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(aka "The 8 Diagram Pole Fighter" or "Wu Lang ba gua gun" or "The Invincible Pole Fighters" or "Invincible Pole Fighter" or "Magnificent Pole Fighters"))

 

Directed by Chia-Liang Liu
Hong Kong 1984

 

Although made when the mighty Shaw Brothers studio were stepping away from film production, Eight Diagram Pole Fighter shows they had plenty of fight left in them: indeed, it's one of the best films they ever produced.

It's based on a story from Chinese history: a heroic general is betrayed on the battlefield. He and five of his sons are killed, but two of his sons are able to escape. Haunted by what happened to their father and brothers they begin to think of revenge but they will have to tread with care. The traitor and his troops are on their tail, and he means to finish the job he started.

Tragically, co-star Alexander Fu Sheng (Heroes Shed No Tears, The Brave Archer) died in a car accident mid-way through filming. But under the careful hands of master filmmaker Lau Kar-leung (The 36th Camber of Shaolin, Drunken Master 2), the finished film is a worthy tribute to this great star. 88 Films are proud to present the UK blu ray premiere of one of the true masterpieces of Hong Kong cinema.

***

The Yangs are betrayed by a government official conspiring with the Mongols. All of the Yang family males except the 5th and 6th brother are killed. Fu Sheng loses his mind after the death of his family, while the other brother takes refuge in a Buddhist temple.

Posters

Theatrical Release: February 17th, 1984

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Review: 88 Films - Region 'B' - Blu-ray

Box Cover

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Distribution 88 Films - Region 'B' - Blu-ray
Runtime 1:37:33.639         
Video

2.35:1 1080P Single-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 23,644,857,801 bytes

Feature: 23,523,022,848 bytes

Video Bitrate: 25.99 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate Blu-ray:

Audio

DTS-HD Master Audio Chinese 1989 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1989 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
DTS-HD Master Audio English 2012 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 2012 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
Commentary:

Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps

Subtitles English, None
Features Release Information:
Studio:
88 Films

 

2.35:1 1080P Single-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 23,644,857,801 bytes

Feature: 23,523,022,848 bytes

Video Bitrate: 25.99 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Edition Details:

Audio Commentary by Scott Harrison


Blu-ray Release Date:
March 2nd, 2020
Transparent Blu-ray Case inside slipcase

Chapters 12

 

 

Comments:

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

ADDITION: 88 Films Blu-ray (February 2020): 88 Films have transferred The 1984 Shaw Brother's martial arts film The 8 Diagram Pole Fighter to Blu-ray. For the most part it looks pleasing, with a few instances of, less consistent, softness. Colors are exported with some richness and there is impressive detail but also a few sequences that seem compromised. Overall, I enjoyed the 1080P presentation. Check out our screen captures below. 

On their Blu-ray, 88 Films offer DTS-HD Master (24-bit) tracks in Cantonese (I think) and an English language DUB. Fighting effects 'crack' with intensity and there is a score by Chin Yung Shing (as Stephen Shing) and Chen-Hou Su (as Chun Hau So) (Five Elements Ninjas) supporting the film and era well. 88 Films offer optional English subtitles (see sample below) on their Region 'B' Blu-ray.

The 88 Films Blu-ray includes an audio commentary by Scott Harrison where he immediately informs us that Eight Diagram Pole Fighter is his favorite Shaw Brothers film. He talks about the mythical, fantasy elements, how he can see it as a western, the camera movement, the stylized expression of the film akin to Kabuki theatre, he finds it achieves a balance between the historical and the fantastical. He talks about Bruce Lee and Jackie Chan - their divergent fighting styles as well as his admiration for the camerawork, the pace of the film and much more. He is very deliberate in his admiration and I thought there was definite value here. A folded poster for the film is included in the case.

The 8 Diagram Pole Fighter is top-shelf martial arts cinema. It has an all-star cast, relatively realistic, and brutal, fighting sequences, what many consider one of the greatest pole fighting sequences ever filmed and themes that include honor and revenge. It's a great example of the genre.  Fans should be pleased with this Blu-ray and the inclusion of the commentary. Entertaining action drama - worth checking out.

Gary Tooze

 


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Box Cover

CLICK to order from:

Distribution 88 Films - Region 'B' - Blu-ray


 


 

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Gary Tooze

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