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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

(aka "Jing wu ying xiong" or "Fist of Legend")

directed by Gordon Chan
Hong Kong 1994

Being a neophyte in the martial arts genre, I took the advice of some experts who say "that you will not see more exciting martial arts fighting in any film". "Fist of Legend" is often considered the jewel in the crown of this brand of Asian acrobatic action films with little doubt why! I thoroughly enjoyed this film so much I am ranking it in my most watched DVD listing! All the dynamic superlatives of physical singularity, honor, purity, strength and respect apply - if playfully exaggerated. Jet Li is a multiple WUSHU (sanctioned martial arts) world champion in many areas and he does have an undeniable screen presence. Although an early 'western exposed' film for him, in "Fist of Legend" he has honed the bridge of athletic prowess to meld with cinematic charisma quite adeptly.  Personally, these films do have an appeal for me. Not unlike an old western - the good and evil are easily identifiable and the legendary "fast gun" is replaced with extensively choreographed leaps and kicks, which "Fist of Legend" is overflowing with. Although they don't appear choreographed - perhaps that is their appeal. The story is a classic one that has its roots in Chinese history -- the defeat of Master Huo at the hands of the invading Japanese. Chen Zhen (Li), is in a race to save his master's honor and his own pride. The IMdb comments ring loudly:

'Best pure Kung Fu scenes EVER.'
'Simply put, Fist of Legend is one of the very best martial arts films ever made.'
'Purely amazing. This is definitely the greatest martial arts movie that I've ever seen.'
'Never in the history of the universe has anyone ROCKED as much as Jet Li in Fist of Legend. Easily the BEST kung-fu movie of the 90's.'

 

Watching this film is probably as fun a way to spend a rainy Sunday afternoon as I can imagine. As the pinnacle of its genre, I must give it out of

Gary W. Tooze

Posters

Theatrical Release: February 5th, 1994 - Hong Kong

Reviews       More Reviews      DVD Reviews

Comparison:

Mei Ah ( 2 VCDs ) - Region 0 - NTSC vs. Dragon Dynasty Ultimate 2-disc - Region 1 - NTSC vs. Dimension Home Video - Region 1- NTSC vs. Dragon Dynasty - Region FREE Blu-ray

 

1) Mei Ah (VCD) - Region 0 - NTSC - LEFT

2) Dragon Dynasty (Weinstein) Two-Disc Ultimate Edition - Region 1 - NTSC SECOND

3) Dimension Home Video - Region 1- NTSC - THIRD

4) Dragon Dynasty (Weinstein) - Region FREE - Blu-ray RIGHT

 

DVD Box Covers

 

Distribution

Mei Ah Laser Disc company

Region 1  - NTSC

Weinstein - Dragon Dynasty
Region 1 - NTSC
Dimension Home Video
Region 1 - NTSC
Vivendi - Dragon Dynasty
Region FREE -
Blu-ray
Runtime 1st VCD - 59:10 + 2nd: 42:51 = 1:42:01 1:43:04 1:43:08 1:43:16.064
Video

1.74:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: ? mb/s
NTSC 704x480 29.97 f/s

1.78:1 Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 8.7 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

1.83:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate:
5.61 mb/s
NTSC 704x480 29.97 f/s

Disc Size: 35,470,780,534 bytes

Feature Size: 27,105,386,496 bytes

Average Bitrate: 31.94 Mbps

Dual-layered Blu-ray MPEG-4 AVC Video 1080P

Audio Cantonese (Dolby Digital 1.0) Cantonese or Mandarin (Dolby 2.0), DUB: English 5.1

English (Dubbed) (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround)

Dolby Digital Audio English 640 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 640 kbps / DN -4dB
Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / DN -4dB
Dolby Digital Audio Chinese 224 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 224 kbps / DN -4dB
Dolby Digital Audio Chinese 224 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 224 kbps / DN -4dB
Subtitles English, Simplified Chinese (ingrained) English (SDH), English, Spanish, none English for the hearing impaired, and none English (SDH), English, Spanish, none
Features Release Information:
Studio: Mei Ah Laser Disc Company

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen letterbox - 1.75:1

Edition Details:
• None

DVD Release Date: January 13, 2004
Jewel CD Case

Chapters: none

Release Information:
Studio: Dragon Dynasty (Weinstein)

