Search - Kung Fu: The Complete Third Season on DVD

Kung Fu: The Complete Third Season
Kung Fu The Complete Third Season
Actors: David Carradine, Anthony Zerbe, Cal Bellini, George DiCenzo, Keye Luke
Directors: David Carradine, Alex Beaton, Barry Crane, Gordon Hessler, Harry Harris
Genres: Action & Adventure, Westerns, Drama, Television
NR     2005     20hr 21min

He is a man of peace in a violent land. He is Kwai Chang Caine, schooled in the spirit-mind-body ways of the Shaolin priesthood by the blind avuncular Master Po and the stern, yet loving, Master Kan. Caine speaks softly bu...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: David Carradine, Anthony Zerbe, Cal Bellini, George DiCenzo, Keye Luke
Directors: David Carradine, Alex Beaton, Barry Crane, Gordon Hessler, Harry Harris
Genres: Action & Adventure, Westerns, Drama, Television
Sub-Genres: Action & Adventure, Westerns, Drama, Drama
Studio: Warner Home Video
Format: DVD - Color - Closed-captioned,Subtitled
DVD Release Date: 08/23/2005
Original Release Date: 10/14/1972
Theatrical Release Date: 10/14/1972
Release Year: 2005
Run Time: 20hr 21min
Screens: Color
Number of Discs: 4
SwapaDVD Credits: 4
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 5
Edition: Box set
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English
Subtitles: English, Spanish, French

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Movie Reviews

Snatch the pebble from my hand...
D. James | Melbourne, Australia | 05/16/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)

"The third and final series of the greatest show of the '70's is coming! David Carradine unexpectedly walked out of the show at the end of this season, he's a man of many interests so he couldn't be tied down to the one show for too long. At least we have close to a hundred episodes of this tv classic as his legacy. These final episodes are:

1. "Cry of the Night Beast" (Prod #166251) October 19, 1974 - Caine hears a baby buffalo crying (supernaturally) and stops a hunter from killing its mother. But when mother and baby get separated, Caine must find a way to keep the baby alive until he can reunite them. This is connected in flashbacks to a connection the young Caine felt with an unborn baby.

2. "My Brother, My Executioner" (Prod #166252) October 12, 1974 - Caine tracks down Danny but doesn't get the kind of reception he expected from his brother. Soon thereafter a gunfighter arrives saying that this Danny Caine had been a very fast gunfighter with a different name just three years previously and he wants to see which one of them is faster.

3. "The Valley of Terror" (Prod #166253) September 28, 1974 - When Caine learns a young woman has visions of the signs of the dragon and the tiger that are burnt on his arms, he rescues her from those who are trying to return her to an insane asylum.

4. "A Small Beheading" (Prod #166254) September 21, 1974 - While he is working for a woman on a ranch near a coastal town, a sea captain (married to the sister of the Emperor's*1* nephew, whom Caine killed) delivers to Caine a pardon if he returns to China. The catch, according to the captain, is that Caine must allow the 'beheading' of the little finger of his right hand.

5. "The Predators" (Prod #166255) October 5, 1974 - Caine needs a man to return with him as a witness to the fact that he didn't kill a sheriff. But the witness is one of a gang of hunters seeking Apache scalps and an Apache, who Caine has befriended, has had a vision to kill the whole gang.

6. "The Vanishing Image" (Prod #166256) December 20, 1974 - Caine seeks out a dying photographer (Lew Ayres: nominated for an Emmy for the performance) who might be able to identify Danny in a group photograph. Meanwhile, Caine is tracked down by another Chinese assassin and the old man is tracked by an Indian who believes the camera has stolen his spirit.

7. "Blood of the Dragon", Part I & 2 (Prod #166257-8) September 14, 1974 - Caine shows up in Gurneyville, on the California coast, knowing (supernaturally?) that his grandfather died there the night before. As Caine tracks down what happened to his grandfather, he is being tracked by three agents of The Imperial Guards of the Dragon Throne's Order of the Avenging Dragon which needs to kill Caine to end the shame of having failed to protect the Emperor's nephew (showing that the hunt for Caine won't end with the Emperor's death in 1875*1* - though, the Dowager Empress*1* might have continued anyway).

8. "The Demon God" (Prod #166259) December 13, 1974 - In flashforwards Caine is stung by a scorpion and faces again a hallucination that he first experienced when, as a young student, he was poisoned by a Mandarin's son who wanted to learn from the temple student what awaited his dying father in the land of the dead.

