Outlaws of the Marsh/ The Water Margin
William D. Middleton | Rochester NY | 11/11/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This film is a brief out take from the Chinese classic Outlaws of the Marsh, reprotedly carried by Chairman Mao throughout his heroic stuggles against fascism. The original story was written in the 14th Century and has been an onging source of inspiration to Chinese literary creativity ever since. The Original story has so many sub plots and charaters that I think it might classify as the first soap opera, and even in this highly slimmed-down version, is top heavy with individual characters that are either insufficiently developed or not developed at all. But If you are familiar with the original story, this won't be a problem. If you aren't, it will be confusing, but, I think, if you like the martial arts-swordsman-knightly honor genre, or just plain action, I think that won't be a barrier. The sound track is funny, reminding me of Sergio Leone and his Clint Eastwood movies. It is a very enjoyable movie to those not cloned from the Hollywood short-attention span generation. If you are a boingo, this movie will seem very confusing."
108 HEROES=2 HOUR EXTRAVAGNAZA
(5 out of 5 stars)
"this movie is one of chang cheh's crowning achievements and check this it has very little action in it. it has some in near the beginning and at the very end but thats it. but what makes this movie so great is the nicknames of the heroes and the storyline. names like "the rash", "black whirlwind" etc. and the story is execellent kind of long but easy to explain and this the uncut version from yes folks CELESTIAL PICTURES. precisely 2 hours 5 minutes long with the original mandarin soundtrack in either 5.1 or 2.0 but there is no english soundtrack and english subtitles. this dvd comes with some great features that includes a extended love scene with some nudity, interviews with stars david chiang and ti lung, trailers for the currently released image entertainment and celestial pictures releases, and chang cheh featurette with interviews with the legendary jimmy wang yu, lo mang, david chiang, ti lung, john woo and others. so pick this up if you see it in stores. not the seven blows of the dragon choppily edited warner bros. american version we got but not now we got the original uncut version."
Not one of the greatest action movies but still very good
morgoth | omaha, NE | 01/05/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"'The Water Margin' is a movie based on a famous Chinese novel. This movie is taken from chapters of the book and made into a movie version from the great Chang Cheh. It is really the 2 great Japanese actors that stand out in this movie for me. One playing a lead and another is a supporting character. Though they play Chinese characters it definately helped elavate this movie. David Chiang I thought was miscast as the wrestler but he is still always great to watch. Fan Mei-Sheng is funny and fun to watch playing the Black Whirwind. Wang Chung was my favorite character by far. Although this movie does not even come close to featuring some of the greatest action sequences ever but for 1972 it is not too bad. The story can be a bit boring at times but the sets are great, the acting is superb, and even the stock music is very well applied. The open field battle at the end is great for it's time and helps to finish off a very good movie.
I am not Chinese and I have not read the book this is based on. Still, it is very well done story, but I would only give this movie a 3.5/5. If I had read the book, I have heard that this movie would be MUCH better. I plan on seeing the sequel to this movie-'All Men Are Brothers' which I have heard features Bolo and Fan Mei wrestling. That to me is a must see.
This DVD release from Image Entertainment is great. The subtitles are half way in the black bar on the bottom and half way in the movie. Not a big distraction but the IVL version actually got this right and has the subs only in the black bars, the way it should have been presented. Not a big deal though. The movie is beautifully remastered in picture and sound though it does not have an English track. Special Features include interviews with Ti Lung and David Chiang and a tribute to Chang Cheh."
Where's the other opening credits theme music?
Low-Ranking Reviewer | US of A | 07/26/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This was one of my favorites as a kid, and to this day it still holds a special place in my martial arts film collection. I though it was a colorful, fun, epic film then and it still holds up fairly well today. The fighting is not that good or plentiful, even for an early 70's film it lacks in this area; and it's also mainly army vs army as opposed to individual kung fu fights. If you watch this, the interest lies more in its story, characters, actors, situations, and pageantry rather than the martial arts action(but there is enough of that if you don't expect or demand wall-to-wall fights).
However, the vhs version i saw as a kid was called SEVEN BLOWS OF THE DRAGON and featured(during the opening credits) a fantastic, rousing, catchy, asian-sounding theme music. The opening credits to the uncut, original language version DOES NOT have that theme music. To me, this aspect was VERY disappointing. There is no option to hear that theme music anywhere on the disc. I was really hoping to hear it on my theater system with digital quality. In its place is music that sounds like some 70's progressive rock band got a hold of it and went off on the keyboards. Needless to say my vhs version will be held onto.
Anyway, the dvd is still worth picking up obviously. You get the original uncut version in beautiful widescreen, english subtitles option, a couple of interviews and a featurette on the director. Plus, almost 25 trailers(!) of other martial arts releases. I got my dvd copy on sale at amazon for under $8, but the usual $13 asking price is worth it too. Depends on how much you would miss that 'Seven Blows of the Dragon' theme i guess..."