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen - 1.78:1



Edition Details:
• Commentary Hong Kong cinema expert Bey Logan

Disc 2
• The Man Behind The Legend: Interview with director Gordon Chan (35:34)
• Brother In Arms: Interview with Chin Siu-hou (23:19)
• The Way Of The Warrior (29:40)
• The School For Hard Knocks (26:31)
• A Look at Fist Of Legend (9.35)
• 5 Deleted Scenes (5:08)
• Theatrical trailer


DVD Release Date: September 2nd, 2008

Keep Case
Chapters: 24

Release Information:
Studio: Dimension Home Video

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen letterbox - 1.83:1

Edition Details:
• Color, Widescreen
• Widescreen letterbox format


DVD Release Date: February 15, 2000

Keep Case
Chapters: 18

Release Information:
Studio: Dragon Dynasty (Weinstein)

 

Disc Size: 35,470,780,534 bytes

Feature Size: 27,105,386,496 bytes

Average Bitrate: 31.94 Mbps

Dual-layered Blu-ray MPEG-4 AVC Video 1080P

Edition Details:
• Commentary Hong Kong cinema expert Bey Logan

• The Man Behind The Legend: Interview with director Gordon Chan (35:34)
• Brother In Arms: Interview with Chin Siu-hou (23:19)
• The Way Of The Warrior (29:40)
• The School For Hard Knocks (26:31)
• A Look at Fist Of Legend (9.35)
• 5 Deleted Scenes (5:08)
• Theatrical trailer


Blu-ray Release Date: April 20th, 2010
Standard
Blu-ray Case
Chapters: 24

Comments:

NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

ADDITION: Dragon Dynasty - Region FREE' Blu-ray - April 2010: I suppose we should consider it a victory that the Vivendi/Weinstein/Dragon Dynasty Blu-ray is progressive unlike the 1080i (interlaced) transfers they have recently put out (The 36th Chamber of Shaolin and The Killer). This is dual-layered with a decent bitrate and it does look better - although also thin at times. Edge-enhancement isn't the culprit as far as I can tell.  What can occasionally appear like grain also has a tendency to look noisy and uneven but all facets of visual appeal do improve - from richer colors, deeper blacks and there is even some depth in some scenes. Unfortunately, the higher resolution also brings out the light surface scratches to more prominence (see last large capture) than was noted on the Dragon Dynasty DVD although I suspect the source to be the same. Bottom line is the image quality has improved - more than I was anticipating.

But that is it for the improvement. No lossless audio (same Cantonese DD track) and the extras are simply duplicated from the 2008 2-disc DVD but now they are all accessible from the one Blu-ray disc. I should note the subtitle translation appears précised at times (see sample below - he never says he is from the "Black Dragon Clan"). In fact, in my testing it matches the English DUB! We will continue exploring this issue but it looks like these are DUB-titles and, for many, this is a catastrophic mistake. My Momitsu has identified it as being a region FREE disc playable on Blu-ray machines worldwide.

This is one of my favorite martial arts films but the improved visual presentation may not be enough of an enticement for those to upgrade who already own the 2008 DVD - where audio and extras have not been bettered and the subtitles précised. I'll admit I'm happy about the progressive transfer but the package limitations leave me ambivalent to recommend.

****

ADDITION: Dragon Dynasty - Region 1 - NTSC DVD - October 08': Well, it only took 8 1/2 years! Short comment: the Dragon Dynasty is far in advance of both these previous releases... by a country mile.

 

It offers a reasonable, although not perfect, image transfer (some noise is present). Original Cantonese audio option (as usual in no way does the English DUB match the English subtitles). Tons of extras including another stellar commentary from Bey Logan and a second disc with 5 interviews and an equal number of deleted scenes. An easy choice - Dragon Dynasty continues to bring us superior examples of the best this genre has to offer. I love this film and am so very glad to have revisited it in such an improved, and more theatrically accurate, digital presentation. For fans of Jet Li (touted as his best work) or the Wushu this is a no-brainer. Thanks Dragon Dynasty!  

