John Kreng looks at the new blu-ray release ‘Kung-Fu Trailers of Fury‘ and finds its a contradictory mess: on one hand a great collection, but ultimately tainted by inadequate research…
RATING: Not Rated
LANGUAGE: Various (English, Cantonese, Mandarin)
ASPECT RATIO: Various
DISTRIBUTOR: Severin Films
REGION: Region Free
SRP: $20 Blu-Ray/ $18 DVD
Over the decades, there have been quite a few compilations of classic grindhouse movie trailers on VHS, DVD, and now Blu-Ray. For those of you who have never experienced going to ‘Grindhouse’ or ‘Chinese First Run’ theaters, this can can be the closest experience you might have to it – minus the cheap creaky seats, sticky floors (sorry, but saat kei ma 薩其馬 aka soft flour cakes, dried shredded cuttle fish, prawn crackers and coconut soda are not included in the price of the DVD or Blu-Ray!).
All the trailers here are, for better or worse, in their original widescreen formats. The trailers have been scanned in 2k resolution, however they have not been remastered. They still have scratches, color washout, and dirt on the picture – as well as audio pops and some leveling issues. They DO have added English subtitles in many places where the original trailer did not have any. To that extent the trailers are in fair to good condition considering considering their age.
Here is the list of trailers on the single Blu-Ray disc.
Ways of Kung Fu, Fists of Bruce Lee, Kung Fu vs. Yoga, Death Blow, Two Champions of Shaolin, Golden Dragon, Silver Snake Daggers 8, Secret of the Shaolin Poles, The Happening, Snake in the Eagle’s Shadow,Story of the Drunken Master , Chinese Kung Fu Against Godfather, The Invincible Swordsman, Return of Bruce, Bruce Le’s Greatest Revenge, Shaolin Iron Claws, Fast Fingers, My Kung Fu 12 Kicks, Brutal Boxer, Blacklist, The Damned, Bruce’s Deadly Fingers, One Armed Chivalry Fights Against One Armed Chivalry, Way of the Dragon (UK Trailer, incomplete abruptly ends), Hong Kong Connection, Chinese Kung Fu, 18 Shaolin Disciples, The Blazing Temple, Shaolin Wooden Men and The Magnificent Boxer
There are also a set of special features:
- A Brief History of Kung Fu Cinema: Ric Myers and Frank Djeng discuss the history of Kung Fu cinema. What they discuss is an overall history of the genre. Djeng does share some things that only hard core Cantonese speaking movie fans would know.
- Way of the Cube: a brief history of how the trailers were found and used for various shows and events over the years and how it finally came onto Blu-Ray.
- Audio Commentary: The audio commentary is shared by Michael Worth, Rick Stelow, and mainly dominated by Martial Arts Movie Historian, Ric Myers. The commentary is non-stop and the chemistry with everyone is lively and moves along very quickly.
I truly respect Mr. Myers for being one of the first western journalists to discuss Kung Fu movies and review them in martial arts publications in the 70s and 80s, but unfortunately he has not caught up with the times and tends to often talk without checking the facts. Being a native Chinese speaker, his butchering of the names was much like “nails to a chalkboard.” Meyers constantly spews a revolving door of inaccurate facts such as…
#1-“Shaw Brothers never gave women a chance to be the lead in films…” The reality is the Shaw Brothers were dominated by female stars in the 50s and 60s and had an abundance of lady action stars that dominated the box office – such as Chang Pei-Pei, Kara Hui Ying Hung, Lily Ho, Shih Szu. Myers then contradicts himself in the feaurtette ‘A Brief History of Kung Fu movies‘ (also on this blu-ray) where he notes kung fu cinema was mainly ruled by women before Chang Cheh started making movies at Shaw Brothers!
#2- “Ti Lung did not have any prior martial arts training before getting into movies. He was just a dancer and an actor.” The truth is Ti Lung was a Wing Chun practitioner before he started working at Shaw Brothers!
Mr. Myers errors on this blu-ray can take up several more pages. What he states as facts are borderline false rumors. In my opinion, as a film historian, regardless of doing the service of collecting interesting material together, Myers has done a real disservice to the the martial arts film genre in presenting it so inaccurately. In comparison, the comments by Michael Worth (filmmaker and author of ‘The Bruceploitation Bible‘) and Rick Stelow (tv show editor and owner of Drunkenmaster.tv) were well researched and lively… when they can get a word in edgewise.
In closing, the trailers found in this compilation are classic and many you might not be able to find elsewhere. Despite what I mentioned about the problems concerning the audio commentary, this disc could be highly recommended on just the trailers compilation alone. On that level it is a must have for Grindhouse and Kung Fu movie fans! (And rumor has it that Severin Films will come out with a sequel to this compilation with more rare kung fu movie trailers. More reasons to celebrate!!!)