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The 36th Chamber of Shaolin [Blu-ray]
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A seminal classic produced by the founding fathers of kung fu film, the Shaw Brothers, this is the story of a student who undertakes a grueling program of martial arts training at the secretive and legendary monastery of Shaolin, where he plots revenge upon the enemies who ravaged his village.
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Top Customer Reviews
One thing that sets this movie apart is that it tries to be a real movie, and it succeeds. Watching Gordon grow up into a man is remarkable to see. The commentators didn't notice, but a lot of the stuff in this movie is very real. When Gordon has to use the pole with the wieght on the end to hit the bell over and over again, that is a real weight on the end of the pole! Gordon talks in the interview (included on this disc) about how the sabres that Lo Lieh uses in the final fight are real, and it just makes the movie that much better. Dont expect your average tale of revenge. I was touched deeply when I first saw this and there are not many kung fu movies that have as much meaning and feeling.
Picture quality is remastered very well. It does get a bit darker and lighter in some scenes, but other than slight print damage once or twice, the picture quality is perfect. The Mandarin, Cantonese and English tracks all sound excellent. In fact, I have never heard the English dub sound this good. The subtitles should have been written better, and the English dub is actually a better translation. They are not horribly written, but could have been a lot better. I am not complaining though since this is the only fault on the DVD.
Special features include a great commentary from The RZA and this Andy Klein guy who does not know very much about the genre. Luckily RZA is there to help him point out actors like Lau Kar Wing, Wilson Tong and Hsiao Hou. I found the commmentary enjoyable. RZA talks about his experiences with this movie, and he is definitely a 36th Chamber expert. And I found it pretty funny that he seems to think Gordon Liu is a monk in real life.
The 17 minute interview with Gordon Liu is very interesting. He talks about many things such as training day and night and how great of an honor it was to work with a megastar like Lo Lieh. Gordon skips over the years like people should know what he is talking about, but just in case you don't, I will fill you in. In 1974 Lau Kar Leung was Chang Cheh's top action director and Gordon Liu was cast as a villain alongside Johnny Wang Lung Wei and Leung Kar Yan in movies like '7 Man Army'. When Lau Kar Leung split up with Chang Cheh he started directing his own movies for the Shaw Brothers, starting with 'Spiritual Boxer'. In his next movie 'Challenge of the Masters', Lau Kar Leung cast his younger adopted brother Gordon Liu as the lead. This is what led to Gordon becoming the star of 'The 36th Chamber of Shaolin', the greatest Shaolin Temple movie ever made.
There is a 17 minute documentary on Shaolin that is basically another 17 minutes of awesome info from Gordon Liu.
The 8 minute interview with film critic/scholars Andy Klein and David Shute is a very good description of how great of a movie this is.
The RZA gets a 10 minute interview where he talks about where he first started watching these movies and also gives his thoughts on the Shaw Brothers and explains why the Master Killer in his rap group took that name.
The trailers are the best special feature. The trailer for 'Shaolin Mantis' is very unique. Instead of showing clips from the movie, the actors introduce what kind of kung fu styles are going to be used (be sure to look for Lily Li!). Lau Kar Leung is the director of 'Shaolin Mantis' and doesn't even have a role in the movie, but he gets to show off his ultra awesome kung fu skills quite a bit in the trailer. I think I have watched this trailer about 50 times, and I will eventually master that Shadow style!
Also included are ORIGINAL trailers for 'The 36th Chamber', 'Return to the 36th Chamber', 'Disciples of the 36th Chamber', '8 Diagram Pole Fighter', 'My Young Auntie', 'One Armed Swordsman', 'Infernal Affairs 3' and the original Master Killer US TV commercial.
The last special feature is a gallery of original movie posters and movie stills.
This copy has been digitally restored, so the picture quality is better now than it probably was when it was originally made. There is also a very long interview with Gordon Liu (who is almost 70 and still kicking butt!)
Yes, this is a cheesy Kung Fu movie, but if you like cheesy old Kung Fu movies, and this isn't in your collection already, then you are missing the one & only Kung Fu movie that you should be watching-
First this is dubbed. 2nd, its poor picture quality.
Bottom line. Its a vhs, transferred to a DVD...so its on a DVD. Not DVD quality Video. If you are looking for this movie, its cool. I love the movie...but its just that there aren't pure clear video picture quality.
If you like Kung-Fu and want a good movie and just want to see a classic, this is one of them
1 Disc with the movie and Special Features;
~Shaolin: A Hero Birthplace
~Wu-Tang Clan Concert Video
Audio Setup includes Mandarin, Cantonese and English
Subtitles include English, Spanish and English for the Hearing Impaired. (The hearing impaired version has subtitles for the background noises)
I remember seeing this as a kid and loving it then. Age has just increased my perspective. Not only is the martial action fantastic the plot is good. And one of the things I like best is that even the villains are quality. The bad guy in the first scene is willing to take on the Good guy all by himself. That was excellently done. The backgrounds and sets were awesome and there were only one or two jumps where you would look for wires. Everything else looked extremely doable. This was awesome.