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Five Elements Ninjas aka "Ren zhe wu di" [Blu-ray]
(Cheh Chang, 1982)
Review by Gary Tooze
Theatrical: Shaw Brothers
Region: 'B' (as verified by the Oppo Blu-ray player)
Disc Size: 24,847,900,864 bytes
Feature Size: 24,591,427,584 bytes
Video Bitrate: 24.00 Mbps
Case: Transparent Blu-ray case
Release date: November 21st, 2016
Aspect ratio: 2.35:1
Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps
Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video
LPCM Audio Mandarin 2304 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 2304 kbps / 24-bit
LPCM Audio English 2304 kbps
2.0 / 48 kHz / 2304 kbps / 24-bit
Dolby Digital Audio English 224 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 224 kbps
•Audio Commentary with Bey Logan
• Trailer (1:06)
Reversible Sleeve and LE booklet (2,000 copies)
Description: Drawing on the age old tension between The Land of the Rising Sun and China, FIVE ELEMENT NINJAS is a riotous rollercoaster ride of spilled blood, bludgeoned skulls and seductive, but deadly, Far Eastern femmes. Starring the mighty Cheng Tien-Chi - also of Jackie Chan's FEARLESS HYENA (1979) - FIVE ELEMENT NINJAS is one of the crowning achievements from the great career of legendary director Chang Cheh (THE ONE ARMED SWORDSMAN/ THE BRAVE ARCHER).
This is one of the great classic Shaw Brothers kung fu films.
The movie contains numerous melee scenes, and all of them are filled
with incredible energy. It is a good thing that the actors look to be in
great condition. Just watching the fighters skirmish is enough to cause
exhaustion in most sedentary viewers. Kung fu warriors kick jump,
somersault, tumble, spin, punch, and employ a fantastic variety of
weapons. The whole film is wonderfully inventive, surprisingly bloody,
and almost unbelievably fun.
After a martial arts school ruled by a bitter and evil man seeks power by confronting one of the best schools in China, the bad school ends up losing heavily. That is, until the final contestant for the evil school comes out to take the place of his fallen comrades, a Japanese samurai enters the ring and kills one of the less skilled martial artists from the good team. This leads to anger, and Shi Shang (Lo Meng) steps to the plate and beats the dog mess out of the samurai. Being that loss of a fight means loss of a life for a samurai, he intends to commit suicide. Before he does though, he warns the leader of the good school that in the coming days a Ninja will come to China and will then take revenge. After saying his farewells, the Samurai tosses a poisoned blade into the palm of the master’s hand, which then causes him not to be able to perform Kung Fu for a few weeks. After a while though, the school is given a competition letter from “The Five Elements”, and five separate destinations where the best students are supposed to meet. Everyone figures it’s a trap, but they go on ahead… and they all die. This leaves only the very best students left at the school, and the Ninjas have planted a spy in the clan and plan to kill everyone inside. All I have to say is that revenge will be served.
Image : NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.
Five Elements Ninjas gets an impressive transfer to Blu-ray from 88 Films. It's single-layered with a supportive bitrate for the 1 3/4 hour feature. The image quality is very sharp and consistent, frequently exporting depth. The 1080P supports fine detail, realistic and tight colors (rich, deep reds) with a nice scope effect in the, original, 2.35:1 frame. It's quite clean with only a few speckles and there is minor grain texture. I had no issue with this Blu-ray which exports a fine HD presentation.
CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION
Both English DUB and Mandarin tracks on the Blu-ray of Five Elements Ninjas offer uncompressed liner PCM transfers (24-bit). The DUB'ing awkwardness isn't as fatally poor as I've seen, but stick with the original. The fighting effects are extensive but always maintain that superficial edge. The score is by the team of Chin Yung Shing (as Stephen Shing) and Chen-Hou Su (as Chun Hau So) who have worked together extensively before. It all sounds as expected with pleasing depth but not dramatically crisp. There are optional English subtitles, and my Oppo has identified it as being a region 'B'-locked.
Aside from a trailer and reversible sleeve, the only extras is an audio commentary with Hong Kong film expert Bey Logan. He always provides extensive detail and this is no exception filling the time with plenty of production and location details. The package is dual-format and includes a second disc DVD. There is also a limited edition booklet by Dr Calum Waddell (2000 Copies.)
April 16th, 2017
About the Reviewer: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 9500 DVDs and have reviewed over 5000 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.
Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who
focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I
find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction.
Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD
Gary W. Tooze
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