Good movie, AWESOME special features, dual languages, and en
morgoth | omaha, NE | 04/18/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Alexander Fu Sheng plays Fong Sai Yuk and Chen Kuan Tai plays Hung Si Kuan in this Shaw Brothers classic. This is one of Chang Cheh's Shaolin Temple movies that he made in Taiwan (funded by the Shaw Brothers). I would say that this is somewhat of a minor Shaw production. When I say minor, I mean for 1974. By this time Shaw Brothers were very well known for having beautiful sets and stunning outdoor cinematography. Those elements are here, but the story is pretty simple. I can't complain though about the story being simple, because a lot of Shaw movies are too complicated.
The directing job by Chang Cheh is great and in the final battle he uses a cool technique filtering the picture red when someone dies. It's a very nice visual treat. The main villain Zhu Mu is slow and old, but it's hard to notice with all the other great kung fu going on. This was made in 1974, so the fighting isn't blazingly fast, but Chen Kuan Tai is a beast and there is some really good stuff going on in the long extended takes. It's a huge step up from basher movies that were being made at the same time. And I have to mention the theme song in this movie. It's so cool!
Since this is a 1974 Shaw Brothers movie, expect to see a ton of young actors that were just breaking into the film industry. Wong Ching (bucktooth guy in Shanghai 13), Hsu Hsia (does a wicked crane form in Hell'z Windstaff and was The Stick King in Drunken Master), Lee Hoi San, Lau Kar Wing, Tino Wong (snake fist fighter in Hitman in the Hand of Buddha), and Fung Hak-on in a somewhat forgettable role. It also stars Bruce Tong, Feng Yi (the fat Japanese guy with the sword in Bruce Lee's Chinese Connection), and I swear I spotted Kent Cheng, the fat guy who starred with Jet Li in Once Upon a Time in China and Bodyguard From Bejing. At exactly the 60:33 minute mark he can be seen.
Movie rating- 3.5/5
When I heard that Media Blasters (Tokyo Shock) was releasing this, I didn't really care. I've seen it a few times, and I had no desire to watch it again. But then I heard that Mike Leeder did a brand new interview with Chen Kuan Tai, and then I heard that Media Blasters was going to put in the Hung Fist Style intro as a special feature. And then the clincher, a commentary from kung fu movie expert Linn Haynes, the most knowledgable kung fu fan I have ever met. He doesn't just know oldschool, Shaw Brothers or moderns. He knows it all. This is the best commentary I have ever heard (no exaggeration), and I can't stand knowing that we will never be able to hear another commentary from Linn. He passed away right after he did the commentary. I have to admit I have tears in my eyes right now and this is not something I am going to be able to get over anytime soon. Not only was Linn the most knowledgable kung fu fan on this planet, he was the kindest person I have ever met on the internet (which is saying quite a lot if you take a look at the list of my awesome Amazon friends). RIP Linn. I miss you so much it hurts. You will never be forgotten.
Sound and picture quality are perfect and the interview with Chen Kuan Tai is great. I got everything I wanted with this DVD release, and more."