(aka "Last Hurrah For Chivalry" or "Hao Xia" )

 

directed by John Woo
Hong Kong 1979

 

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 na´ve, 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

Theatrical Release: 22 November 1979

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DVD Review: Genius Products - Region 1 - NTSC

Big thanks to Yunda Eddie Feng for the Review!

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Distribution

Genius Products

Region 1 - NTSC

Runtime 107 min
Video

2.35:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 6.32 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

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

Bitrate

Audio DD 5.1 Cantonese, DD 2.0 mono Cantonese, DD 5.1 English
Subtitles Optional English, English SDH, Spanish
Features Release Information:
Studio: Genius Products

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 2.35:1

Edition Details:
• audio commentary by Bey Logan
• Pray for Death: An Interview With Fung Hak-On
• Deliver Us From Evil: An Interview With Lee Hoi San
• Legendary Weapons of China
• trailers
• previews for other movies

DVD Release Date: 24 July 2007
keepcase

Chapters 12

 

 

Comments:

Video:
The DVD retains the movie’s 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen frame, though the image quality varies wildly. Some scenes look very clean, but some scenes have so much grain that the picture becomes “noisy”. Generally, the video is a tad soft, though I suppose movies weren’t stored with posterity in mind back when this was made.

Audio:
As with the majority of Genius’s Dragon Dynasty releases, this one sports both the original Cantonese mono audio (in DD 2.0 guise) as well as a DD 5.1 re-mix. The mono sounds muffled compared to the 5.1, though some purists may want to watch the movie with the mono track anyway. There isn’t much surround activity, and even the front mains are used infrequently. Due to the limited dynamic range of the original audio stems, high frequencies can be harsh, and low ends are rather flat.

You can also watch the movie with a DD 5.1 English dub. Optional English, English SDH, and Spanish subtitles support the audio.

Extras:
Upon loading, the disc plays previews for other Genius Products releases.

Bey Logan contributed yet another excellent audio commentary. Mr. Logan is extensively knowledgeable about Asian cinema, so has comments shed much light on a period of John Woo’s career that is unfamiliar to even many Woo enthusiasts.

“Pray for Death: An Interview With Fung Hak-On” and “Deliver Us From Evil: An Interview With Lee Hoi San” feature two of the movie’s stars reminiscing about the movie and the Hong Kong film industry during the 1970s and 1980s.

In “Legendary Weapons of China”, Bey Logan talks about the use of a wide variety of weapons in Chinese martial-arts cinema.

Finally, you get two trailers for Last Hurrah for Chivalry.

--Miscellaneous--
You’ll find a $3 coupon for any other Dragon Dynasty DVD inside the keepcase.

 - Yunda Eddie Feng

 



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DVD Box Cover

CLICK to order from:

Distribution

Genius Products

Region 1 - NTSC




 

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