Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
Actors: Chien Sun, Sheng Chiang, Feng Lu, Philip Kwok, Meng Lo
Director: Cheh Chang
Genres: Action & Adventure, Indie & Art House
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It's the North vs. the South in who has the best Shaolin mar
Dennis A. Amith (kndy) | California | 06/16/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The Shaw Brothers, the company known for their many releases of Hong Kong films for many decades ran by producer Sir Run Run Shaw, knighted by the British government and founder of Shaw University in Hong Kong and even founded the HK-TVB TV network was a major power behind the company and his third brother Runme Shaw (who founded South Sea Film), the film company would become known as Shaw Brothers Studio and become the first studio to bring Hong Kong cinema with sound in 1934.
The Shaw Brothers have created over a thousand films and with several having been aired on US television and some being released on video, the 1978 film "Nan Shao Lin yu bei Shao Lin" (Invincible Shaolin) is directed by Chang Cheh (known for the film "Chinese Super Ninjas", "Five Venoms", The Brave Archer" and "The One-Armed Swordsman), the Shaw Brothers Studio's most well-known filmmaker.
The film is one of Chang Cheh's tales of Shaolin rivalries during the Qing Dynasty. The film revolves upon an evil warlord named General Pu (played by Lung Wei Wang) and his goal to rid of the Qing Empire's Shaolin Masters. So, he invites three well-known Shaolin martial artists to fight and become his instructors.
Su Fong (played by Chien Sun) is known for his whirlwind kick (one kick can kill a man), Pao Sen Tsao (Feng Lu) can kill with a punch using Chin Kan Palm and the youngest of the group Yang Chung Fei (played by Sheng Chiang) who has mastered the Butterfly Pole and another martial art to easily evade attacks and jump fluidly. The three are from the Shaolin martial artists from the North.
General Pu and his assistant have the three compete against three martial artists from the South. The Northern trio easily defeat the three from the South and are spared from any killing. But secretly General Pu comes to visit the losing team and with one hit to each person, kills them.
The three from the North are told that their battle has killed the three from the South and they are shocked. They feel they may have mistook their own power or perhaps they are being framed for the murders.
The Southern Shaolin School mourns the death of three of their students and another three are sent to fight the Northern trio. This time, two are killed in battle and one escapes to tell his teacher of their techniques and how they are not prepared to fight with them.
Wanting revenge, the teacher of the Southern Shaolin School gets three of his top students to learn Southern Shaolin counter attacks to fight the Northern trio. Ho Ying Wu (played by Phillip Kwong) trains to master the Fishtail Pole to counter Yang Chung Fei's Butterfly Pole attack. Chu (played by Meng Lo) trains to learn the Mantis to counter Pao Sen Tsao's Chin Kan Palm and Mai Fong (played by Pai Wei) learns Wing Chun to fight Su Fong's Whirlwind Kick.
Despite the Northern trio knowing something is amiss and aware that possibly the General or his assistant is responsible for the things that have taken place, the Southern Shaolin trio train their hardest to prepare for their fight to the death against the Northern trio.
So far, each Shaw Brothers release that FUNimation Entertainment has looked quite solid. Thanks to Celestial Pictures going through major remastering and restoration for many of the Shaw Bros. films, "Invincible Shaolin" looks very good. I saw no major blemishes, the film doesn't look aged and for the most part, the fact that this film is over 30-years-old, the PQ for the film is pretty good on DVD.
AUDIO & SUBTITLES:
As for audio, the film is presented in English Dolby Digital stereo and Mandarin Mono. Personally, having endured these Shaw films with the terrible (yet humorous) English dubs back in the late '70s and early '80s, just watching it again with the English dub just didn't make sense anymore (unless you get a kick of how bad they were acted). So, watching it with the Mandarin mono track was my choice and preference.
I felt the English stereo soundtrack was OK but felt the Mandarin mono to be much better. For listening, I had my receiver set for stereo on all channels for a more immersive soundtrack. Some may be wondering why the film is presented in Mandarin when Hong Kong films are typically in Cantonese. The Shaw Brothers Studio had films split into Mandarin and Cantonese.
"Invincible Shaolin" comes with no special features.
The "Invincible Shaolin" DVD comes with a slip cover.
When it comes to Shaw Bros. films, one of my favorite storylines is when they tend to show the good guys being manipulated by someone evil and then we are introduced to another set of good guys and thus we are watching a film where we end up watching people on the same side fighting to the death.
"Invincible Shaolin" is one of those films. For the first half, we are rooting for the Northern Shaolin trio as they are being manipulated by General Pu and then the film suddenly switches to the new Southern trio who constantly train themselves for months in order to counter the Northern Shaolin martial artists' attacks.
Needless to say, this film thrives on martial arts choreography. Showcasing offense and defense and your emotions are literally tied behind your back because you are rooting for both sides because they are the good guys but circumstances pit them against each other.
The fighting scenes are awesome and although there is some gory violence (ie. a person's ribs protruding out of his body after a fight or people getting impailed), it's not to the point where it's disgusting (bare in mind, this film was created in 1978, so special effects was not exactly that convincing back then for a Shaw Bros. film). Also, the innovative ways for the training of the Southern Shaolin students is pretty cool and it's quite interesting to see the three develop counterattacks against the Northern Shaolin techniques!
The film is literally a martial arts fight fest. There are romantic angles with the Northern trio finding love but the women don't play a major role in the film, their presence is merely setting up the plot that leads to the North vs. South in battle and more for comedy to breakaway during the training of the Southern martial arts students.
Continuing with the restoration of the Shaw Bros. films courtesy of Celestial, this latest FUNimation release looks very good for a film that is over 30-years-old and once again ,we do get the original Chinese Mandarin track and even the horrid original English dubbing that I'm sure many people still enjoy after all these years for these Shaw Bros. films.
Overall, if you are looking for a Shaw Bros. film that is straight-up mostly all action or dedicated to the training of martial arts, "Invincible Shaolin" is definitely recommended!"
68gmc | Hill-Billy Hell, Missouri USA | 09/18/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is a very good movie.. Has a great story line threw the movie..
And yes some very good fights in it.. This movie has English language audio.. The dvd case lists it on the back as english subtitles but its not.. I have this movie and it is a arse kicking fest so set back and enjoy the butt kicking..