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46 of 53 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent portrayal of Shaolin philosophy
Caine, a Chinese-American immigrant, conflicts with a violent 1870's American West as he seeks a way of peace. The conflict that he feels within himself as a peaceful man who practices martial arts is portrayed excellently. The flashbacks that he has of conversations and lessons in a Shaolin temple are a glimpse into another world. An outstanding series.
A...
Published on February 22, 2004 by cyclista

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347 of 365 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not the Complete First Season
Although I have not watched all 15 episodes yet, I was disappointed to discover that a total of one to two minutes in each episode were cut. While the short scenes that were cut were not crucial, they do create noticeable gaps in the smooth telling of the story.
It appears that the master tape used to make the DVD was not taken from the original series, but from a...
Published on March 22, 2004 by Keith Sargent


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347 of 365 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not the Complete First Season, March 22, 2004
By 
Keith Sargent (Rockville, Maryland USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Kung Fu: Season 1 (DVD)
Although I have not watched all 15 episodes yet, I was disappointed to discover that a total of one to two minutes in each episode were cut. While the short scenes that were cut were not crucial, they do create noticeable gaps in the smooth telling of the story.
It appears that the master tape used to make the DVD was not taken from the original series, but from a shortened version that was edited to make room for additional commercials when the show was shown in recent years. The total run time for each episode is 50 minutes.
It is also not "complete" because the top and bottom of the screen have been cut to make it fit a widescreen format.
I purchased the DVD because, although I had recorded the series on VHS, I did not have all the episodes. Therefore, I am happier with the DVD than without it; but I can only give it three stars since this is not the "complete first season." It has been cropped and shortened.
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115 of 123 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Horrible cropping of image is unacceptable...AVOID!, March 22, 2004
By 
S. Phillips (Las Vegas, NV United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Kung Fu: Season 1 (DVD)
A TV series from 1972 is not intended for widescreen presentation. The original image has been cropped, cutting off heads, feet, and other things in the process.
I am all for widescreen presentations of widescreen movies, because I want to see the image as intended. However, in this case, they are doing the opposite, by changing the image to fit new 16X9 monitors, they have destroyed the original composition.
Do not sit still for this. Can you image I LOVE LUCY with the top and bottom of the picture cropped out? The converyor belt scene in the chocolate factory would be ruined....
Widescreen movies and recent widescreen TV shows should be widescreen on DVD, no question.
However, older non-widescreen movies and TV series should be presented as intended, not edited and cropped to placate owners of 16X9 sets who don't know any better. Besides, if those owners want to crop the images to fit their widescreens, they can do so with a button on their remotes.
Cropping a 32 year old TV series? Ridiculous.
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61 of 64 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Love and destruction, April 16, 2004
By A Customer
This review is from: Kung Fu: Season 1 (DVD)
I was 11, and I loved this series. I love it now, at 43. A gentle man tries to survive while doing as little damage as possible, and sometimes offering a bit of help. However skillfully written or choreographed the episodes were, the central message of kindness remained. I see many flaws today that I didn't at age 11, but who cares? Caine was one of my most beloved teachers. That will never change.
I subtract TWO STARS for the cropping. I swear it did not even occur to me to look at the box for the ratio! Who on earth would crop a TV show? Listen, I always check the ratio on films, and I was in the vanguard of widescreen proponents, in the 80's when no one gave a damn about it. But the whole point is to RETAIN INFORMATION, to avoid destruction of the artist's creation. Somebody decided Kung Fu did not deserve that much respect. They were wrong.
So I have mixed feelings. I'm sorry I bought the tattered version, but I have watched a few episodes and they made me as happy as they did in 1972. Clean look, clean sound. If you love this series, buy it and enjoy it. But I am still hoping for an untattered version. If they produce that, I will buy it instantly, and give the widescreen version to an 11 year old.
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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Better than I remembered, but DVD too flawed to buy., May 25, 2004
By 
David Stager (West Hampstead, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Kung Fu: Season 1 (DVD)
I truly love these DVD box sets of entire seasons of shows. I buy the good ones to encourage their creation. As DVD box sets go, this isn't a good one. The advance information about the shows being cropped for 16:9 and edited for time was reason enough for me to rent instead of buy this collection. These flaws to me are fatal.
You buy the DVD to get the best version available. If I want to watch something shot in 4:3 at 16:9 I can adjust my set. The three star rating is based solely on the quality of the program. The technical quality of the DVD is the source of any flaws I find in this box set and I have to subtract at least two stars for that alone. No reservations about recommending the show itself.
The show itself is better than I remembered. I can appreciate it more now as an adult than as I kid. Very nicely done and the first season of episodes are some of the best. Episode 10 with Jodie Foster is among the best of the bunch in this collection.
I sincerely hope that future editions of this DVD, perhaps a complete box set of all seasons of Kung Fu will correct the technical flaws. They simply must transfer from the original elements of the show at the original aspect ratio and not edit the episodes for time. It was a sloppy mistake. This show deserved better care and attention.
