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Category:    Home > Reviews > Martial Arts Cycle > Prodigal Son (1983, DTS)

The Prodigal Son (1983, Fox DTS version)


Picture: B- ††††Sound: C+††† Extras: D ††††Film: B-



By the time the 1980ís came about the Martial Art/Kung Fu movement was nearly dead in terms of originality and very few films during that time period have lasted over the years due to being very forgettable in just about every aspect.However, as action films turned more into special effects, some of the better films were still being shot in China that incorporated all the old school methods of fighting.


1983ís The Prodigal Son is said to be director Sammo Hungís crowning achievement combining all the fun elements of cinema together for a great story, lots of action, comedy, and anything else along the way.The film works well, even after all these years, which is something to say since most films of this nature date very poorly.


Our story focuses on a spoiled kung fu champion, who does not even realize that his own father pays off his opponents, until one particular opponent refuses to lose to the ways of this young scoundrel (played by Yuen Biao).His new match (Lam Ching-ying) proves just how sad the fighter is as he is beaten easily.Upon his defeat he asks the new champ to train him so that he can really become a great fighter.The new champ is not quick to train him, but a series of events lead to them pairing up with many other adrenaline rush sequences all on the way as a few surprises come about.


Fox has issued this film to DVD in with some of their other Kung Fu movies, all of which are being remastered and with the inclusion of DTS for a second audio option to a 5.1 Dolby Digital mix.The film also contains both the English 5.1 mix and the Cantonese 5.1, but out of all the titles, for some reason the mix on this film is messed up really bad!The DTS mix brings it out even more, but the film is unbalanced and dialogue comes out the front left as if that channel is acting like the center speaker, this becomes quite annoying and makes the film almost impossible to watch this way because all the action and dialogue is off.


As far as the transfer goes, the film is presented in its scope 2.35 x 1 ratio with an anamorphically enhanced transfer, and while the film shows some age, it still looks good and demonstrates just why scope can look so good for staging fight scenes of this nature.The biggest drawback is the lack of detail from time to time and colors seem to shift or become muted way too often.The film should have a much brighter color scheme and not have the softness in the darker areas of the print, such as blacks or other dark colors.


The film contains no extras, but is a good recommendation to fans of the genre, unfortunately with this audio mix problem it makes it hard to push on someone since it becomes such a distraction.This is a mistake that even the most unaware person can pick up on and realize that something is wrong with the mix.Hopefully for future releases this will be taken care of.



-†† Nate Goss


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