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A view on Blu-ray by Michael Den Boer

 

The Heroic Ones (Sword Masters) [Blu-ray]

(aka "Shi san tai bao")

 

(Cheh Chang, 1970)

 

 

Review by Michael Den Boer

 

Studio:

Theatrical: Shaw Brothers

Blu-ray: Well Go Usa

 

Disc:

Region: 'A' (as verified by the Momitsu region FREE Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 2:01:00.953

Disc Size: 22,974,184,152 bytes

Feature Size: 21,676,413,440 bytes

Video Bitrate: 19.21 Mbps

Chapters: 10

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: April 27th, 2010

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 2.35:1

Resolution: 1080i / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

 

Audio:

LPCM Audio English 1536 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1536 kbps / 16-bit
LPCM Audio Chinese 1536 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1536 kbps / 16-bit

 

Subtitles:

English, Chinese, none

 

Extras:

• Trailers for Two Champions of Shaolin (1:03; Letterboxed Widescreen), Brothers Five (1:16; Letterboxed Widescreen), Heroes Shed no Tears (1:01; Letterboxed Widescreen)

 

 

The Film:

Chu Wen a power hungry ambassador to the emperor Tang, pits Li Ke Yung the king of the Sha To province against a rebel general.

The Heroic Ones is an epic tale about loyalty and betrayal that was directed by Cheh Chang one of the Shaw Brothers most influential directors during the late 1960’s and 1970’s. His most notable films as a director include The One-Armed Swordsman, Golden Swallow, Crippled Avengers and Five Deadly Venoms. Visually The Heroic Ones perfectly combines melodrama with awe inspiring sword fights. This is an action film first and foremost with the film’s only weakness being that there are too many lead characters that never fully get time to blossom.

The story as a whole is very satisfying as alliances are broken and no one is safe even from family from betrayal. One of the film back-stories is about two of Li Ke Yung’s sons Li Tsun Hsin and Li Kang Chun who are jealous of their younger brother Li Tsun Hsiao who gets the approval they so desperately want from their father. This sub plot also leads to the film's most disturbing moment was when Li Tsun Hsin and Li Kang Chun dismember their younger Li Tsun Hsiao. The real villain of the story is ambassador Chu Wen whose scheming for personal gain is what sets forth Li Tsun Hsin and Li Kang Chun betraying of their family. The way the film ends leaves Chu Wen’s fate unresolved.

The cast are all very good all around with the standout performance coming from David Chiang as Li Tsun Hsiao. Also in Bolo Yeung in one of his first roles appears as General Meng. The score for the film features a music cue from the James Bond film On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. Ultimately The Heroic Ones makes up for its underdeveloped characters with its exceptional action sequences.

Excerpt of review from 10kbullets located HERE


 

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

This transfer like all of Well Go USA's other Shaw Brothers DVD and Blu-ray releases is interlaced. The interlaced image has some issues with 'combing' which is more pronounced during horizontal pan action sequences. When comparing this transfer with the Well Go USA DVD release of The Heroic Ones, the colors, flesh tones and black levels fare 'slightly' richer as does detail and contrast.

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio & Music:

This release comes with two audio options, a Dolby Digital stereo mix in Mandarin and a Dolby Digital stereo mix in English. Removable English and Chinese subtitles have been included. The audio mixes sound clean and clear throughout. The English subtitles don't appear to be 'Dub' titles. Once again I noticed a few instances few grammatical errors in the English subtitle track.

 

 

Extras:

Extras are limited to three trailer Two Champions of Shaolin, Brothers Five and Heroes Shed no Tears . All three trailers are presented in a letterboxed widescreen, in Mandarin with no English subtitles and in standard definition.

 

 

Bottom line:

Another missed opportunity from Well Go USA, who release yet another sub-par Blu-ray that has many of the same problems which also plagued their DVD release of The Heroic Ones.

Michael Den Boer
May 2nd, 2010

 




 

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