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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

(aka "Si da men pai" or "The Shaolin Plot" or "Shaolin Plot")

 

Directed by Feng Huang
Hong Kong 1977

 

After his work directing the action sequences for King Hu’s Palme D’or winning A Touch of Zen, Sammo Hung worked with director Huang Feng (Lady Whirlwind, Hapkido) on a series of martial arts masterpieces which continuously broke new ground for action cinema, the culmination of which was The Shaolin Plot. After the release of this film, Sammo (who also has one of his first major acting roles here, playing a deadly monk with an unusual choice of weaponry) began his own career as a director and would play a huge role in the “Golden Age” of Hong Kong cinema – an era which revolutionized action filmmaking around the world.

Hong Kong movie veteran Chen Hsing (The Iron-Fisted Monk) plays a tyrannical ruler with the aim of collecting all existing Chinese martial arts manuals in order to obtain ultimate power. After obtaining the Wu Tang manual, he sets his sights on the Shaolin Temple and the secrets of their fighting style. Two Shaolin Monks (Casanova Wong and Yeong-moon Kwon) must team up with a Wu Tang fighter (James Tien) to defeat the villainous despot.

***

This 1977 Hong Kong action film gave Sammo Hung his first starring role. A sinister martial arts master moves violently through Hong Kong. The only person standing in his way is his best student.

Posters

Theatrical Release: April 7th, 1977

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Review: Eureka - Region 'B' - Blu-ray

Box Cover

CLICK to order from:

Bonus Captures:

Distribution Eureka - Region 'B' - Blu-ray
Runtime 1:49:47.330        
Video

2.39:1 1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 36,748,067,377 bytes

Feature: 34,714,432,896 bytes

Video Bitrate: 34.86 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate Blu-ray:

Audio

LPCM Audio Mandarin 1152 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 1152 kbps / 24-bit
DUB:

LPCM Audio English 1152 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 1152 kbps / 24-bit
Commentaries:

Dolby Digital Audio English 320 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 320 kbps / DN -31dB

Subtitles English, None
Features Release Information:
Studio:
Eureka

 

2.39:1 1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 36,748,067,377 bytes

Feature: 34,714,432,896 bytes

Video Bitrate: 34.86 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Edition Details:

• New feature length audio commentary by Asian film experts Frank Djeng (NY Asian Film Festival) & Michael Worth
• New feature length audio commentary by action cinema experts Mike Leeder & Arne Venema
• Original Hong Kong theatrical trailer (3:54)
• Original export trailer (2:54)
Limited Edition O-Card slipcase featuring new artwork by Darren Wheeling (First print run of 2000 copies only)
PLUS: A Limited-Edition collector’s booklet featuring new writing by James Oliver (First print run of 2000 copies only)


Blu-ray Release Date: June 20th, 2022

Transparent Blu-ray Case inside O-Card slipcase

Chapters 11

 

 

Comments:

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

ADDITION: Eureka Blu-ray (June 2022): Eureka have transferred Feng Huang's The Shaolin Plot to Blu-ray. It is cited as being from a "new 2K restoration". It looks very impressive - extremely bright with vibrant colors, rich deep black levels and frequent depth. This is a highly remarkable 1080P image on a dual-layered disc with a max'ed out bitrate. There is gloss and not much texture and may have a smidgeon of low frequency edge enhancement digitization but it looked wonderfully zesty on my system without pulling out the magnifying glass. A friend had stopped by and couldn't stop marveling at the intensity of the visuals.

NOTE: We have added 52 more large resolution Blu-ray captures (in lossless PNG format) for DVDBeaver Patrons HERE

On their Blu-ray, Eureka offer the option of linear PCM mono tracks (24-bit) in the original Mandarin and an English DUB choice. The Shaolin Plot has extensive fight sequences. It's all quite authentically rough (in spots), flat and hollow in the way we nostalgically recall from the genre and era of Hong Kong classics with snappy cracks of martial arts hand combat to thuds and hollow grunts of exertion. Delightful. Fans of action will remarks on the choreographed and acrobatic nature of these many action scenes. The DUB is obvious but also has awkward nostalgic appeal - both sounding highly pleasing, for the genre, in the uncompressed transfer. Eureka offer optional English subtitles (and a second translating text signs) on their Region 'B'-locked Blu-ray.

The Eureka Blu-ray offers two new feature-length commentaries. The first is by Asian film savants Frank Djeng (NY Asian Film Festival) and actor, martial artist Michael Worth. We have heard their expertise recently on commentates for Eureka's Blu-rays of Knockabout and Dreadnaught. Frank is a welcome regular and offers a ton in terms of the genre, specifics on the cast and production, how this is not a Shaw effort (produced by Raymond Chow), influences of King Hu and plenty of detailed material relating to 1977's The Shaolin Plot's place in the cycle. Michael Worth always adds important value as someone working in the industry. They are a good pairing and the commentary is enjoyable and worth the indulgence for fans. The second commentary has action cinema experts Mike Leeder (editor of 100% Jackie Chan: The Essential Companion) and Arne Venema. They have done excellent commentaries for the above two films and Eureka's Blu-ray of Odd Couple, plus 88 Films Blu-rays of The Fearless Hyena and Dragon's Forever. It sounds off-the-cuff but they live-and-breathe their topic and show general enthusiasm having some fun in exporting facets of the production referencing similar work from the era. A bone-fide addition to the package. Also included are a lengthy original Hong Kong theatrical trailer and the original export trailer. The package has a limited edition O-Card slipcase featuring new artwork by Darren Wheeling and a collector’s booklet featuring new writing by James Oliver (both limited to 2000 copies.) 

Feng Huang's The Shaolin Plot is remarkable for its inclusion of Sammo Hung in his first starring role (an unscrupulous baddie, here, hurdling golden cymbal boomerangs or multiple razor-sharp daggers!) and his early role as an action director. It really stands out as a superior Wushu classic with excellent cast and endless flying kicks and sharp, whiplash-filled conflicts that push the narrative to lesser-importance. It revolves around obtaining the Wu Tang, Shaolin manual of clandestine martial arts distinction. The secrets serving as a trigger for the unrelenting friction. I really enjoyed it. The Eureka Blu-ray offers a vibrant image, dual-audio options and two commentaries plus a booklet. A crazy, must-own, package for fans of the genre with cruel villains, a blind monk and virtuous school of noble students all realized in a healthy production of a rarely seen gem. Certainly recommended!

Gary Tooze

 


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Distribution Eureka - Region 'B' - Blu-ray


 


 

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