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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

Five Elements Ninjas aka "Ren zhe wu di" [Blu-ray]

 

(Cheh Chang, 1982)

 

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Production:

Theatrical: Shaw Brothers

Video: 88 Films

 

Disc:

Region: 'B' (as verified by the Oppo Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 1:48:10.775 

Disc Size: 24,847,900,864 bytes

Feature Size: 24,591,427,584 bytes

Video Bitrate: 24.00 Mbps

Chapters: 12

Case: Transparent Blu-ray case

Release date: November 21st, 2016

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 2.35:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Audio:

LPCM Audio Mandarin 2304 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 2304 kbps / 24-bit

DUB:

LPCM Audio English 2304 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 2304 kbps / 24-bit
Commentary:

Dolby Digital Audio English 224 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 224 kbps

 

Subtitles:

English, none

 

Extras:

Audio Commentary with Bey Logan
Trailer (1:06)

Reversible Sleeve and LE booklet (2,000 copies)

 

Bitrate:

 

 

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).

 

 

The Film:

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.

Two kung fu masters face off in a contest of students to settle a long rivalry, and the stage is set for an unimaginably long story of blood and battle. The honorable teacher and his white-clad disciples kick much butt. Mr. Kang's school of kung fu tramps is roundly defeated. Actually, Mr. Kang's best fighter turns out to be a samurai, but even the fearsome Japanese warrior is no match for the good guys. The samurai commits seppuku after promising Mr. Kang that a ninja clan will come to avenge his death.

Excerpt from BadMovies.org located HERE

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.

Excerpt from VariedCelluloid located HERE

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio :

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.

 

Extras :

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.)

 

 

BOTTOM LINE:
Five Elements Ninjas is delightfully over-the-top. It loaded with action and some uncharacteristic gore. Martial Arts fans should love this pace and well-choreographed fight scenes.  The 88 Films Blu-ray provides a pretty sweet a/v presentation with a valuable commentary. I'm not crazy about the cover but was genuinely impressed with the film and my HD viewing.  I think it should be strongly considered - excellent value at the price offered. 

Gary Tooze

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.

Gary's Home Theatre:

60-Inch Class (59.58” Diagonal) 1080p Pioneer KURO Plasma Flat Panel HDTV PDP6020-FD

Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD Player
Momitsu - BDP-899 Region FREE Blu-ray player
Marantz SA8001 Super Audio CD Player
Marantz SR7002 THX Select2 Surround Receiver
Tannoy DC6-T (fronts) + Energy (centre, rear, subwoofer) speakers (5.1)

APC AV 1.5 kVA H Type Power Conditioner 120V

Gary W. Tooze

 

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