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Category:    Home > Reviews > Action > Science Fiction > Comedy > Korea > Religion > Satire > French > Martial Arts > China > Hong Kong > Alienoid (2022/Well Go Blu-ray)/Honk For Jesus. Save Your Soul. (2022/Universal Blu-ray)/Incredible But True (2022)/Shawscope Volume Two (1978 - 1993/Limited Edition Box Set with CDs/Both MVD/Arrow Bl

Alienoid (2022/Well Go Blu-ray)/Honk For Jesus. Save Your Soul. (2022/Universal Blu-ray)/Incredible But True (2022)/Shawscope Volume Two (1978 - 1993/Limited Edition Box Set with CDs/both MVD/Arrow Blu-ray releases)

Picture: B/B-/B-/B- Sound: B/B/B-/B- Extras: C-/C-/C+/A- Films: C+/C-/C+/B-

The following are all mostly comedies, sometimes where maybe they should not be, but we get a few classics here just the same....

Choi Dong-Hoon's Alienoid (2022) has a cover that makes you think it will be an outright sci-fi action thriller and the idea of a time door opening between now and the Goryeo Dynasty in the 1300s with parallel chases going on has potential. Unfortunately, it not only uses comedy, but too much of it, trying to be some kind of family film. This does not work.

In the moments it starts to work, it is constantly interrupted by too much comedy, bad pacing or other odd choices that throw the whole thing off. Maybe they should have watched some early Shaw brothers films to see how to do this with proper balance, but the comedy choices are a purely commercial move that really backfires. It was like trying to make more than one film at once, when they really needed to choose one type. Now you can see for yourself, but be warned that this one runs almost 2.5 hours!

Trailers are the only extra.

Adamma Ebo's Honk For Jesus. Save Your Soul. (2022) is a comedy about a Pastor (Sterling K. Brown) whose megachruch (they have 10,000+ people there) has to close because of a scandal. Can his wife (Regina Hall) find a way to get him to be forgiven and get their church back? Well, this is supposed to be a comedy and I did not laugh once. If anything, I was bored, felt it was predictable and never bought any of it after the first few minutes.

Of course, I may not be the audience for it and surprisingly, Jordan Peele produced it, apparently trying to branch out beyond the horror genre. It felt way too long at 103 minutes, but if you are very, very, very, very, very, very curious, you can try it. Just don't say I did not warn you.

Digital Code. Gag Reel, Deleted Scenes and an Alternate Opening are the only extras.

Quentin Dupieux's Incredible But True (2022) is the latest release form a director that has been talked up, but without explanation. In this one, a middle-aged couple (Alain Chabat, Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets) and Marie (Lea Drucker, War of the Worlds) buy a house they expect to make a happy home, but things take a strange turn when they find a hidden tunnel and their lives get twisted up a bit.

I will not be a spoiler, but it only did so much for me and the supporting cast was not bad, yet it is consistent in what it is trying to do. Whether it succeeds or not, the most curious should still give it a look. It is at least intelligent, but forgettable for me.

Extras include (per the press release) Cast and Director Interviews with Alain Chabat, Benoit Magimel and Quentin Dupieux
Upside Down, Inside Out, an appreciation of the films of Quentin Dupieux by critic Elena Lazic
• Trailer gallery
• Reversible sleeve featuring two choices of artwork

and FIRST PRESSING ONLY: Illustrated collector's booklet featuring new writing on the film by Anton Bitel and interviews with the cast, and reversible poster featuring two choices of artwork

Finally, Arrow follows their massive Shawscope box from last year with Shawscope Volume Two (1978 - 1993) in this also-massive Limited Edition box set release and films in the set this time are:

  • The 36th Chamber of Shaolin (1978)

  • Return To The 36th Chamber (1980)

  • Disciples Of The 36th Chamber (1985)

  • Mad Monkey Kung Fu (1979)

  • Five Superfighters (1979)

  • Kid With The Golden Arm (1979)

  • Invincible Shaolin (1978 aka Unbeatable Dragon)

  • Magnificent Ruffians (1979)

  • Ten Tigers Of Kwangtung (1980)

  • My Young Auntie (1978)

  • Mercenaries From Hong Kong (1982)

  • The Boxer's Omen (1983)

  • Martial Arts Of Shaolin (1986 with Jet Li!)