9. "The Devil's Champion" (Prod #166260) November 8, 1974 - In China a strange challenger shows up at the temple gates to challenge Master Kan to ritual combat to the death. Caine, who is having visions, must find out who or what is behind the situation.

10. "The Garments of Rage (Prod #166261) November 1, 1974 - After the events in "The Demon God" (#47 the last episode set in the present), Caine is left battered with his clothes torn, and he is taken in by railroad workers. The railroad is being harassed by a Shaolin master who has also fled China. This former teacher offers Caine clothes that had belonged to his nephew who died in a railroad accident. (At first Caine refuses to wear the clothes which might symbolize that he would help sabotage the railroad, but later Caine accepts the clothes and wears them for the rest of the series).

11. "Besieged", Part 1: "Death on Cold Mountain" (Prod #166262) November 15, 1974 - In China Master Po and Caine are dispatched to rescue the survivors of another Shaolin temple which has been destroyed by the warlord Sing Lu Chan. One of the survivors happens to be a girl.

12. "Besieged", Part 2: "Cannon at the Gates" (Prod 166263) November 22, 1974 - In China Master Po and Caine are dispatched to rescue the survivors of another Shaolin temple which has been destroyed by the warlord Sing Lu Chan. One of the survivors happens to be a girl.

13. "A Lamb to the Slaughter" (Prod #166264) January 11, 1975 - Caine goes to a village on the coast of Mexico to pay a debt the priest owes to a man whose father died saving his father. But the only payment the man will accept is for Caine to teach him fighting/killing skills.

14. "One Step to Darkness" (Prod #166265) January 25, 1975 - Caine comes to the rescue of a woman and for his trouble is arrested by her army officer husband. The woman turns out to be addicted to a Chinese drug (opium?) and she introduces Caine to a mystical world where he meets a demon who claims the priest's life for a wish the very young Caine had made while sick with typhoid.

15. "The Thief of Chendo" (Prod #166266) March 29, 1975 - Master Po and the young Caine visualize what it will be like when Caine leaves the temple. The two imagine (?) in a 'flashforward' (?) that Caine, now a priest, has been sent to help a duke. The young priest "finds royalty everywhere" as he runs into a prince of thieves who wants to help a princess.

16. "Battle Hymn" (#166267) February 8, 1975 - While chasing Caine for the reward, a man falls from his horse and is killed. The useless death leads Caine to shaving his head. Then he undertakes to return the dead man's belongings including, it turns out, a treasure map to the man's wife in Sovalo. On the way he runs into a pair of traveling musicians who are going the same way.

17. "The Forbidden Kingdom" (Prod #166268) January 18, 1975 - While fleeing the Imperial troops after killing the royal nephew, Caine tries to escape into Tibet. And in the process he is helped, betrayed and loved by Po Li. (She was the mother of the son who turns up in the sequel movie of 1986 "Kung Fu: The Movie".)

18. "The Last Raid" (Prod # 166271) April 26, 1975 - On his way to Lordsville to answer a summons from Serenity Johnson (which he does in the following episode "Ambush" even though it seems "Ambush" was originally broadcast first), Caine visits old friends from "The Well" just as their son is kidnapped by former Confederate raiders who continue to fight the Civil War.

19. "Ambush" (Prod #166272) April 4, 1975 - Serenity Johnson from "Dark Angel" & "The Nature of Evil" sends for Caine and then lies about how sick he is to get the priest to help him claim a $2000 debt. While with Serenity in Arizona City, Caine is shown a poster with information on the whereabouts of his brother, Danny.

20. "Barbary House" (Prod #166269) February 15, 1975 - The poster from #58 "Ambush" leads Caine to an establishment outside San Francisco. Danny has left but the owner is holding Danny's son, Zeke, and Caine is forced to become a prize fighter to stay with his nephew. (This is the first of a four part story line.)
21. "Flight to Orion" (Prod #166270) February 22, 1975 - Caine, Zeke and Zeke's mother try to find Danny before the search party which plans to find/kill him for a $10,000 reward (strange how both brothers turn out to have the same price on their heads).

22. "The Brothers Caine" (Prod #166273) March 1, 1975 - Zeke sells himself to his grandfather so that he can acquire information to help Kwai Chang find and warn Danny. Meanwhile, Danny is told that Kwai Chang is an assassin hired to kill him.

23. "Full Circle" (Prod #166274) March 8 or 15, 1975 - Finally the journey ends but then again it doesn't and won't until, as Caine says, "it comes full circle at my death."


