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4.2 out of 5 stars25
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on October 25, 2011
Before you purchase this movie and expect to see "The Five Venoms" type kung fu or post-1975 Lau Kar-Leung choreography, let me just say it isn't that. Shaw Brothers films in the early 1970s, even the ones directed by the maestro, Chang Cheh & choreographed by Lau sifu, were still getting to that level. Chang re-invented HK action cinema only five to seven years earlier. With that said, I still really like this movie. Along with "The Pirate", "The Savage Five" & "Deadly Duo" this is one of the best early Ti Lung/David Chiang pictures. It even co-stars Chen Kuan-Tai. What makes this even more significant (at least to me) is that the story is based on an actual historical scandal that the Ching government attempted to cover up.

This is my take on this picture; first, the movie-Great storytelling, despite being nearly two hours I was never bored, creative visuals and an ending that hits ya right here, know what I mean? Second, the choreography-OK, OK it doesn't compare to Lau sifu's post-1975 work (when he started directing) or the Venoms, but it's good for it's time. It's sturdy, good old-school fu that paved the way, that opening fight between Ti Lung & Chen Kuan-Tai is exciting, yo! Third, the DVD presentation-Dragon Dynasty did a fantastic job with the remastering; correct ShawScope ratio, your choice of English or Mandarin, remastered subtitles (not dubtitles like "Hard-Boiled") and decent box cover art. No special features, but what are ya gonna do? I don't expect everyone to agree with me, different people think differently, but if you are a Shaw and/or Chang Cheh fan, I think you can't go wrong here. One of my personal faves from Chang Cheh's 1965-1974 period.
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on September 29, 2011
Blood Brothers was a decent Shaw film for plot and storyline, but it wasn't a hard hitter in the martial arts department.

The film is actually based on a well documented incident during the Ching Dynasty. In it Chang Wen (David Chiang) and Huang Chung (Chen Kuan Tai) are friends who work as bandits. Huang also happens to be married to Mi Lan, an attractive girl, but she's too conservative for Huang's tastes. As a result, he tends to spend most of his time with other women who prefer his wild approach to life. Mi Lan is aware of his cheating however and it creates a greater divide between them as the movie progresses.

Eventually Ma Hsin (Ti Lung)happens down the road where the two men are waiting to rob him. While Huang and Chang attempt to fight him on the road, Mi Lan sneaks up on the scene and rides off with his silver on her horse. Chang and Huang also retreat confident that they got away with their robbery without a hitch. Soon afterward though Ma Hsin tracks them down. To their surprise he doesn't t try to fight them again. Instead he convinces Huang and Chang to join him in an effort to do more with their lives, somehting their ancestors could be proud of. The three of them band together as blood brothers and take out the local bandit leader. Then they take charge of the bandit cheifs men. Soon they start the process of training the group in Kung Fu while they also teach them to become more respectable in society.

As time goes by however,the divide between Huang and Mi Lan grows. She feels discarded by him as he chases around other women. However her and Ma Hsin begin to become attracted to one another. Realizing that the new love triangle could ruin there Blood Brother status, Ma Hsin decides to leave. Chang seems to be aware of the situation though, while Haung is oblivious to the whole idea that his wife has fallen for a Ma Hsin. He doesn't pay attention to her enough to notice.

Five years pass by and Ma Hsin becomes a respected general in the army. He's assinged the task of taking out the local rebel bands scattered around the country. He realizes that he needs help though so he calls on his Blood Brothers to join him. Together the three of them win several battles over the rebels and their reputations rise greatly, particuarly Ma Hsin's. Ma Hsin and Mi Lan are still attrated to one another though and eventually they act on it. Meanwhile Chang realizes what's going on between them and is torn about what to do. His best friend's wife is now cheating on him with his other blood brother. Ma Hsin must also worry about the growing gossip which could effect his reputation as a general. Betrayal, anger and fights follow as the blood brothers try to sort through their differences. The film sorts itself out in the end, I won't spoil it for you.

Well Blood Brothers had a very strong plot and storyline to it. I found the whole love triangle theme with a third person on the side lines viewing it from his point of view interesting.

While the film has a decent storyline and big name kung fu stars, it fails to have great kung fu action. We do get to see several fights though both with and without weapons, but the film was definately focusing more on the plot. So hard core kung fu fans may be disappointed by this one.

The tech aspects include the film in Mandrian with eng subtitles and an English dubbed track. The picture quality is good and the film is presented in widescreen. No other features appear except for a trailer of another film.