  • The Bare-Footed Kid (1993)

We previously reviewed three of the films on these long out of print DVD years ago at these links:

The 36th Chamber Of Shaolin + My Young Auntie (both 1978)


Disciples Of The 36th Chamber (1985)


The two Chamber sequels, later as they were, are not bad, while most of the films follow the same set-up of being set a couple centuries or so in the past to stick to all older weapons. Mercenaries is set in modern times and definitely has its moments, while Boxer's Omen tries to mix supernatural horror with martial arts with its ups and downs. At least they try to go into directions that are different, especially as the newer the film, the more comedy it usually tires to add, though some of the titles might sound sillier than some of them actually turn out to be. To save the genre, it had more comedy slipping into later films in the genre and not always for the best.

Needless to say The 36th Chamber Of Shaolin may be the most action-packed of them all and the others sometimes come close. When it comes to the martial arts genre of the time, either you like the films or you do not and I tend to enjoy them more than less. I do not know how they are choosing what films to include in these sets (some are being issued separately by the likes of 88 Films) or why some have not been issued yet (especially Super Inframan) but there are apparently plenty more, so we'll see more singles and sets soon. However, this is another remarkably loaded set that hardcore fans will want, especially before they go out of print with the extra goodies here. It is also a tribute to some very talented actors and martial artists who deserve to be discovered and rediscovered, especially since these films play much better than the many wanna bes we see today that wish they were as good.

Extras include (per the press release, et al):

Illustrated Hardcover 60-Page Collectors' Book featuring new writing by David Desser, Jonathan Clements, Lovely Jon and David West, plus cast and crew listings and notes on each film by Simon Abrams
● New artwork by Mike Lee-Graham, Chris Malbon, Kagan McLeod, Colin Murdoch, ''Kung Fu'' Bob O'Brien, Lucas Peverill, Ilan Sheady, Tony Stella, Darren Wheeling and Jolyon Yates
● Hours of never-before-seen bonus features including several cast and crew interviews from the Frederic Ambroisine Video Archive

Several exceptional feature length audio commentary tracks on select films (highly recommended after seeing the film it goes to on Kid, Omen, Tigers, Monkey, 36th Chamber), teasers and trailers from several countries of release, reissue trailers, Still Galleries including promo stills, lobby cards, video covers and posters.
● and Two CDs of music from the De Wolfe Music library as heard in several of the films, exclusive to this collection.

You can also read all about the original Volume One box at:


Now for playback performance. The 1080p 2.35 X 1 digital High Definition image on Alienoid is the best here by default, despite some bad CGI digital visual work and that some of the Shawscope films are better looking and were shot better. Likewise, the Korean DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mix easily has the best sound and soundfield here, well recorded and mixed if nothing special beyond that. Competent, but not memorable either, though the english dub soundtrack is definitely to be skipped.

The 1080p 2.35 X 1 digital High Definition image on Honk is an HD shoot that is surprisingly on the soft side throughout, though a few shots stand out, while the DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mix only goes so far in a dialogue/joke-based production, but it has a consistent soundfield and it a little better sounding than it looks.

The 1080p 1.78 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer on True was apparently a scope film (2.35 X 1) originally, but it is an HD shoot here that looks color weak throughout with detail issues and that choice of aspect ratio changing may have been a big mistake. It does not look good. The DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) French 5.1 lossless mix also lacks a consistent soundfield, has plenty of talking and is barely better than the PCM 2.0 Stereo lossless mix also included. The combination is trying.

The 1080p 2.35 X 1 (save one at 1.85 X 1 towards the end of the list) digital High Definition image transfers on all the Shawscope films can show the age of the materials used and be a little softer than I would like overall, but these are far superior a transfer to all previous releases of the film, including those DVDs we covered a while ago. Return To The 36th Chamber slightly outperforms the rest and gets one letter grade (B) higher than the rest, but color is pretty good on all of them and they are all apparently 2K scans this time around (9 by Arrow!), save 36th Chamber, which is a 4K scan. Disciples Of The 36th Chamber needed the upgrade more than most.

Save the Mandarin track on Return to the 36th Chamber with its compression issues, all of the theatrical analog monophonic tracks (which include their share of dubbing, no matter if they are Chinese/Cantonese, Mandarin or most obviously, English) in DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 1.0 Mono lossless sound that can vary slightly in background noise, hiss, slight harmonic distortion or plain old age. I don't know if much can be done to make these sound better than they are here, but they are as good as the last Shawscope box and any older edition we covered on DVD, so (especially if you are familiar with them) will be surprised enough they sound as good as they do.

- Nicholas Sheffo


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