 

ON THE OLD SD VS. THE VCD: Well, quite a mess. I strive at obtain some of my favorite films on DVD in their original format. Correct aspect ratio, correct audio, maybe some extras if possible. This film has squeaked onto the list, BUT there is no correct version out there! The Region 1 Dimension Home obviously has a better image than the Mei Ah 2 VCDs, but it is dubbed into English with no other audio option. The original audio format of this film is in Cantonese. I'm sure most of you know the importance of original spoken audio for the inflections, tone etc. of the dialogue . There is a French DVD in original Cantonese, but only French subtitles. Regarding the images, when we compare sometimes we can see the deficiencies (cropping etc. ) in the better version, but here the VCD is cropped (left edge), washed out and brightness boosted. The dual Chinese and English subtitles are burned in. I think the Home Dimension looks to have some vertical squeezing as faces can appear to be quite "scrunched" at times, but the colors are obviously superior, if overly red (look at skin tones!) as is the sharpness. No Extras on either.  Hopefully someone will take Fist of Legend, highly regarded as the best martial arts film ever, and give it a respectful proper treatment to DVD. Soon.

 - Gary W. Tooze


Recommended Reading in Chinese/Hong Kong/Taiwanese Cinema (CLICK COVERS or TITLES for more information)

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Disc 2

 



Mei Ah (VCD) - Region 0 - NTSC - LEFT vs. Dimension Home Video - Region 1- NTSC -
MIDDLE vs.
Dragon Dynasty (Weinstein) - Region FREE - Blu-ray RIGHT


 NONE

NONE

NONE

 


 

CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION

 

Screen Captures

 

Subtitle Sample

1) Mei Ah (VCD) - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP

2) Dragon Dynasty (Weinstein) Two-Disc Ultimate Edition - Region 1 - NTSC SECOND

3) Dimension Home Video - Region 1- NTSC - THIRD

4) Dragon Dynasty (Weinstein) - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


Screen Captures

1) Mei Ah (VCD) - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP

2) Dragon Dynasty (Weinstein) Two-Disc Ultimate Edition - Region 1 - NTSC SECOND

3) Dimension Home Video - Region 1- NTSC - THIRD

4) Dragon Dynasty (Weinstein) - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


 

1) Mei Ah (VCD) - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP

2) Dragon Dynasty (Weinstein) Two-Disc Ultimate Edition - Region 1 - NTSC SECOND

3) Dimension Home Video - Region 1- NTSC - THIRD

4) Dragon Dynasty (Weinstein) - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


1) Mei Ah (VCD) - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP

2) Dragon Dynasty (Weinstein) Two-Disc Ultimate Edition - Region 1 - NTSC SECOND

3) Dimension Home Video - Region 1- NTSC - THIRD

4) Dragon Dynasty (Weinstein) - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


 

1) Mei Ah (VCD) - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP

2) Dragon Dynasty (Weinstein) Two-Disc Ultimate Edition - Region 1 - NTSC SECOND

3) Dimension Home Video - Region 1- NTSC - THIRD

4) Dragon Dynasty (Weinstein) - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


1) Mei Ah (VCD) - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP

2) Dragon Dynasty (Weinstein) Two-Disc Ultimate Edition - Region 1 - NTSC SECOND

3) Dimension Home Video - Region 1- NTSC - THIRD

4) Dragon Dynasty (Weinstein) - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


1) Mei Ah (VCD) - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP

2) Dragon Dynasty (Weinstein) Two-Disc Ultimate Edition - Region 1 - NTSC SECOND

3) Dimension Home Video - Region 1- NTSC - THIRD

4) Dragon Dynasty (Weinstein) - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


1) Mei Ah (VCD) - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP

2) Dragon Dynasty (Weinstein) Two-Disc Ultimate Edition - Region 1 - NTSC SECOND

3) Dimension Home Video - Region 1- NTSC - THIRD

4) Dragon Dynasty (Weinstein) - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

More Blu-ray captures

Noticeable scratches


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Report Card:

 

Image:

Dragon Dynasty Blu-ray

Sound:

Dragon DynastyBlu-ray

Extras:

Dragon Dynastys

 

DVD Box Covers

 

Distribution

Mei Ah Laser Disc company

Region 1  - NTSC

Weinstein - Dragon Dynasty
Region 1 - NTSC
Dimension Home Video
Region 1 - NTSC
Vivendi - Dragon Dynasty
Region FREE -
Blu-ray


 

 

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Gary Tooze

Many Thanks...