Overall I gave the film four stars. It had a good storyline to it and held together well, likely because it was based on a ture story. The acting is good, and I actually liked David Chiang in the film the best. The Kung Fu could have been stronger, but there was enough to carry the film through to the end and at least they wern't just mindless brawls every ten minutes. A good rental if you like Shaw Bros films with a strong plot, or an ok film if you don't mind lower level choreographed fights.
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on June 8, 2014
Great action, great fight scenes, skillful actors. The plots tend to always be the same (avenging a murdered master, rescuing a kidnapped girl, challenging a drug lord, etc….). But I watch them for the great choreographed fight scenes.
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on October 10, 2011
I collect old school kung fu; I love when I can find an original language, remastered one. I have had a copy of Blood Brothers for years, and watched it again recently. It casts, what is probably, the second wave of Shaw Brothers kung fu classic super stars in Ti Lung (love this dude), David Chiang (not much of a fan), and Chen Kuan-Tai (Love this dude too). The Dragon Dynasty DVDs are in original language, which is what many true collectors want. This is a beautiful epic, no, it is not your low budget kick-ass all the time, chop-socky flick. It is based on a real story about brotherhood, ambition, loyalty, betrayal, and forbidden love. One of its greatest achievements is in its casting of Ti Lung (who usually plays the gallant hero) as a villain, with whom one can almost empathize - and actually love. In interviews, he has said that this was the type of role that no one of his caliber and reputation wanted to take on, and it took some convincing to get Shaws to cast him in the role.
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on March 17, 2013
While not one of my Favorites from Shaw Brothers it's worth having in my slowly growing collection. I think it ranks a little lower on my list because Ti lung's character is kind of a rat. Knew from the get go I wasn't going to like that woman(Chin Li's character) and I was right. Both David Chiang and Kuan Tai Chen do justice to their characters as well.

The transfer to dvd is excellent picture quality and the subtitles what you would expect from an old movie.
There is an English dubbed version but I didn't/won't watch it.
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on January 19, 2014
First I want to compliment, the people that "remastered and restored", this movie. They did a superb job! The image quality is clean and sharp even for a regular dvd version.

The bad news is that, Blood Brothers truly sucks! The story and its pacing is slow and boring. There are too many awkward, silent moments even when its not in the context of the movie or character Interactions.

There are many scenes where characters are walking through long open fields, as the camera follows one end to the other (when they could have easily EDITED those scenes).

The fights are few and far apart, with lots of slow moving hand to hand combat. There are way better martial arts movies than this. I especially recommend you BUY two of the best ever:

1- Five Element Ninjas
2- Avenging Eagle

As for Blood Brothers...dont buy!
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on December 2, 2014
I saw this movie probably 25 years ago as a kid watching Kung Fu Theater on USA and remembered thinking it was awesome. This review is not on the quality of the movie (transfer and sound), but on the actual movie itself. I was able to catch it on El Rey the other night and it definitely brought back memories. There are three types of these movies (in my opinion), either mostly drama with a little bit of fighting, about 50/50, and ones that are mostly fighting. Personally, I prefer the mostly fighting movies such as "the master", "kung fu instructor", "avenging eagle" and the "crippled avengers". This is one of the 50/50 movies. The story is actually pretty good overall, and there's plenty of fighting. However, I really thought that the fighting scenes were without energy in a lot of cases, like they were almost moving too slowly. It was only during the final fight scene where I thought they really looked like they were putting a lot of effort into it. Positives are the good story line, as well as seeing David Chiang and Ti Lung and also Kuan Tai Chen. Also, you don't see too many san-setsu-kan nunchaku in these so that was nice too! Overall though, definitely worth watching at least once and for $5 probably justifiable to own. Cons, the movie goes on for 15 minutes too long, the fighting seemed kind of tired in places, the picture was just ok on El Rey and the sound was definitely not the best quality, and the shaolin pole five finger death punch thursdays usually showcase pretty good looking kung fu flicks. This movie also had the most number of people rolling downhill after being killed I've ever seen! At first I thought I was imagining it but by the end I was laughing out loud everytime somebody rolled down a hill! More like 3.5 stars but I'll round up to 4.
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on February 11, 2013
Unfortunately I ordered the same film mistake. The film was also presented as a dual package, there
fore I ended up with two copies of the same film. They were quite excellent in format and story-telling. I really
enjoyed the action scenes and the actors who portrayed each character in the film. Excellent production and
direction by the 'masters' of martial arts films...the Shaw Brothers.
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on October 6, 2006
I was highly impressed with the quality of acting and the very gripping story line the overall production and the sets in this film are great, I'm a big Chen Kuan Ti fan which is why I purchased this movie. I would recommend this movie to any of those haters out there that think that martial art movies are not a serious genre and that good acting and a good story does exist in some of these movies.
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on August 4, 2006
I got this movie for Ti Lung, Chen Kuan Tai, and David Chiang. Wow, was I surprised at what I got. Ti Lung is probably the best kung fu "actor" maybe ever and David Chiang proves to be close behind him in this film. In a setting somewhat similar to the movie Hero, David Chiang plays a prisoner who explains why he assassinated a general of the Qing army. What unfolds is a very captivating story of 2 bandits (Kuan Tai and Chiang) and an officer of the Qing army who meet by chance on the road and become friends. The kung fu is pretty good but watching Chen Kuan Tai when he was first coming up is spectacular. I have never seen him look better while he is jumping around, doing kicks, and displaying some of the fiercest fighting I have seen from him. With a woman involved and an unusually GREAT story from Cheng Cheh and of course Ni Kuang, this is as good as a war "epic" you are going to get from the Shaw Brothers studios. And with it being directed by Cheh, we certainly get a heroic ending. Hard to explain, it is the same as his other movies, but when the Cheng Cheh ending comes around this time, it was much deeper than any Venom's film.

Don't buy this movie expecting one of the fastest paced, greatest mind blowing kung fu movies ever, it is just a great movie.
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