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Dynamo: Special Edition [Blu-ray]
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When a cab driver is discovered by corrupt producers as a successor to super star Bruce Lee, they find his rebellious and individual nature may be too much for even their massive enterprise to contain. This fan favorite in the sub-genre of Bruceploitation stars Ho Tsung-Tao (Bruce Li), Ku Feng and Chiang Tao. Directed by The Super Inframan helmer, Hua Shan. Bonus features include: Theatrical Trailer to Dynamo, Kung Fu Reborn: Featurette on restoration and preservation of Kung Fu film elements, Drawing Dynamo: featurette on cover artist Ian McEwan , The Taiwan Connection - Michael Worths Journey to Meet a childhood idol: Bruce Li (15-minute original documentary), Audio commentary by filmmaker and Kung Fu Film fan Michael Worth (author of the Bruceploitation Bible) and UK radio sensation Iain Lee, Bonus 2K scan from a 16mm alternate cut , NEW 2K RESTORATION OF ORIGINAL UNCUT 35MM ENGLISH PRINT, Film essays by Michael Worth and bulletproof Cinema, Bonus Language Tracks: Spanish, French and German
- Product Dimensions : 0.7 x 7.5 x 5.4 inches; 5.92 Ounces
- Director : Shan Hua
- Media Format : NTSC
- Run time : 1 hour and 36 minutes
- Release date : May 12, 2020
- Actors : Various
- Studio : Vci Video
- ASIN : B082PQMKSY
- Number of discs : 1
Best Sellers Rank:
#19,670 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
- #2,237 in Action & Adventure Blu-ray Discs
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This Blu-ray From the new label Pearl River is the best the film has looked. Probably will be the best it ever looks as this special edition blu offers not only a beautiful scope transfer of the 35mm film, but an alternate 16mm edited version that was possibly used for television broadcast. Several special features including a great audio commentary by actor and fan Michael Worth to help round this off into a film school in a box on Dynamo. Seeing these "redheaded stepchildren" of the Kung Fu genre (to borrow a phrase from the great The Clonescast Podcast) get the treatment as if it were a Criterion or Arrow Academy release is a huge blessing. You get the impression they are trying to include all they can with these films to give us the most complete release possible.
This line is beginning to look like the Arrow Academy of kung fu films which we sorely need. If you have any interest in collecting boutique labels or want the best possible version of this film, this is the edition to get! Comes with a small well written essay inside as well by Michael Worth.
A favorite of the grindhouse circuit, DYNAMO was one of those films heard of but rarely released in a decent format. Released in 1978 the movie played those theaters non-stop for years. Now fans of the film and of the genre can enjoy it with a newly restored version of the film on blu-ray from VCI.
Unlike many martial arts films this one takes place in the present with an advertising company in Hong Kong. As two rival companies are competing against one another, a new manager named Mary is brought in to turn things around. As she is driven to her hotel she sees a huge crowd. Her assistant tells her that this is a funeral procession for the late Bruce Lee who has recently died and left fans longing for more.
Mary’s methods are cut throat to say the least and she soon has her team stealing back clients from the rival company. One day while heading to work she sees young cab driver Lee Tien-yee (Li) who takes on two men who stole a second cab. With decent martial arts skills she hires him with the intention of grooming him into the next huge movie star.
Here we insert one of the favorite type characters of the genre, the somewhat drunken master who is hired to bring this young star up from decent to amazing. Lee resents this new teacher (Feng Ku) when they start. Told to attack him whenever he wants, to surprise him even, Lee is consistently bettered by his teacher. As a result he too becomes better. Eventually a growing bond between the two takes place.
As Lee experiences newfound fame and fortune the rival company finds their lead lost. In an attempt to gain it back, they send various thugs to battle with Lee as he tours the world as the new superstar. Each one is beaten back until they eventually set him up to battle their main gun, a ruthless professional karate star. To ensure that Lee loses, they kidnap his girlfriend and threaten to kill her unless he throws the fight.
While this may sound like a ton of action, and there is plenty, more time is spent in the cutthroat offices and clubs with the advertising execs than you would expect. This film is definitely not lacking when it comes to a script full of conversations. In some ways it works, in others not. Yes, we have plenty of story but are we looking for that in a film like this?
Li is a competent replacement for the real Bruce Lee but can’t compare in the long run. He doesn’t have the speed or real charisma, instead relying on the similar look and style of the real deal. It did open the door for him though and gave him an opportunity to make movies. Even he felt this way, feeling that the studios underutilized him and saying "I could act like him but I could never be him." But he is among the better actors/marital artists who took on the daunting task of trying.
VCI has done a great job of bringing new life to this film, one that could have languished in bootleg and washed out editions on shelves everywhere. Instead they’ve attempted to clean it up with the best print possible, restoring it with a new 2k restoration from an original 35mm print. They’ve even included a 2k restoration of a 16mm alternate cut of the film. There are also plenty of extras to enjoy here as well. Those include an audio commentary track by filmmaker and kung fu film fan Michael Worth and UK radio sensation Iain Lee, “Kung Fu: Reborn” a featurette on the restoration of kung fu films, “Drawing Dynamo” a featurette of cover artists Ian McEwan, the original trailer and an essay by Worth.
If you’re a fan of martial arts films and of the entire Bruceploitation genre, then this is a must have. It offers a decent copy of the movie to enjoy as well as replace those washed out copies from the past. The film is also an historical look at the times in which it was released. Congrats to VCI for saving the film from extinction.