"Full Circle" for Caine as "Kung Fu" ends
Wayne Klein | My Little Blue Window, USA | 08/22/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Not every actor can walk away from a series at the height of its popularity. David Carradine walked off the set of the final episode of the 3rd season of "Kung Fu" and elected not to return for a variety of reasons. The series acted as a spring board for Carradine boosting him to roles such as Woody Gutherie in "Bound for Glory". This the third season of the series (and the last for the original series...we won't talk about the bad sequel series Carradine starred in during the 90's) allowed a sense of closure; Caine discovers the whereabouts of his half brother and is able to move into a new phase of his life during the last season.

Another excellent series of transfers from Warner Home Video demonstrates why Warner continues to set the pace when it comes to major studios releasing TV shows on DVD. Unlike Universal's releases ("McCloud", "Night Gallery") from the same time frame, "Kung Fu" actually comes with extras and has a superior transfer. There are occasional analog artifacts that probably occurred on the original negative or during the initial duping process otherwise the image quality of this terrific transfer. Not surprisingly most of the analog artifacts like dirt and hair are visible during the title sequence which was duplicated quite a few times. Likewise most of the issues with grain, color shift and other issues are during the title sequence. Colors are bright and vivid with the image quality being sharp for the most part. Occasionally the image does soften a bit but, on the whole, this is a superb job from Warner. As many fans of the series are aware Warner initially released the first season of "Kung Fu" in a 1.78:1 aspect ratio increasing the image are at the sides at the lopping off the images at the top and bottom. This was done to make the series compatible with 16x9 TVs. Fans let Warner know they weren't happy and Warner returned the series to its proper aspect ratio. The third season, like the second, is presented in the full screen 1.33:1 aspect ratio that it was broadcast in during the 70's. I don't recall the original run of the series so can't speak to whether or not any of these are syndicated versions but of the episodes I've watched and their length, makes it appear that these are the original broadcast versions.

The last season includes an excellent documentary on Carradine's return visit to China during the preparation for his participation in the boxed set DVD releases. His first visit was during the run of the TV series and this return visit provides a fascinating travelogue. Carradine goes with two of his friends Rob Moses (Carradine's Kung Fu trainer and a designer of marital arts weapons) and Jay Habakangas to the Emperor's Summer palace, visits a number of temples and Pagodas. They take the traditional tourist approach boarding buses, trams, etc. and get a taste of regal China. My favorite part (although it's not his) is when Rob Moses shows off some martial arts moves on a bridge in China during winter. He manages to pull a hamstring because he doesn't warm like he usually does. They continue their travels to the Shoalin Monastery in a remote part of China.

David Carradine provides two excellent commentary tracks full of trivia for two episodes providing trivia about each episode. I was greatly surprised at how well he recalled the making of various episodes.

Once again a top notch release from Warner Home Video. "Kung Fu: Season 3" features two commentary tracks by David Carradine, a documentary showcasing his return visit to China and features top notch transfers for each original broadcast length episode. Definitely worth a purchase for both fans and neophytes to the series although the slower pacing of the series might initially be off putting to fans used to rapid fire TV shows like "24", it certainly fits the mood of the series.
Poor follow-up to Greatness Grasshoper
S D'Anconia | Tokyo | 05/20/2006
(2 out of 5 stars)

"Season 1 and 2 are truly excellent representations of what television can be. Caine is rational man in an irrational world, purposeful & heroic. Sadly, the 3rd series becomes extremely mystical and delves into large amounts of superstition & pseudo-psycho babble. Gone are the profound stories dealing with racism, family, art, life, death, etc. They are replaced with ghosts, 2nd sight, an over indulgence in the past, and a general decline in the quality of the stories & themes. I still bought it and will finish the series but this set can't hold a candle to the first 2."
Out with a beacon of Glory
Greenfire | California | 09/13/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)

"It is with a hint of melancholy that this is the last of the seasons of this remarkable show for us to await. However, this final season fittingly ended at its very best, and what a wonderful legacy it was. On all points, this third season is superior to the previous two, not to say that the first two were not excellent. The direction, dialouge, acting, script, etc. is exemplary in each episode, and Carradine forever emblazons the unique character of Caine onto television history, indelibly recording his grace, wisdom, and strength into our conscioussness. Each episode is a wonderful story and experience forever encapsuled for us to revisit, and this final season reminds me with certainty why I considered this to be the finest production that ever has, and probably ever will, grace our television screens. Caine comes full circle, and does not fade away, but makes his exit in a beacon of glory, after leaving a trail of mended hearts, souls, and minds. Perfect."