Four stars for the film, zero for the DVD itself...
Chet L. Young | 04/22/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I was so glad to hear that select Shaw Brothers kung-fu films were being released on DVD in the United States...until I got my copy of "Have Sword, Will Travel" and the disc started jittering near the end of the movie (specifically, during the scene in which Ku Feng prepares his gang of bandits to attack Ching Miao's caravan as it passes by the old temple). The sound remained intact, but the picture was jerky and unsteady, and--worst of all--it affected the first two or three minutes of the final fight scene. I sent the DVD back and got another copy, only to find that the same error existed in the same exact spot on the new disc.
This has occurred on three different DVD players. Has anyone else gotten a defective copy of "Have Sword, Will Travel"?
Image Entertainment finally gets it right
Michael W. Jaworski | Fairfield, NJ USA | 03/17/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"First off, I've been a huge martial arts movie fan in general, and a Shaw Brothers fan in particular since I was a kid when I used to watch Drive-In Movie on Saturday afternoon. All I can say is God bless Image Entertainment. Getting your hands on decent versions of Shaw Brothers' classics in the past were very frustrating. Celestial Pictures (thanks to Vee King Shaw) made the right move totally restoring these classics. Unfortunately, they were only Region 3 and could only be bought through a HK website. I know Red Sun was doing a great job at restoring and releasing SB flicks (just ask the Morgoth dude), but I could never find them. Now we have Image, yes!
The movie itself is the second film the godfather of HK cinema, Chang Cheh, made with his "first team", which mainly consisted of Ti Lung & David Chiang. It's the usual Chang classic involving brotherhood, intrigue, honor, bloodshed (lots of it), chivalry and redemption. I'm not going to go into the plot because it's already given in the editorial review & product description. Let me just say that it's a period piece, and the choreography is old-school. The choreography isn't bad, but it lacks the finesse of Bruce Lee (who came later), and it lacks the quickness and precision of the Venoms, Jackie Chan, Samo Hung or Jet Li. So what, it's a great film.
Now as for the DVD, crystal clear picture - really shows the glossy SB cinematography, perfect widescreen, original Mandarin language track and remastered subtitles. If you like Chang Cheh, Shaw Brothers and old-school fu (like me) get this. This is definitely the way these films should be seen. That goes for "The Wandering Swordsman", "The Water Margin" & "Legendary Weapons of China". I'm sure the Morgoth dude concurs."
David Chiang and Chang Cheh in above average form...
D. Wilson | NY by way of Cali | 10/18/2007
(3 out of 5 stars)
"I struggled with the decision to even write this review... the fact that it almost feels sacriligious to rate such a highly respected Shaw Brothers film with 3 stars, not to mention all of the well-written positive reviews for it already make it even harder to explain my viewpoint. For me this was just a good swordplay film, none of the characters are very likeable or memorable (although I thought the henchman known as "The Pestilence" was cool) including our leading man who is the type of character who refuses a piece of silver because of his pride but instead is willing to sell the horse he loves (not that way!) for next to nothing (all while wearing a bow on his forehead)? David Chiang became a huge star for Shaw Bros. pictures after this but I've never really been completely sold on him as a lead, which probably helps explain why I thought the film was just decent. The fighting is far from impressive here and normally deteriorates into semi-organized chaos with Chiang leading the way flailing around with even less style than the extras (if you thought Jimmy Wang Yu couldn't fight...). Chang Cheh still manages to make it a worthwhile time and breaks out the trampoline jumps (that characters often use to enter an exit scenes) and buckets of red paint (err, blood I mean) for the big finale. I think 3 stars fits this movie perfectly as it's not bad but never really leaves much of an impression either (especially compared to his best like The One-Armed Swordsman, Chinese Super Ninjas, and 5 Deadly Venoms). "Have Sword, Will Travel"... great title, okay movie."
A bloody masterpiece from Chang Cheh
morgoth | omaha, NE | 07/16/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"David Chiang stars as a wandering swordsman who is looking for a job. Ti Lung sees him with a gang called the Flying Tigers and assumes that he must be a bandit too. Ti Lung and his girlfriend have to help escort a large shipment of money and he fears that David Chiang is going to rob them. Ti Lung's girlfriend realizes this is not the case, and looks to become friends with Chiang. You can tell she falls for him, and the love part of the story is very well done. She wants Chiang to help escort the money, and Chiang agrees. This of course causes problems between Ti Lung and Chiang. Ku Feng is the leader of the Flying Tigers and is looking to rob the trio and Chen Sing and Wang Chung star as his 2 top fighters.
The fights are all brief, until the heist takes place. There is blood galore and the action is fantastic, and for 1969, you won't find much better action than this. The action is great, but there is a lot more thought put into the characters and story than most Chang Cheh movies. This is a very well rounded movie, and one of Chang Cheh's best.
Picture and sound quality are perfect. Subtitles are very well written.