(aka 'Challenge of the Ninja' or 'Chung wah cheung fu' of 'Drunk Shaolin Challenges Ninja' or 'Heroes of the East' or 'Shaolin Challenges Ninja')
Directed by Chia-Liang Liu
Hong Kong 1979
Heroes of the East embodies the very best of the kung fu movie genre, yet remains unique among its peers. It is a superb example of Lau Kar-leung’s ability to draw the viewer into his meticulous fight choreography with compelling storytelling seamlessly woven into the action. It also stands as perhaps the greatest match up of Japanese and Chinese fighters. It’s all the more impressive that he’s able to pull this all off so well without resorting to any real bloodshed, death or dismemberment. There is a place for that as I’m sure Chang Cheh and Sonny Chiba would argue, but Lau rises above this and just gives us great martial arts action packaged in a very accessible story for even non-fu fans.
Theatrical Release: December 1979
DVD Review: Weinstein Company - Region 1 - NTSC
|DVD Box Cover||
CLICK to order from:
|Distribution||Weinstein Company - Region 1 - NTSC|
Average Bitrate: 5.73 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.
|Audio||Mandarin (Dolby Digital 2.0), Cantonese (Dolby Digital 2.0) DUB: English (Dolby Digital 2.0)|
|Subtitles||English (CC), English, Spanish, None|
• Commentary by Bey Logan
There have been a few DVD editions of this film available and this is another solid transfer again from Dragon Dynasty most likely eclipsing all previous. It's dual-layered, anamorphic and progressive - coded for region 1 in the NTSC standard. It looks a shade soft in the beginning but colors seem true and it tightens up as it progresses. The screen grabs tell the story pretty accurately. The image is very clean and was probably restored. I believe the source again is from Celestial Pictures. I can't confirm that this is the best DVD visually (although I strongly suspect it), but, as with Come Drink With Me, tack on the extras (listed below) and it surely must be the best package of this cross-cultural story.
Audio consists of clean and clear Mandarin, Cantonese and an English DUB. There are English (standard and hearing impaired) and Spanish subtitle options. NOTE: The subtitle font is a shade thick - but maybe that's being picky.
Supplements are extensive - firstly we have another good commentary from Hong Kong cinema expert Bey Logan. We've heard Logan on many of these Dragon Dynasty packages and he is 'the man' digging deep to impart extensive knowledge. There are two featurettes: Spotlight of a Legend is a 36 minute celebration of Martial Arts icon Lau Kar-Leung - input again from Logan. The second Shaolin vs. Ninja is a 25 minute piece exploring some legendary martial arts weapons with an Asian gal in a gym. We also have a 22 minute interview with leading man Gordon Liu and finally a theatrical trailer gallery with Come Drink With Me (also released on this date - reviewed HERE) and Heroes of the East.
This is one of the better Shaw efforts and definitely worth purchasing for those embracing the genre. The DVD is above reproach and Dragon Dynasty are sating fans with wonderful packages - this definitely included.