Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
Actor: John Liu
Director: Ting Chung
Genres: Action & Adventure, Indie & Art House
Two-disc set includes subtitled version of kung fu classic
Brian Camp | Bronx, NY | 04/30/2005
(3 out of 5 stars)
"THE MARS VILLA (1978) is an old-school kung fu classic that offers a rousing showcase for both the acting and fighting talents of high kicker John Liu (SECRET RIVALS, INVINCIBLE ARMOR). The value of this edition is that it's a two-disc set with both an English-dubbed version and a Chinese-language version with English subtitles. The Chinese-language print is the superior one, transferred in its proper widescreen dimensions and boasting a sharp transfer and bright colors. The English dub is also letterboxed but not at the proper aspect ratio. The image on the dub is slightly squeezed and slightly cropped at top and bottom. It's a tad soft and the colors more muted. The subtitled version is the one to watch. Interestingly, there is no indication on Crash Cinema's DVD case that a second disc with the Chinese version is included. What a pleasant surprise this purchase turned out to be.
While the basic plot of MARS VILLA is a simple one of bad guys getting revenge on a hero who killed their family member, it has more interesting twists and turns than usual. The hero, Mar (Liu), is captured at the film's midway point and tortured. His beautiful wife is abducted and told her husband will be killed if she doesn't marry the handsome young villain (son of the crime boss killed in self-defense early in the film by Mar). She finally gives in and Mar, driven mad by the torture, is released. Eventually, the hero's sole surviving comrade (played by Chan Chia Kai), now in hiding, rescues Mar from the streets and nurses him back to health in time for the final set of battles.
The photography is quite good and benefits from picturesque Taiwan locations and historic sites including a sprawling temple with a giant golden Buddha. John Liu is as good here as we've ever seen him. Tang Bao Yun plays his suffering wife and the two have some moving, dramatic scenes together. Chan Chia Kai as the loyal sidekick is an effective fighter in his own right and future HK film director Tung Wei plays the handsome villain. (Tung and Chan co-choreographed the film's fight scenes.) Perennial kung fu villain Phillip Ko plays both the crime boss and his vengeful brother and has quite an intense battle with Liu and Chan at the end in which Mar demonstrates his revered "Magic Kick" technique.
The onscreen title on the English dub is "The Mar's Villa," while dropping the apostrophe and reading as "The Mars Villa" in the Chinese version's credits. The music score is a hodgepodge of well-known Hollywood soundtracks including HANG 'EM HIGH, THE MAN WITH THE GOLDEN GUN, and THE EXORCIST II.
Just a smidge above average kung fu flick
SLAVE | citrus heights,ca | 05/15/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This Crash Cinema version of Mars Villa is actually pretty good!
The picture does have some heavy scratches but they only appear
during the beginning credits and maybe a couple of other parts
of the film, but over all the picture is good for an old kung fu
film! This product has two DVD's! One is the widescreen english
version! And the other is the original language version in
widescreen! There is nothing wrong with the product! No hicups
no technical issues nothing!
I only review the quality of this product! How I feel about the
movie, I liked it but it's just an average film!"