This is a fairly big release for Criterion so I was a little let down with what we do get here in the way of supplements, only getting a few items.
There is an audio commentary by Tony Rayns, recorded exclusively for Criterion in 2008. I enjoy Raynsí tracks overall (I especially liked his track for Vampyr) but I found this one to be just an average track. Rayns thankfully keeps everything going and while I assume he has notes it doesnít really sound like heís reading from them, though at times it sounds like heís trying to keep up with his own train of thought. He gives a decent analysis of the film and offers some interesting facts about the production, like how the original story was to have the four characters crossing paths constantly throughout (shooting schedules didnít allow that,) and also gets into the careers of the actors, even the minor ones. He also enjoys pointing out locations and some of the unique features of Hong Kong (such as the escalator that plays a fairly big role in the film.) Itís informative and Iím glad I listened to it, but I canít say it really added that much more to my appreciation of the film and in all I was a little let down by it.
Unfortunately the only other big feature comes from a 1996 episode of Moving Pictures, presenting an interview with Wong Kar-wai and director of photography, Christopher Doyle. The two tour the locations used in Chungking Express and talk about their work, including what would have been their newest film at the time, Fallen Angels, talking a lot about their style. Itís interesting but runs only a 12-minutes and offers very little in the end.
The disc then closes with the U.S. Theatrical Trailer, which, as one might expect from a Miramax ad campaign, doesnít really do a good job of capturing the film.
A booklet included with the release contains an essay by Amy Taubin, who gives an analysis and synopsis of the film and how it represents Hong Kong at the time. Itís a good read and may actually be the best part of the release.
Considering that it is a bigger title I guess I expected a little more. Iím thankful Criterion didnít feel the need to pull Quentin Tarantino in on this release (it was a favourite of Tarantinoís, was released in North America through his Rolling Thunder Pictures, and the previous DVD had his name and face pasted all over it like he made it) and went the route of a scholarly track, but I guess I felt there was more out there. It just feels like a very small release for the film. 6/10