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(aka 'Tian can bian')


Directed by Chin-Ku Lu
Hong Kong 1983


True devotees of martial arts cinema have long lived in fear of the Bastard Swordsman! Unleashed on audiences by the blockbuster combination of Shaw Brothers Studios and legendary director Chang Cheh (Five Deadly Venoms, The Blood Brothers), this kung fu classic flawlessly blends phantasmagorical action sequences with staples of the wuxia genre. Starring Norman Chui (Hong Kong Godfather, 36th Chamber) as the most lethal bastard this side of Shaolin, this twisted tale of betrayal and bloodshed showcases a revolutionary style of wire-work and action choreography that inspired today’s most revered filmmakers. So sit back, dim the lights, and prepare to be schooled in the art of the kill as you experience the bastard’s signature move: the mind-meltingly lethal Silkworm Technique!


Theatrical Release: September 30th 1983

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DVD Review: Funimation - Region 1 - NTSC

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Distribution Funimation Productions - Region 1 - NTSC
Runtime 1:32:57 
Video 2.35:1 Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 7.68 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 (mono) DUB: English (Dolby Digital 2.0) 
Subtitles English, None

Release Information:
Studio: Funimation

Aspect Ratio:
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1

Edition Details:

• 8 Funimation Preview trailers

DVD Release Date: December 7th, 2010

Transparent Keep Case
Chapters: 21



Bastard Swordsman has a quintessential Shaw Brothers roundhouse kick presence - a strong Wuxia gem. It has bristling paced fight sequences with less-obvious placement of wild super-human effects filled with quick cuts - all circumvented by a simple yet compelling story. Wow.

The Funimation transfer is competent - dual-layered, progressive and anamorphic in 2.35 widescreen. It supports the film with occasional visual impressiveness. Detail and contrast are at a high level and colors aren't overly faded. It looks clean and quite good overall.

Audio offers two flavors - Mandarin mono that often seems post-dubbed (should it have been Cantonese?) and an English stereo DUB (we've, actually, heard worse). The Mandarin is, predictably, unremarkable but adds a flat authenticity present in the genre. The sweeping audibles of lightening-quick fists and 'whooshing' swords sound great. There are well-rendered optional English subtitles on the region 1 NTSC disc.

No extras save for 8 Funimation preview trailers that look to show some promise for future DVDs. This is still a good release - of a totally enjoyable Run Run Shaw flic. Fans of the whole milieu will definitely want to indulge. Things are looking up for some viable martial arts/wuxia releases - the supplement limitations are the only limitation in this package.  

Gary W. Tooze


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DVD Box Cover


CLICK to order from:

Distribution Funimation Productions - Region 1 - NTSC

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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r


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