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Category:    Home > Reviews > Martial Arts Cycle > Heroes Of The East (1979/Dragon Dynasty/Weinstein DVD)

Heroes Of The East (1979/Dragon Dynasty/Weinstein DVD)

 

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

 

 

By the late 1970s, too many of the Martial Arts films had plummeted into desperation and too much comedy, Lou Kar-Leungís (aka Chia-Liang Liuís) Heroes Of The East (1979) is a big surprise and one of the last great films of that original cycle that began in the 1960s.A Chinese man (Gordon Liu) is trying to live peacefully with his Japanese wife when conflict arises and gets so out of control that he has to fight seven Japanese weapons experts as part of some crazy test.

 

The good news is, Kuang Niís script is so well thought out that the backstory works, the situation works, the conflict between people pre-fighting works and when the last few reels of the film are nothing but martial arts action, not only does it work, but it is some of the best fighting in the genreís history.It never looks fake, phony, rehearsed, over-choreographed and has a pace that is more than worth of the best action genre filmmaking around.The cast gives great performances, exceeding the usual genre acting and it shows that Martial Arts films could have remained serious and effective into the 1980s without an overabundance of humor.It is at least a minor classic of the genre as a result.

 

The anamorphically enhanced 2.35 X 1 image is pretty good, though this is not as color complex as some of the older Shaw releases, this still looks very good and seems to have been fixed and cleaned up.Compositions by Director of Photography Arthur Wong are also impressive, enough to make a future Blu-ray worth the wait.The Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono in English, Chinese and original Mandarin is all aged and limited, which is odd for a newer Shaw film, even when older English dubs have been 5.1 presentations.They are all a bit weaker than they should be.Extras include two featurettes (Spotlight On A Legend, Shaolin vs. Ninja,) trailer gallery, audio commentary with by martial arts film scholar Bey Logan and an interview with lead male Liu.

 

 

-†† Nicholas Sheffo


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