The Return of Black Belt Theater....
skytwo | Boston | 04/05/2004
(2 out of 5 stars)
"Upon spotting a box set of four movies that retails for under ten dollars, anyone who knows his stuff should be hearing warning bells. Still, I couldn't resist taking the plunge. I knew the product would be shoddy. At the same time, there's a certain pitiful charm about it all.You'd be hard-pressed to find any information on the movies included-- they don't contain big stars, and the case itself provides no extra information. The presentation is bare-bones. 'Invincible Warriors' consists of two couble-sided DVDs, each side holidng a film.To anyone who fondly remembers catching obscure kung fu flicks on early cable or even earlier in late-night showings on local network affiliates, this could serve as a pleasant bit of nostalgia. Which is good and bad. The good news is that there are some genuinely impressive action sequences, and the costumes and sets are as cheesily 'exotic' as you remember. The downside is that it has all of the problems that made those movies so goofy (in their American TV incarnations) in the first place. The aspect ratio is hopelessly skewed, the prints are washed-out, the movies look like they were edited with a chainsaw, and the dubbing is atrocious.They can be fun, though, if you're in the right mood. These editions appear to be recently rediscovered leftovers from the vaults of some American TV station-- the fadeouts come with the regularity of commercial breaks (back then, it was thankfully only every twenty minutes or so), and make already weak stories close to comedically incomprehensible since they obviously remove entire scenes from the movie. The dubbing is tragically hilarious-- but there's something to be said for a Qing Dynasty magistrate who sounds like he grew up in rural Alabama.It's almost worth the price just to have something funny playing on the TV at your next party, or as something to enjoy on your own when you're in the mood for a movie experience that is 60% absurd, 30% look at what made the kung fu movie experience such a part of American pop culture back when the boom started in the 1970s, and 10% genuine entertainment. You'll have to determine your own "margin of utility.""