Shadow Hunters + Echo Of Destiny - Shadow Hunters
C+ Sound: C Extras: C Films: B-
The Shadow Hunters films are like
Professional Westerns and Spaghetti Westerns combined and the first two films
arrived in 1972 during both cycles. Shadow Hunters and Echo Of Destiny - Shadow Hunters II tell the tale of three
exceptionally skilled killers for hire that are talented enough to hunt and
kill elusive Ninjas. Toshio Masuda had
directed the Japanese half of 20th Century Fox’s WWII epic Tora! Tora! Tora! (1970) and if one has
any doubt of his talents or being able to hold his own as a director, they need
look no further than these films.
the writing of Golgo-13 author Takao
Saito, a creation that moved on to live action and animated film productions,
and these films have the same twists and turns that makes sense narratively
instead of being a boring film with a “big” twist at the end that supposedly
will impress and shock the audience. Yes,
this is a brutal film, though some of the visual effects have not dated well,
but blood and butchery are still that and this is a hard “R” if it had a
rating. Besides some fine fight
sequences, this has better acting than expected, with a cast headed by Yujiro
Ishihara. Running about 90 minutes each,
they know when enough is enough and deliver enough to be engaging more often
than not. The sequel has them on the
road, but that is the only major difference.
These are two of the most recommended Samurai Cinema installments to
date because they are so effective in mixing genres and having so much energy.
anamorphically enhanced 2.35 X 1 image on both DVDs are colorful and from
restored 35mm materials, yet again have a slight lack of detail that just
misses the mark for these transfers. The
Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono on both is average at best, also typical of too many of
these reissues. I hope they sound better
when they roll around on an HD format.
Extras include text notes, stills and trailers for other films in the
Samurai Cinema collection series from AnimEigo.
With the Sonny Chiba Golgo-13
coming to HD-DVD, HD versions of these cannot be far behind, but these are good
standard DVD copies worth catching because the films are pretty good.
- Nicholas Sheffo