THE YOUNG MASTER DELUXE EDITION 88 FILMS BLU RAY REVIEW

88 films have been so near to a major label for years now. Great film choices, check, Great content, check, staggering releases? Almost. If you could name any international film star, any where in the world outside Hollywood, then my guess first on the list is Jackie Chan. Though a major star even when THE YOUNG MASTER was made, he today is super stellar. The film that launched him, his brand and his film making skill was THE YOUNG MASTER however. Chan stars (and directs) playing as  Dragon Lung. He and his brother Tiger (Wei Pai) are members of a martial arts school. Tiger is seen as the best of the best and Dragon is lagging behind. Entered against a rival school in a ‘Lion Dance’ competition they have every chance of winning. Winning means financial rescue. Tiger, pulls out injured when he falls from a ladder, leaving Dragon to take his place. During the competition, Dragon realizes that his brother feigned his accident in order to take part in the competition for the rival school.

The rival school wins the competition. Mostly because they know where the weaknesses are and where they can exploit. Dragon knows his brother betrayed him, his master and the school which he helped to build. Anger floods over and he now must take revenge, make amends and rebuild himself as a warrior, outside of his brothers shadow. Classic story, classic structure and classic ideas of redemption and the power of the one versus many. Chan now takes over the classic redemption narrative with a skillful side step of action, adventure, comedy and , to nick an Indian expression for this brand of cinema, ‘Maasala’. Building back up his physical body in a series of vinegaettes. Playing coy with a young and beautiful woman and being better in the eyes of a grand master, Chan does it all, with tempo and taste refind for his audience. Its interesting how 88 Films have allowed us to see the three cuts.

What these three do is enable us to understand how and what worked for each audience. The 2K Hong Kong Theatrical Cut remaster looks stunning. My VHS copy (which is not the HK cut but the International one) looked terrible. Here the sheen of exterior light is there. Interiors look better balanced and finally, the colouring is correct. Also the HK cut is longer. Bending the audience there with its tale of superior and inferior. The journey is longer and the jokes are more exagerated. It is my preferred cut in truth for a bunch of reasons (mainly because you have more final fight). However the other telling thing is that you get more Chan. More toughing up and reaching out to better himself. Its a journey that is worth it.  I recommend HK Cinema Expert Brandon ‘OldPangYau’ Bentley commentary. Bentley knows his stuff and explores the regions films and the heavy influence of this film and its star. The Art of the Cut: Editing of The Young Master is also worth looking at to understand my point above. You can understand how Chan films in a way to focus on him exerting his artistry of martial arts and mental strength.  “The Cut Master” A collection of rare deleted, extended, and alternate footage also does the same but from the view of actual scenes that can be examined and understood via the real, exercised footage. William Blaik essay is well worth reading here for a bunch of reasons. Mainly the reason of where Chan came from and how he saw himself. The cut scenes and the HK cut can really be seen through this as Chan coming to the fore.

International Export Cut however is a different beast and one that many in the UK are familiar with. My old Dragon VHS is this version. Its tighter than the above, more action orientated and less focused on the swagger of fight, comedy and star. Chan actually comes out best here. As the excellent Audi Sorlie & Chris Ling commentary focuses on. When we saw him on screen in the west, he was quicker, faster and more energetic. My only issue here is that they used the classic dub which makes me laugh more now then the past vision. The History of Martial Arts on Video by Tim Murray, which is the best thing in the booklet by a mile, explores this relationship both for the viewer and the video brnads that loved to pump out martial arts films. Japans Extended Export Cut was always a thing talked of in school. We always spoke of how we knew that a version in Japan was around. More violent and more action lead. Well those things were half truths. Its similar to the HK cut in the final fight (thankfully) and is more violent than the International version. But now having watched the HK version, it is my least preferred.

 

Limited Edition

  • RIGID Slipcase with brand-new artwork from R.P. “Kung Fu Bob” O’Brien
  • Reversible sleeve with alternative Hong Kong poster artwork
  • Double-sided foldout Poster
  • 6 Replica Lobby Cards
  • 80-page perfect-bound book featuring 3 new essays + selected archive materials: Jackie Chan – The Early Years: From Stuntman to Superstar by William Blaik (Fighting Spirit Film Festival), The History of Martial Arts on Video by Tim Murray & Fan-Tastic! Jackie Chan Begins Again by James Olive r

DISC 1

  • New 2K Remaster of the Hong Kong Theatrical Cut [106 minutes]
  • Restored from the original 35mm camera negative in 2.35:1 Aspect Ratio
  • Cantonese Mono Theatrical Mix
  • Cantonese Mono Home Video Mix
  • Cantonese Hybrid Mix
  • English 5.1 Dub
  • Newly remastered English subtitles
  • Audio Commentary with HK Cinema Expert Brandon ‘OldPangYau’ Bentley
  • Rick Baker on The Young Master
  • The Art of the Cut: Editing of The Young Master [21 mins]
  • Extended Fight Scenes: reconstructed and previously unavailable [6 mins]
  • “The Cut Master” A collection of rare deleted, extended, and alternate footage [13 mins]
  • [archive] Jackie Chan Interview [8 mins]
  • [archive] The Master: An Interview with Master Whang In Sik [28 mins]
  • NG (no good) shots [10 mins]
  • Alternate Audio Clip
  • Hong Kong trailer
  • Extended Hong Kong trailer
  • Japanese trailer
  • US Home Video Trailer
  • English trailer
  • Hong Kong Trailer Park

DISC 2

  • International Export Cut [90 minutes]
    Restored especially for the 40th Anniversary of the film, this version was commissioned by Golden Harvest for audiences outside Asia Contains the Classic English Dub and an alternate soundtrack featuring the song ‘Kung Fu Fighting Man’ performed in English by Jackie Chan
  • Audio Commentary with HK cinema aficionados & game producers Audi Sorlie & Chris Ling
  • Extended Export Cut [99 minutes]
    Released exclusively in Japan on 21st March 1981 by Toho-Towa, this version is broadly similar to the export cut. Although shorter than the Hong Kong cut, this composite cut features the uncut final fight and ending from said Hong Kong cut; alternate scenes, also included in the 90 minute export cut and the full-length export English Dub with alternate soundtrack
  • English SDH

TECHNICAL SPECS

  • Region Code: B
  • Audio: LPCM Mono / DTS-HD MA 5.1
  • Picture: 1080p HD 2.35:1
  • Runtime: 106 / 90 / 99 Mins Approx.
  • Language: English / Cantonese

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