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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

(aka "Hao xia" or "Last Hurrah for Chivalry")

 

Directed by John Woo
Hong Kong 1979

 

Before he became known as the master of the bullet-riddled heroic tragedy, John Woo sharpened his trademark themes and kinetic action choreography with this whirlwind wuxia spectacle. Unaware they are caught in a deadly game of deception, a pair of rambunctious swordsmen (Wai Pak and Damian Lau) join forces to help a nobleman (Lau Kong) in his quest for vengeance. Paying thrilling homage to his mentor, martial-arts innovator Chang Cheh, Woo delivers both bravura swordplay set pieces and a bloodstained interrogation of the meaning of brotherhood and honor in a world in which loyalty is bought and sold.

***

This superior swordplay extravaganza boasts numerous exciting fights, high quality production values and a better-than-average story written and directed by the great John Woo.

It may be surprising to some that John Woo ever directed an action movie devoid of blazing dual Berettas. Woo’s few films in the ‘70s were martial arts pics, the other most notably was Hand of Death (1975), co-starring Jackie Chan and Sammo Hung.

What’s remarkable is that the central themes in Woo’s tales have not changed throughout the years. In Last Hurrah, swords replace guns while much of the slow motion techniques common to the likes of Hard Boiled had yet to be implemented. But the idea of male bonding and sacrifice is ever present. Likewise, there is a fair amount of bloodletting, although tame compared to Chang Cheh’s work at Shaw Brothers. Veteran action director and actor Fung Hark-on does terrific work with the numerous fight scenes.

Although the story masterfully wraps around several main characters, Chang, played by Venom alumni Wei Pai, stands out as the principle character upon which the story pivots. Wei is right at home playing the somewhat nave, yet talented hero who finds himself at the center of a complex plot where not everyone is as they appear and honor among friends is hard to come by.

Excerpt from Mark Pollard, KungFuCinema.com

 

Posters

Theatrical Release: November 22nd, 1979

Reviews                                                                                                       More Reviews                                                                                       DVD Reviews

 

Review: Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray

Box Cover

CLICK to order from:

  

Also out on Blu-ray in the UK from Eureka paired with Woo's Hand of Death

  

Bonus Captures:

Distribution Criterion Spine #1174 - Region 'A' - Blu-ray
Runtime 1:48:05.520         
Video

2.39:1 1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 40,764,934,903 bytes

Feature: 35,982,391,296 bytes

Video Bitrate: 35.75 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

DTS-HD Master Audio Cantonese 3632 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 3632 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
LPCM Audio Cantonese 1152 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 1152 kbps / 24-bit
DUBs:

Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / DN -31dB
Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / DN -31dB

Subtitles English, None
Features Release Information:
Studio:
Criterion

 

2.39:1 1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 40,764,934,903 bytes

Feature: 35,982,391,296 bytes

Video Bitrate: 35.75 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Edition Details:

Audio interview with director John Woo (3:20)
New interview with Grady Hendrix, author of These Fists Break Bricks (8:42)
Trailer (5:08)
PLUS: An essay by scholar Aaron Han Joon Magnan-Park


Blu-ray Release Date: March 14th, 2023

Transparent Blu-ray Case

Chapters 9

 

 

Comments:

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

ADDITION: Criterion Blu-ray (March 2023): Criterion have transferred John Woo's Last Hurrah for Chivalry to Blu-ray. It is cited as being from a "2K digital restoration". It looks pretty good - mostly improved over the SD transfer in terms of contrast and color balance. There is minor depth to some scenes - although mostly flat - and it does tighten-up in terms of sharpness. Perhaps not a dynamic upgrade but certainly and upgrade nonetheless. There are some light marks but it was very clean and pleasing for my HD presentation. 

NOTE: We have added 62 more large resolution Blu-ray captures (in lossless PNG format) for DVDBeaver Patrons HERE

Last Hurrah for Chivalry's Cantonese soundtrack is presented here in remastered 5.1 surround DTS-HD Master sound as well as the original monaural in linear PCM mono (both 24-bit.) Also presented are two alternate English-dubbed tracks, one featuring the original opening and closing song in Cantonese, the other with an instrumental version of the theme. Last Hurrah for Chivalry has many aggressive fight scenes that come through akin to many Martial Arts sound effects; snapping boards, whiplash cracks, slicing swords etc. They are generally hollow and the surround has a few surprising separations. The lively score is by composer Frankie Chan (The Odd Couple, Fallen Angels, The Fearless Hyena, Chungking Express, The Prodigal Son) sounding playful or intense - supporting the film's moods well. Criterion offer optional English subtitles on their Region 'A' Blu-ray.

The Criterion Blu-ray offers a brief, edited, audio interview recorded in March and April 2004 by journalist Robert K. Elder (John Woo: Interviews) that has John Woo reminiscing about Last Hurrah for Chivalry. There is also a 9-minute, 2022, interview with author Grady Hendrix (These Fists Break Bricks: How Kung Fu Movies Swept America and Changed the World) discussing Last Hurrah for Chivalry and its director, John Woo. Lastly is a lengthy trailer and the package has a liner notes booklet with an essay by scholar Aaron Han Joon Magnan-Park.

Last Hurrah for Chivalry is John Woo's tribute to his mentor, Chang Cheh (The One-Armed Swordsman, The Five Deadly Venoms etc. etc.) - arguably Shaw's most prolific director. It is a precursor to Woo's 'heroic bloodshed' genre films initiated by A Better Tomorrow (1986). I liked that Last Hurrah for Chivalry was 'old school' - set in ancient China with a plot involving rogue master swordsmen assassins filled with themes of revenge, honor and deception. The plot has many twists which keeps the viewer enthralled till the finale. It's an interesting take within the wuxia genre. The Criterion Blu-ray will be pleasing to Region 'A' John  Woo / martial arts fans.

Gary Tooze

 


Menus / Extras

 


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

 

1) Genius Products - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

4) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 


1) Genius Products - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

4) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 


1) Genius Products - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

4) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 


1) Genius Products - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

4) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 


1) Genius Products - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

4) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 


Example of NSFW (Not Safe For Work) visuals (Mouse Over - click to enlarge)

 


 

More full resolution (1920 X 1080) Blu-ray Captures for DVDBeaver Patreon Supporters HERE

 

 

 
Box Cover

CLICK to order from:

  

Also out on Blu-ray in the UK from Eureka paired with Woo's Hand of Death

  

Bonus Captures:

Distribution Criterion Spine #1174 - Region 'A' - Blu-ray


 


 

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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

 

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