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46 of 53 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent portrayal of Shaolin philosophy, February 22, 2004
By 
This review is from: Kung Fu: Season 1 (DVD)
Caine, a Chinese-American immigrant, conflicts with a violent 1870's American West as he seeks a way of peace. The conflict that he feels within himself as a peaceful man who practices martial arts is portrayed excellently. The flashbacks that he has of conversations and lessons in a Shaolin temple are a glimpse into another world. An outstanding series.
A brief episode guide:
Pilot: Kung Fu: The Way of the Tiger, The Sign of the Dragon. Caine flees to the United States after killing the Emperor's nephew.
1. King of the Mountain: A bounty hunter looking for Caine endangers a woman rancher and a homeless boy. guest star (gs): John Saxon.
2. Dark Angel: Caine helps a blinded preacher learn to use his other senses. gs: Robert Carradine, John Carradine.
3. Blood Brother : Caine seeks justice for a murdered friend.
4. An Eye for An Eye: A rape victim wants Caine's help to get revenge. (This episode won Emmy's for best director and cinematographer.)
5. The Tide: A woman with an ulterior motive helps a seriously injured Caine.
6. The Soul Is the Warrior: Caine helps a sheriff facing death.
7. Nine Lives: A miner looks for a cat to replace the cat he accidentally killed. gs: Geraldine Brooks.
8. Sun and Cloud Shadow: Caine acts as intermediary between Chinese miners and a mine owner.
9. Chains: Caine escapes from prison shackled to another prisoner.
10. Alethea: A young girl testifies that she saw Caine murder a man. gs: Jodie Foster.
11. The Praying Mantis Kills: A young boy defends the jail against the men who killed his father.
12. Superstition: When Caine is forced to work in a mine, a landslide traps him inside.
13. The Stone: In a story about a large uncut diamond, Caine becomes involved with a former Brazilian slave and three boys seeking revenge. gs: Gregory Sierra.
14. The Third Man: A gunman kills a gambler who had already been attacked by thieves. gs: Sheree North.
15. The Ancient Warrior: An dying Indian warrior wants to die at his burial place, in the middle of an Indian-hating town.
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23 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Kung Fu The Legend Continues, January 13, 2012
Ok this is a total bummer since obviously the thing exists, just not in the U.S.....it sucks that there is a version available on Amazon but a version that does NOT play on American dvd players. Why is that? If this one exists that can play in other regions, then why can't they get it together to release one that plays in the United States. Really people....get with the program and get this thing released in the United States. I will be first in line to buy it. Thanks.
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34 of 39 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars tape to DVD - frame by frame comparison - choped, March 17, 2004
By 
Troy Edwards (MANCHESTER, NH USA) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
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This review is from: Kung Fu: Season 1 (DVD)
I own the tape version of the pilot movie, so I did a frame by frame comparison (first frame when scenes change was how I marked frames)
Unquestionably, they choped the top and bottom (indiscriminately too), and NOTHING extra on the sides.
4 stars for the series: Despite the fact that the fighting looked like it was choreographed by 3rd graders. The wisdom, while clear, was subtle (unlike the 2nd series, where it was done to impress - look at me, I'm saying something you don't understand), the flashbacks were well intergrated, and the stories were just plain great.
2 stars for the DVD: OK, the color was much improved upon over the tape. Unfortuanately it goes downhill fast from there. Artifacts and scratches were not removed. And, after a frame by frame comparison (see above details), it was clearly choped. What's worse, is that there was no effort made to scan up or down when needed.
There are many times when they could have made the cut completely off the bottom, without affecting the scene at all. Yet instead, they decided to just cut off the same distance from top and bottom, and cut off a piece of someone's head!?
All that said, the series was good enough, and the price cheap enough, that I'll probably buy the next two seasons when they come out.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Intelligent & Brillant. Snatch the pebble from my hand., May 1, 2004
By 
Otto Yuen (Toronto, ON Canada) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Kung Fu: Season 1 (DVD)
"Work. Wander. Rest when I can." Shaolin priest Kwai Chang Caine starts his journey after he murders the Chinese Emperor's cousin. I watched the re-run when I was a very small kid. I only recalled some cool fighting scenses, the flashbacks of Caine's Shaolin beginnings with Master Kan & Master Po, and Caine always beats up the bad guys and continues his journey. I didn't appreciate much.
I purchased and watched this DVD set 20 years later. Wow, I couldn't believe that every single episode is telling brillant and intelligent philosopy. You wouldn't be surprised to find lots of good and rich dialogs from each episode as well. I really think this is a great TV series. As Master Kan tells the young Caine, "Snatch the pebble from my hand. If you can, you're ready to go." I think after twenty years later, I can snatch the pebble and I'm ready to fully appreciate this Kung Fu series now. I look forward the second complete season coming out.
