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Another class act from Tokyo Shock
on November 4, 2011
The first (and only time) I saw this was when I was a kid watching Drive-In Movie on channel 5 (all NJ & NY people can relate). Man, it had to be the mid-80s and it had the clumsy US title "Roar of the Lion". Honestly, back then I didn't really like it, even though it was a Shaw production, and it starred Lo "Golden Arm Kid" Mang, Johnny Wang & kung fu wiz, Chien Yueh-Sheng (Chien Siu-Ho's older brother). On TV, it was pan & scan, and I'm sure Larry Bensky had to edit about 15 to 20 minutes off of it's 109 minute running time to make it fit a two hour time slot with commercials. Also, the English dub just sucks big time (the same voices/idiots who ruined the Eng. dub of classics "Flag of Iron", "Martial Club" & "Legendary Weapons of China"). Plus, I missed the opening ten minutes where a lot of the plot is discussed. Back then it was incomprehensible, but it did have decent fu and a really cool Southern/Northern Lion dance competition.
Well, let me tell ya something, I'm glad I took a chance and bought this little 1980 gem. It's amazing what a good transfer can do, kudos to Tokyo Shock. I've noticed there are three things where Tokyo Shock rises above Dragon Dynasty; 1) great DVD covers, 2) no dubtitles (D.D. has been guilty of this a couple of times), 3) trailer/photo gallery.
I highly recommend "Lion vs Lion"; first; the movie-great performances (in the Chinese dub), now it makes sense (even though the plot has two sub-plots interwoven with it) and some beautiful (as usual with Shaw) photography. Second; the fu-great choreography by Hsu Hsia & Chien Yueh-Sheng (as Ching agent Qian Jung-He), who also both wrote & directed this. It starts off with a bang with a good fight over the opening credits (something I missed the first time). Even though Yung Wang Yu doesn't really show off his fu, there are two outstanding fights here; Johnny Wang vs Chien Yueh-Sheng & Johnny going toe-to-toe with Lo Mang. Third; the transfer-crisp remastered picture, widescreen (which benefits the fights), and in addition to the lame English dub, it also has Cantonese & Mandarin audio with remastered subtitles. No, it may not be a Chang Cheh or Lau Kar-Leung picture, but this works, 3.5 stars. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.