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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

(aka "Zu: Warriors from the Magic Mountain" or "Shu Shan - Xin Shu shan jian ke")

 

Directed by Tsui Hark
Hong Kong 1983

 

One of the most important cinematic achievements in Hong Kong cinema, Tsui Hark's Zu Warriors from the Magic Mountain birthed the modern-day special effects industry in Hong Kong, and influenced filmmakers around the world, including John Carpenter (who credited the film as the inspiration for Big Trouble in Little China).

Featuring an all-star cast led by Yuen Biao (Wheels on Meals, Project A) as young soldier Dik Ming-kei, currently caught in a war between two rival armies during Tang Dynasty. Taking sanctuary in a cave within the ominous Zu Mountain, he becomes entangled in a battle with supernatural forces beyond his comprehension.

Featuring breath-taking art design, stunning cinematography, and ground-breaking special effects, Eureka Classics is extremely proud to present Zu Warriors from the Magic Mountain from a brand new 2K restoration making its worldwide debut on Blu-ray.

***

In the fifth century, constant civil war scars western China. To escape death, Ti, a young scout, jumps through a crevice in the Zu mountains where he meets and becomes the apprentice of Ting Yin, a spiritual man with great fighting powers. They encounter a monk, Hsiao Yu, also a great fighter and a good man, but unfriendly to Ting. Because Ting and Hsiao can't work together, it falls to Ti to team with Hsiao's acolyte Yi Chen: they have 49 days to travel far to claim two swords that are the only weapons that can defeat the Blood Demon, who has decided the wreak havoc on the world. They get help from Long Brows, Ting falls in love with a countess, and civil war still rages.

Posters

Theatrical Release: February 5th, 1983

Reviews                                                                                                       More Reviews                                                                                       DVD Reviews

 

Review: Eureka Classics - Region 'B' - Blu-ray

Box Cover

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Distribution Eureka Classics - Region 'B' - Blu-ray
Runtime 1:38:37.286        
Video

1.85:1 1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 47,461,576,608 bytes

Feature: 25,602,344,064 bytes

Video Bitrate: 29.97 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 954 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 954 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 1.0 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 24-bit)
DTS-HD Master Audio English 1607 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1607 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 24-bit)
Commentary:

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

Subtitles English, None
Features Release Information:
Studio:
Eureka Classics

 

1.85:1 1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 47,461,576,608 bytes

Feature: 25,602,344,064 bytes

Video Bitrate: 29.97 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Edition Details:

Brand new and exclusive feature length audio commentary by critic and Asian cinema expert Tony Rayns
Brand new and exclusive interview with Tsui Hark a lengthy and in-depth interview with director Tsui Hark filmed in 2020 exclusively for this release (1:01:23)
Zu: Time Warrior the export cut of the film produced for European theatres, featuring a wraparound segment with Yuen Biao as a modern-day college student who is transported, Wizard of Oz style, to 10th Century China (1:37:15)
Tsui Hark episode of Son of the Incredibly Strange Film Show originally aired on British television in 1989 (22:06)
Alternate opening credits, restored to their original Western presentation (1:58)
Archival Interview with Yien Biao (12:29 in SD)
Archival Interview with Mang Hoi (17:40)
Archival interview with Moon Lee (21:16)
Trailer (3:29)

Limited Edition O-CARD with new artwork by Darren Wheeling [2000 units]
PLUS: A collector s booklet featuring new writing on the film [2000 units]


Blu-ray Release Date:
April 20th, 2020
Transparent Blu-ray Case inside slipcase (see below)

Chapters 10

 

 

Comments:

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

ADDITION: Eureka Classics Blu-ray (May 2020): Eureka Classics have transferred Tsui Hark's Zu: Warriors from the Magic Mountain to Blu-ray. It is cited as being from a "brand new 2K restoration". It is on a dual-layered disc with a high bitrate in the 1.85:1 aspect ratio. It looks very good, if having some moments of inconsistency. The 1080P resolution allows you to see occasional 'wire' used for effects. The latter, more extravagant, special effects look pretty wild but, still sometimes, primitive with heightened dramaticism for the representation of magic. This is actually part of the film's appeal, imo. It is easy to identify some of it with Nobuhiko Obayashi's Hausu. So, yes, a few sequences looking compromised by the a less-effective source - but they are few and far between and the overall presentation is a delightful one - more power to the film's, convoluted, and unrestrained art direction. Grain is evident and colors appear to carry some depth. Occasional warts and all - I really enjoyed it.

On their Blu-ray, Eureka Classics use DTS-HD Master mono tracks (24-bit) in both Cantonese and an, sync-challenged, English language DUB. It has, predictably, 'intense' sound effects - frequently in choreographed battle scenes. There isn't a ton of depth but a stable high-end - which we often don't find in these Hong Kong action films of the 70s and 80s. There is a score by Sing-Yau Kwan (Adventures of a Little Savage), sounding consistent and clean. Eureka Classics offer optional English subtitles on their Region 'B' Blu-ray.

Firstly, Eureka include on their Blu-ray the export cut of the film, entitled Zu: Time Warrior, produced for European theatres, featuring a wraparound segment with Yuen Biao as a modern-day college student who is transported, Wizard of Oz style, to 10th Century China. It runs over 1.5 hours, is in 1080P but exported with a weak bitrate of only 12 Mbps. It is a decent curiosity to include. I haven't fully listened to the new audio commentary by critic and Asian cinema expert Tony Rayns, but I did notice a significant gap - although I will check that it is not my system. He is, as always, great - especially on the historical aspects of these productions, he mentioned some homo-erotic scenes and I look forward to fully indulging soon. He is the best for Asian film. Also included is a brand new interview with Tsui Hark. It is a lengthy (over an hour) and in-depth interview with director Tsui Hark filmed in 2020 exclusively for this release. he is frank and interesting. We get a 22-minute episode of Son of the Incredibly Strange Film Show which originally aired on British television in 1989. The series is presented by Jonathan Ross focusing on the world of "psychotronic" or B movies. It's fun. There are alternate opening credits, restored to their original Western presentation, a 13-minute archival Interview with Yien Biao in SD, plus interviews with Mang Hoi and Moon Lee plus a trailer. The package has a Limited Edition O-CARD with new artwork by Darren Wheeling and a collector's booklet featuring new writing on the film - both limited to 2000 units.

Tsui Hark's Zu: Warriors from the Magic Mountain is a delightful mix of comedy, supernatural (magic) and, of course, martial arts (Wuxia). It's a film that rarely lets up with constant conventions of the genres that it is, almost, parodying. It's the most fun I have had with one of these Hong Kong efforts in a long while.  The Eureka Classics Blu-ray has a lot of value with a stacked package that includes a Tony Rayns commentary, booklet and interviews, plus the export cut of the film - despite its weak quality. Still, very much worth indulging for fans of the director or multiple genres. It's a blast.

Gary Tooze

 


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Distribution Eureka Classics - Region 'B' - Blu-ray


 


 

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