHD
- Audio commentary with lead actress Cynthia Rothrock
Disc 2: Blu-ray
- "Godfrey Ho Discusses Undefeatable" - a brand new interview with producer / director Godfrey Ho (HD 14:43)
- "It’s a Cartoon with People" - a brand new interview with cinematographer Phil Cook (HD 17:52)
- "Street Fighter" - a brand new interview with actress Cynthia Rothrock (HD 12:27)
- "They Call Him Stingray" - a brand new interview with actor Don Niam (HD 25:33)
- "A Mind for Action" - a brand new interview with actress / assistant director Donna Jason (HD 16:00)
- "Cynthia Rothrock: A Legendary Life" - a video essay by film historians Samm Deighan & Charles Perks (HD 13:40)
- "Undefeatable vs. Bloody Mary Killer” - a video essay comparing the two versions by filmmaker Chris O’Neill (HD 8:23)
- Undefeatable trailer (HD 2:42)
- Bloody Mary Killer trailer (HD 2:40)
- 12-page booklet with an essay by writer and film historian Danielle Burgos
Disc 3: Blu-ray
- Bloody Mary Killer - Alternate Cut
Cynthia Rothrock is out for revenge against the murderous psychopath who killed her sister with Hong Kong filmmaker Godfrey Ho at the helm, and Undefeatable is the wild result of their collaboration. Vinegar Syndrome presents the video store classic in stunning 4K Ultra HD aided by HDR, and the presentation itself truly makes the damaged source look terrific. With a rather big supplements package attached as well, this release comes Recommended!
March Comes In Like A 2160p HDR Lion - HDD's March 2024 4K UHD Shopping GuideBy:
Edward Zwick's Glory 35th Anniversary 4K UHD Limited Edition SteelBook Arrives on June 4By:
Turbine Reissues 3-Disc Pitch Black Director's Cut 4K UHD Set with Their World-Exclusive Atmos Audio Feb 29thBy:
Sergio Leone's Once Upon a Time in the West Coming to 4K UHD May 14By: