Vinegar Syndrome Archive


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LIFELINE is part of our Vinegar Syndrome Archive collection, celebrating forgotten cinematic oddities from the video store era. This collection was inspired by our own brick & mortar video stores, with locations in Bridgeport, CT; Aurora, CO and Toronto, ON!

Unique to this line, each hand numbered limited edition release will come fitted in a specially designed, bottom loading VHS inspired slipcase, while also including a double-sided poster.

These releases will ONLY be available on our website and at participating indie retailers. Absolutely no major retailers will be stocking them. This slipcase edition (designed by Tony Stella) is strictly limited to 5,000 units and may (but probably not) be followed by a standard edition in the future.


Yau Sui is an arrogant firefighter working at a tight-knit Hong Kong fire station where he and his fellow firefighters believe their station is cursed due to the constant hardships they must face. Yau Sui struggles with trying to rise in the ranks of his department and his skill as a leader becomes challenged when a new senior officer is transferred to their station. In the meantime, Yau Sui sparks a relationship with a troubled doctor and he, like the rest of his fellow firefighters, struggles to maintain a balance between his personal and professional life. However, the drama comes to a head when a catastrophic five-alarm fire in a chemical plant forces Yau Sui and the other firefighters to put aside their differences and work together in an attempt to break their station's curse.

LIFELINE, described by many as Hong Kong's answer to Backdraft, is masterfully directed by one of Hong Kong's most celebrated filmmakers, Johnnie To (The Heroic Trio, PTU). Focussing heavily on the personal lives of the characters, the film succeeds by not only being a strong study of the hardships firefighters must endure, but by also delivering intense stunt-filled action sequences, culminating in a nearly 45-minute non-stop climactic fire sequence. Vinegar Syndrome Archive is proud to present LIFELINE on 4K UHD for the first time, newly restored from the original camera negative, featuring beautifully photographed and pulse-pounding fire sequences unlike any you've seen before.

directed by: Johnnie To
starring: Ching Wan Lau, Alex Fong, Carman Lee, Ruby Wong, Raymond Ho-Yin Wong
1997 / 110 min / 1.85:1 / Cantonese Mono & Stereo

Additional info:

  • 2-disc Set: 4K Ultra HD / Region A Blu-ray
  • 4K UHD presented in High-Dynamic-Range
  • Newly scanned & restored in 4K from its 35mm original camera negative
  • Presented with the following sound options: original Cantonese mono theatrical soundtrack with newly translated English subtitles, Cantonese stereo ‘home video’ remixed soundtrack, Mandarin language dub soundtrack and a commentary track with martial arts film expert Frank Djeng
  • Brand new interview with director Johnnie To (27 min)
  • Brand new interview with special effects artist Chi Shui-Tim (10 min)
  • Johnnie To in the 1990s - a video essay by film historian Samm Deighan (18 min)
  • Archival Making-of Documentary (15 min)
  • Archival interview with director Johnnie To (4 min)
  • Archival interview with actress Ruby Wong (3 min)
  • Archival interview with actor Raymond Ho-Yin Wong (2 min)
  • Original trailer
  • 28-page booklet with an essay by film critic Sean Gilman
  • 16.5 x 22” double-sided full-color poster
  • Reversible sleeve artwork
  • Newly translated English subtitles