Blu Ray Release: March 1, 2016
Review by James Klein
It was only a matter of time that a trailer compilation of some of the best and strangest martial arts films ever to be released would make their way to blu ray. For those who enjoyed Synapses’s 42nd Street Forever or Intervision’s Grindhouse Trailer Classics, this compilation is a must own.
Running at over two hours, this trailer compilation will please fans of the genre because the trailer selection is more obscure and lesser known than say a compilation of just Bruce Lee and Jackie Chan trailers (there are only one from each of them). No, with this compilation you get Kung Fu vs Yoga, Daggers 8, Chinese Kung Fu Against Godfather, Bruce’s Deadly Fingers, and Shaolin Wooden Men. Needless to say, there are a lot of kung fu films I have never even seen or heard of. Each trailer opened up my eyes to a whole world of Chinese martial arts films between the years 1972 – 1983 that I never knew existed.
As one would expect, the picture and audio quality for these trailers range from decent to downright poor. Many have scratches and dirt and have been run through several projectors over the years so don’t expect perfection. The audio for these trailers is in the original language (in most cases) with English subtitles. I was happy to see that most of these trailers were not some butchered American trailer with a different title tagged on.
The special feature’s may not be much but they are pretty interesting. There is A Brief History of Kung Fu which is a featurette with kung fu film enthusiasts Ric Meyers and Frank Djeng. Both men are very knowledgable in the field of martial arts and while they come across as complete film geeks, they are a lot of fun to listen to. Meyers returns along with several other guests in the audio commentary which I really loved. While the men discussed each film at great lengths, there are some interesting stories that I had never heard before such as Sammo Hung fighting Bruce Lee when they first met, Jimmy Wang Yu’s pompous attitude towards his fellow actors, and Carter Wong’s inability to stop from actually hitting the stunt men in his films. The last bit of special feature is a rather brief glimpse at finding the 35 mm trailers used for this blu ray. This could have been longer and maybe more in depth but it’s still a fine bonus to have on the blu ray.
Growing up on Kung Fu Theater back in the 80’s when USA Network would show a chop socky film on Sunday afternoons, this was a bit of a trip down memory lane. I loved watching kung fu films as a kid and still do. The trailer compilation will make you wanna search out for some of these titles and also watch a couple you may haven’t seen in awhile.
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