W. LEE | poconos | 09/05/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Every action film studio has made money off of Bruce, mostly with little taste. Goodtimes Video compiled alot of behind the scenes footage, and includes the behind the scenes featurette from "Enter the Dragon". Of special interest are the multitude of trailers from long forgotten kung fu classics. Most of which I saw during their original release(s) in the 1970's. Great for your collection, but not a film devoted entirely to Bruce Lee. Highly recommended. Enjoy."
Great Kung Fu compliation for the price
Danno | NY, NY | 06/06/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Goodtimes Video released several movie trailer compilations in the 1980s that are just now being rereleased on DVD. "Bruce Lee and Kung Fu Mania" is one of them. Like the other compliations, this one starts off resembling a documentary but quickly turns into what it is - a collection of dozens of movie trailers. This time around, the focus is on Bruce Lee and his imitators and followers from the early 1970s.
There's ample footage from both "Fist of Fury" and "Chinese Connection" since those films are in the public domain. "Return of the Dragon" is represented by a movie trailer and "Enter the Dragon" is represented by a very grainy publicity film. There's also the trailer to the "Green Hornet" compliation of TV episodes. From that point on, we see a dizzying array of trailers (mostly in their entirety)which range from rather tacky tasteless films that exploited Bruce's death (such as "Bruce Lee Fights Beyond the Grave")to some classy work totally unrelated to Bruce Lee (such as "Five Deadly Venoms"). After roughly an hour of trailers, the DVD ends quite suddenly and the credits roll.
Video quality is mostly acceptable. Most of the films here were cranked out quickly by the Shaw Brothers or Harvest in the 1970s and were shown in American drive-ins or late-night TV, and have accordingly heavy grain and a mono soundtrack. Better quality versions of the footage here does exist (just look at the special editions of "Enter the Dragon" for example) but this video isn't really intended for the serious collector. Rather, this is a fun video for fans with a relatively casual interest in 1970s martial arts movies. Purchase it with that in mind and you will not be disappointed."
Why you never see a good martial arts fight compilation DVD/
C. Taylor | 04/11/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"A decade ago a company named Saturn Video released a tape called "The Greatest Kung Fu Fights of All Time" [ or something close to that title. ] The problem was that none of the fights on that video were any good, or even from any movie that any Martial Arts buff had ever heard of. You see, Saturn Video had originally been a distributor of cheap low budget independent films on home video, back when the major Hollywood studios were still not releasing their movies on VHS. They would sell these forgettable films to video rental shops that needed new tapes to rent. There were many companies like this back in the early 80's, but then companies like Warner Brothers, CBS/FOX, Embassy, and MGM/UA began releasing well known hit movies and drove the independent home video companies out of business.
The shame is that many of these original companies who were unable to buy the rights to major Hollywood movies would often buy the rights to foreign films, many of those martial arts movies. Some companies went out of their way to get the rights to classic martial arts movies, while others simply bought the rights to the cheapest films they could get their hands on. When the major home video companies began driving the smaller companies out of business, some decided to exclusively put out Martial Arts movies, something that the major companies were just barely doing, and find a niche in the market they could survive in. The two that survived were Saturn Video and Master Arts, but the movies they offered ranged from slightly entertaining pot boilers to the incredibly bad. The closest thing to a classic martial arts movie that Saturn ever released was "Master With Cracked Fingers", an unfinished movie from 1970 that featured Jackie Chan, and had new footage using a double added years later when Jackie became a superstar.
Since Saturn only had the rights to the movies in their catalog, they could only edit fight sequences off of the movies they already released. The same was true for any video company releasing any "Best of..." fight tape. There were some that came close to offering a tape with all the classics. Hong Kong based Ocean Shores had the rights to several good independent Hong Kong movies and was able to put out a very decent compilation tape called "This is Kung Fu", while Golden Harvest studios put together a compilation of fight scenes from their own movies called "The Deadliest Art". But here lies the problem. There are several rival Hong Kong movie studios that will not allow each other to use footage from each others movies to put out their own compilation tape. An independent home video company could buy the rights to show fight scenes from all of these studios, but it would be very expensive.
This brings us to Good Times Home Video. They were another one of those early 80's home video companies, only their strategy of survival was to save money by taping in LP mode and begin releasing tapes in stores for $10. [ Major Hollywood releases would cost around $75-$95 ] Good Times never passed up a chance to release anything that they believed was in the Public Domain, and it occurred to them that no one bothered to renew the copyrights to the trailers of hundreds of martial arts movies, and those trailers always featured the best fight sequences. Here was a way to put out a compilation tape that featured fight scenes from nearly every major HK studio, and covered many classic martial arts movies [ and some not so classic ]. They even were able to add a short promotional movie from the "Enter the Dragon" press kit. For the first time there was a compilation tape that had movie clips from both Golden Harvest and Shaw Brothers studios.
Not too long after this tape was released it was pulled. From what I understand, Shaw Brothers studios lawyers got ahold of Good Times threatening a lawsuit. I have no idea if the DVD release is the same collection of movie trailers as the original VHS release 10 years ago, but if it is then it is well worth owning. A great time capsule into the 1970's when the Kung Fu craze hit the United States and these movies were being introduced to American audiences for the first time."
Mo Lindsey | Newark, New Jersey United States | 05/28/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"If you are a fan of Bruce Lee and the kung fu films from the 1970's then you will enjoy "Bruce Lee & Kung Fu Mania". This DVD contains over an hours worth of the trailers/coming attractions that you've probably seen at one of those movie theatres that has featured these films.
It starts off with an intro that features quick clips from fight scenes of Bruce Lee's and other kung fu films put together in music video style set to the song "Kung Fu Fighting". Then after a shortened look back at Bruce Lee's career , life , and some of his movie trailers (including a commercial for "The Green Hornet" tv show) we go into the long row of 1970 kung fu trailers that make up just about the majority of this DVD. Features trailers of some of the Bruce Lee exploitation films like "Bruce Lee Fights Back From The Grave" and "Bruce Lee:His Last Days" (entertaining but oh so inaccurate that its shameful) to trailers of kung fu classics like "Five Deadly Venoms" , "Flying Guillotine" , "The Deadly Angels" , "10 Tigers of Kwangtung" , "5 Masters of Death" , "The Kid with The Golden Arm" , "Deep Thrust" ,"When Tae Kwon Do Strikes" and "The Executioners of Death".
Some of these trailers might make you laugh because of the cheesey 70's retro style and low-budget quality in which they were made while some trailers actually have very nice film artistry and fight choreography to them.
The whole production looks as if it was quickly pieced together but if you liked these films then you won't mind the level of quality on the DVD but its the reason why I gave it 4 stars instead of 5."