Picture quality in this DVD set is amazingly crystal clear. Sound is excellent and it also provides different subtitles. This complete first season DVD set contains 15 episodes in 3 double-sided disc as below:
[Disc 1: Side A]
- Pilot Movie (original airdate: 2/22/72)
- Documentary: The Tao of Caine (Production and Beyond)
[Disc 1: Side B]
- King Of The Mountain (original airdate: 10/14/72)
- Dark Angel (original airdate: 11/11/72)
- Blood Brother (original airdate: 1/18/73)
- Documentary: From Grasshopper to Caine (Creaing Kung Fu)
[Disc 2: Side A]
- An Eye For An Eye (original airdate: 1/25/73)
- The Tide (original airdate: 2/1/73)
- The Soul Is The Warrior (original airdate: 2/8/73)
[Disc 2: Side B]
- Nine Lives (original airdate: 2/15/73)
- Sun And Cloud Shadow (original airdate: 2/22/73)
- Chains (original airdate: 3/15/73)
[Disc 3: Side A]
- Alethea (original airdate: 3/22/73)
- The Praying Mantis Kills (original airdate: 3/29/73)
- Superstition (original airdate: 4/5/73)
[Disc 3: Side B]
- The Stone (original airdate: 4/12/73)
- The Third Man (original airdate: 4/26/73)
- The Ancient Warrior (original airdate: 5/3/73)
Overall, highly recommended!
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Truly Epic, March 28, 2004
By 
J. M. Greer (Hexham, Northumberland United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Kung Fu: Season 1 (DVD)
I am normally a bit of a purist about aspect ratios so I was a bit nervous when I found out that Kung Fu was being reformatted. However, I have to say that a great deal of care has been taken over it and the series looks visually stunning as a result. We should remember that one of Kung Fu's strengths was the excellent editing work. In this case the image has been edited and restored so that it looks wide and sweeping. The image is anamorphically enhanced for widesreen t.v.s so the detail of the wonderful sets and landscapes can be enjoyed as they never have been previously. This stands up so well in direction, scripting and cimematography that it looks like a theatrical feature. The box is also nicely put together with beautiful photos. A few audio comentaries would not go amiss as the extras are a bit sparse.
However, the really important part of this package is the wonderful stories and drama. If you enjoyed this show and have been dissapointed by poor quality prints and commercial breaks in cable showings- buy this and watch it again for the first time.
Give the widescreen a chance and if you don't like it please be thankful that it is out on release and that people have taken care with it.
I think it is also worth pointing out that from a philosophical point of view this show is once again extrememly relevant. Lots of young people today are questioning the approaches of the adult world again in the way which they did when Kung Fu was first broadcast. When Caine is asked at the end of one of the episodes: 'If I don't have a right to revenge then who does?' Caine says 'no-one'.
This show should be required viewing for anyone who thinks guns or bombs are the way forward, whatever their political background.
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97 of 121 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Legitimate TV Classic Finally Comes to DVD, January 8, 2004
By 
E. Hornaday (Lawrenceville, NJ United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Kung Fu: Season 1 (DVD)
The TV series Kung Fu, starring David Carradine, Keye Luke and Philip Ahn, became an American popular cultural phenomenon in the 70s and richly deserves a full DVD release. It remains as unique today as it did three decades ago, and potentially as powerful.
In the 70s, America was still embroiled in the Vietnam War when Carradine, who played Kwai Chang Caine, walked barefoot into the homes of viewers portraying a Chinese priest of the Shaolin Order who was also a Kung Fu martial arts expert.
Through Caine, complex themes of religion, spirituality, philosophy, violence, peace, racism, morality, greed, human dignity and cruelty were examined each week in the guise of an off-beat Western set in the 1800s.
Caine, who was part American, was forced to flee his homeland after his mentor, Master Po, portrayed brilliantly by Luke, was murdered by a royal guardman, who in turn was killed by Caine. The royal family issued an edict to capture Caine --- dead or alive.
Caine came to America in search of his half-brother, walking from town to town following leads as to his sibling's whereabouts.
While the story seems simple enough, it afforded the show's writers ample opportunities to explore the aforementioned themes by depicting Caine's interaction with those who lived in America's Old West, illustrating through the use of extensive flash-backs, the teachings of his Shaolin masters and his Chinese martial arts training. It also provided plenty of excitement and action through Carradine's use of Kung Fu in America, which he frequently employed to protect the less fortunate or otherwise vulnerable victim.
Caine's cultural views and religious training that stressed peaceful coexistance with his fellow man, equality and non-materialism, put him at odds with most of those he encountered. Every episode presented moral choices for Caine to make between maintaining his lifestyle and philosophy, or conforming to the norms of American society. In presenting those choices, viewers also examined their own values as well as those of modern society at a time when it was imperitive to do so.
Famed martial artist and actor Bruce Lee developed the show's concept with producers and had expected to be cast as Caine. But, when cameras finally rolled on the production, it was Carradine who became Caine, and who would be forever linked to the role.
This DVD set was remastered to present the first season, including the show's pilot, in a widescreen format. I'm anxious to see what the show will look like thus depicted. However, this is one TV show that looked great in a full-screen format, so there was really no way to lose on its DVD release. I trust that the remaining seasons will also be released in very short order.
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Kung Fu: Season 1
Kung Fu: Season 1 by David Carradine (DVD - 2004)
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