SHAWSCOPE VOLUME ONE – LIMITED EDITION

Shawscope means so much to so many. The Shaw brothers were a force for cinematic good and power. Hong Kong cinema that recast heroes and heroics. It was the cinema of my youth that brought together many of my friends that were of many races, religions and cultures. All to watch the flying, force filled master works. The Shaw Brothers or real-life brothers Run Run and Runme Shaw, responded by producing hundreds of the most iconic action films ever made when they were at the edge of the industry due to a change in viewer tastes. Unbeatable widescreen cinema, with the highest of production values, with excellent chorography, great fight scenes and just generally good cinema. Arrow Video now presents a box set for us all SHAWSCOPE VOLUME ONE!

FILMS IN SET

Right I wont review all or any of the films, I will instead get to the point about the set and if it is worth that £120 pounds they are asking of you! So best to do top 4 pros and cons score and see which tops out.

PROS: There are twelve great films from the Shaw canon. Classics like THE KING BOXER ( or Five Fingers of Death if you are US based), the great creature feature classic MIGHTY PEKING MAN and the classic brutal fest THE BOXER FROM SHANTUNG top the sets most wanted.

CONS: The set has a few duds on it. CRIPPLED AVENGERS is about as average a film as you can get and seems to not stand up to the rest. DIRTY HO is bearable, like a stinking fart in a room with the windows closed. It is still ok mind.

Films on the set King BoxerThe Boxer From ShantungFive Shaolin MastersShaolin TempleMighty Peking ManChallenge of the MastersExecutioners From ShaolinChinatown KidThe Five VenomsCrippled AvengersHeroes of the East and Dirty Ho.

PROS 1 CONS 0

RESTORATIONS

PROS: The restorations in 2K here are all high, yes HIGH quality. This is a major selling point to the price. Take the excellent CHALLENGE OF THE MASTERS, which has never looked as good, nor as fresh on screen. Though VHS would have dulled it, I have to say it looks wonderful.

CONS: Only 7 films have really been given any love. MIGHTY PEKING MAN is the same, yes same, Print as 88 Films release.

PROS 1 CONS 1

SHAW COVERAGE

PROS: It has a lot of the 1970s output. This is to say respectfully that the foundations of HK cinema acrobatic (often lifted from Chinese Theatre). There are also fan favourites that explain the whole mechanics of the era like FIVE SHAOLIN MASTERS and its sequel SHAOLIN TEMPLE.

CONS: Its all about the 70s. None of the richer fantasy of the 60s or the erratic 80s films.

PROS 2 CONS 1

EXTRAS

PROS: Some excellent extras here. Arrow have avoided the usual cast of voices and gone for the actual Shaw film academics and lovers. The addition of the Frédéric Ambroisine interviews is excellent.

CONS: NONE

PROS 3 CONS 1

 

  • High Definition (1080p) Blu-ray presentations of all twelve films, including seven new 2K restorations by Arrow Films
  • Illustrated 60-page collectors’ book featuring new writing by David Desser, Terrence J. Brady and James Flower, plus cast and crew listings and notes on each film by Simon Abrams
  • New artwork by Sam Gilbey, Matthew Griffin, Chris Malbon, Jacob Phillips, Ilan Sheady, Tony Stella, Darren Wheeling and Jolyon Yates
  • Hours of never-before-seen bonus features, including several cast and crew interviews from the Frédéric Ambroisine Video Archive
  • Two CDs of music from the De Wolfe Music library as heard in six of the films, exclusive to this collection

Disc One – King Boxer

  • Brand new 2K restoration by Arrow Films from a 4K scan of the original negative
  • Newly restored uncompressed Mandarin and English original mono audio
  • Newly translated English subtitles for the Mandarin audio, plus English hard-of-hearing subtitles for the English dub
  • Brand new commentary by David Desser, co-editor of The Journal of Japanese and Korean Cinema and The Cinema of Hong Kong
  • Newly filmed appreciation by film critic and historian Tony Rayns
  • Interview with director Chung Chang-wha, filmed in 2003 and 2004 by Frédéric Ambroisine
  • Interview with star Wang Ping, filmed in 2007 by Frédéric Ambroisine
  • Interview with Korean cinema expert Cho Young-jung, author of Chung Chang-wha: Man of Action, filmed in 2005 by Frédéric Ambroisine
  • Cinema Hong Kong: Kung Fu, the first in a three-part documentary on Shaw Brothers’ place within the martial arts genre produced by Celestial Pictures in 2003, featuring interviews with Jackie Chan, Jet Li, John Woo, Sammo Hung, Gordon Liu, Lau Kar-leung, Cheng Pei-pei, David Chiang and many others
  • Alternate opening credits from the American version titled Five Fingers of Death
  • Hong Kong, US and German theatrical trailers, plus US TV and radio spots
  • Image gallery

Disc Two – The Boxer From Shantung

  • Brand new 2K restoration by Arrow Films from a 4K scan of the original negative
  • Newly restored uncompressed Mandarin and English original mono audio
  • Newly translated English subtitles for the Mandarin audio, plus English hard-of-hearing subtitles for the English dub
  • Interview with star Chen Kuan-tai, filmed in 2007 by Frédéric Ambroisine
  • Interview with assistant director John Woo, filmed in 2004 by Frédéric Ambroisine
  • Interview with star David Chiang, filmed in 2003 by Frédéric Ambroisine
  • Conversation between stars Chen Kuan-tai and Ku Feng, filmed at a Shaw Brothers reunion in 2007 by Frédéric Ambroisine
  • Hong Kong and German theatrical trailers, plus US TV spot
  • Image gallery

Disc Three – Five Shaolin Masters / Shaolin Temple

  • Uncompressed Mandarin and English original mono audio for both films
  • Newly translated English subtitles for both films, plus English hard-of-hearing subtitles for the English dub
  • Newly filmed appreciation of Chang Cheh by film critic and historian Tony Rayns
  • Interview with star Kong Do, filmed in 2003 by Frédéric Ambroisine
  • Elegant Trails: David Chiang and Elegant Trails: Ti Lung, two featurettes on the actors produced by Celestial Pictures in 2003
  • Alternate standard-definition version of Shaolin Temple
  • Alternate opening credits from Five Masters of Death, the US version of Five Shaolin Masters
  • Alternate opening credits sequences for Shaolin Temple
  • US and German trailers for Five Shaolin Masters
  • Hong Kong and German trailers for Shaolin Temple
  • Image galleries for both films

Disc Four – Mighty Peking Man

  • Uncompressed Mandarin and English original mono audio
  • Newly translated English subtitles for the Mandarin audio, plus English hard-of-hearing subtitles for the English dub
  • Brand new commentary by Travis Crawford
  • Brand new interview with suit designer Keizo Murase, filmed in 2021 by Daisuke Sato and Yoshikazu Ishii
  • Interview with director Ho Meng-hua, filmed in 2003 by Frédéric Ambroisine
  • Interview with star Ku Feng, filmed in 2004 by Frédéric Ambroisine
  • Behind-the-scenes Super 8 footage from the archives of Keizo Murase
  • ‘Unrestored’ standard-definition version
  • Alternate opening credits from Goliathon, the US version of Mighty Peking Man
  • Hong Kong, US, German and Dutch theatrical trailers, plus US TV spot
  • Image gallery

Disc Five – Challenge Of The Masters / Executioners From Shaolin

  • Brand new 2K restoration of Challenge of the Masters from the original negative by Arrow Films
  • Uncompressed Mandarin and English original mono audio for both films, plus Cantonese mono for Challenge of the Masters
  • Newly translated English subtitles for both films, plus English hard-of-hearing subtitles for the English dubs
  • Newly filmed appreciation of Lau Kar-leung by film critic and historian Tony Rayns
  • Interview with star Gordon Liu, filmed in 2002 by Frédéric Ambroisine
  • Interview with star Chen Kuan-tai, filmed in 2007 by Frédéric Ambroisine
  • Textless opening credits for Challenge of the Masters
  • Alternate English credits for Executioners from Shaolin
  • Hong Kong theatrical trailers for Challenge of the Masters
  • Hong Kong and US theatrical trailers for Executioners from Shaolin
  • Image galleries for both films

Disc Six – Chinatown Kid:

  • Brand new 2K restoration of the 115-minute International Version from original film elements
  • 90-minute Alternate Version
  • Uncompressed original Cantonese audio for the International Version, with newly translated English subtitles
  • Uncompressed original English audio for the International Version, with optional hard-of-hearing subtitles
  • Uncompressed original Mandarin audio for the Alternate Version, with newly translated English subtitles
  • Select scene video commentary by co-star Susan Shaw from 2021
  • Elegant Trails: Fu Sheng, a featurette on the actor produced by Celestial Pictures in 2005
  • Hong Kong, US and German theatrical trailers, plus US TV spot
  • Image gallery

Disc Seven – The Five Venoms/Crippled Avengers

  • Brand new 2K restorations of both films from the original negatives by Arrow Films
  • Uncompressed Mandarin and English original mono audio for both films plus Cantonese mono for The Five Venoms
  • Newly translated English subtitles for both films, plus English hard-of-hearing subtitles for the English dubs
  • Brand new commentary on The Five Venoms by critic Simon Abrams
  • Interview with star Lo Meng, filmed in 2003 by Frédéric Ambroisine
  • Chang Cheh: The Master, a featurette about the director produced by Celestial Pictures in 2003
  • Hong Kong and US theatrical trailers for The Five Venoms
  • Hong Kong theatrical trailer for Crippled Avengers
  • Image galleries for both films

Disc Eight:

  • Brand new 2K restoration of Dirty Ho from the original negative by Arrow Films
  • Uncompressed Cantonese, Mandarin and English original mono audio for both films
  • Newly translated English subtitles for both films, plus English hard-of-hearing subtitles for the English dubs
  • Brand new commentary on Heroes of the East by Jonathan Clements, author of A Brief History of the Martial Arts
  • Newly filmed appreciation of both films by film critic and historian Tony Rayns
  • Interview with Heroes of the East star Yasuaki Kurata, filmed in 2003 by Frédéric Ambroisine
  • Alternate opening credits for Shaolin Challenges Ninja, the international version of Heroes of the East
  • Alternate English credits for Dirty Ho
  • Hong Kong theatrical trailer for Heroes of the East, plus US TV spot
  • Hong Kong theatrical trailer for Dirty Ho
  • Image galleries for both films

Disc Nine – MUSIC FROM SHAOLIN TEMPLE, MIGHTY PEKING MAN AND CHINATOWN KID (CD)

– MUSIC FROM THE FIVE VENOMS, CRIPPLED AVENGERS AND DIRTY HO (CD)

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