Kung Fu: The Complete Series Collection
DVD | Box Set
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
Customers who viewed this item also viewed
Kung Fu: The Complete Series Collection (DVD)
David Carradine stars as a Buddhist monk and hunted man who wanders the American West in the 1870s fighting intolerance and injustice with his mastery of an ancient form of high combat known as Kung Fu.]]>
Everybody was kung-fu fighting after the 1972 premiere of this mystic western starring David Carradine (snatching the role from Bruce Lee) in his signature, Emmy-nominated role as Caine, a stoic Shaolin monk forced to flee China after killing the royal family member who slew his Master. Our wandering hero roams the west in search of his long-lost brother, while eluding American and Imperial bounty hunters, and imparting his ancient wisdom on those he encounters and is compelled to aid. Kung-Fu was never a ratings force, but its cult status was assured long before Samuel L. Jackson referenced it in Pulp Fiction. Along with the inaugural 15 episodes, this three-disc set contains the feature-length pilot that establishes the series' iconography: the inscrutable aphorisms ("When you cease to strive to understand, then you will know without understanding"); the flashbacks to Caine's youth, where the orphaned half-American and half-Chinese boy served as disciple ("Grasshopper") to the Old Man; and, of course, the anticipated moments when the peaceful Caine, like Billy Jack, is reluctantly compelled by some frontier bigot to use his fighting skills. Look for appearances by father John Carradine and brothers Keith and Robert in the episode, "Dark Angel." That's 11-year-old future Oscar-winner Jodie Foster in "Althea." Other notable episodes include the Emmy-winning "An Eye for an Eye" and "Chains," featuring an Emmy-nominated turn by Michael Greene as a not-so-gentle giant to whom an imprisoned Caine is chained. "With each ending," Caine observes in the episode, "The Third Man," comes a new beginning." Kung Fu's new beginning comes on DVD. Thanks to the timeless frontier setting and the uniqueness of its genre-bending concept, Kung Fu dates better than other '70s series. As these episodes demonstrate, the show still has plenty of kick. --Donald Liebenson
While it may not rank with Richard Kimble's fateful meeting with the One-Armed Man in the series finale of The Fugitive, Caine's reunion with his long-lost brother, Danny, brings Kung Fu, to quote the title of the four-episode story arc's conclusion, "Full Circle." The series' rich iconography and episodes featuring returning characters may make this final season heady going for newcomers. But those who have faithfully followed Caine (David Carradine in his iconic role) on his nomadic adventures will be richly rewarded with some of the series' best episodes. The season begins with a stellar two-parter, "Blood of the Dragon," in which Caine seeks the truth about his grandfather's murder, while Imperial assassins are dispatched to kill Caine. The venerable Patricia Neal guest-stars as the grandfather's iron-willed, cold-hearted former lover. Eddie Albert also stars as a doctor who sides with Caine. Other memorable guest stars this season include William Shatner broguing it up, Scotty-style, as a sea captain who arrives with an Imperial pardon for Caine (but at what cost?) in "A Small Beheading." Barbara Hershey portrays an aspiring Shoalin priest in the two-parter, "Besieged." In "The Brothers Caine," a pre-Airplane Leslie Nielsen is a ruthless magnate who puts a $10,000 price on Danny's head, making for an awkward reunion when Danny thinks that Caine is a bounty hunter. David's father, John, returns as blind preacher Serenity Johnson in "Ambush."
This season was distinguished by innovative episodes set in China during Caine's "Grasshopper" tutelage. In "The Demon God," the youth, poisoned by a prince, experiences mystical visions of his older, wandering self, who is stung by a scorpion. In "The Thief of Chendo," young Caine's Master imagines an adventure for the aspiring priest. Two Carradine commentaries, and a near-hour long chronicle of Carradine's 30-years-on visit to a Shoalin monastery in China (an incredible journey that ends with Carradine's soulful rendition of "America the Beautiful") help to give Kung Fu a worthy DVD send-off. --Donald Liebenson
Would you like to tell us about a lower price?
If you are a seller for this product, would you like to suggest updates through seller support?
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
That is the beauty and mastery of Kung Fu, one of the most intriguing shows ever made: it invokes one to THINK, discuss, and contemplate. The only other show I have seen have such an effect on so many people (nearly 90% of my ROTC class of 207 cadets watched Kung Fu as well as me), is the original two years of Star Trek. BUT, the level and intensity invoked by Kung Fu was immeasurably greater than that of Star Trek. The commentaries and features (see the Comments for listing of these items) often mention how teachers "required" students to watch Kung Fu, and then discussed the episodes in class. In deed, it is the philosophical nature of the show that most appeals to me and many who watch it.
Conversely, I will not deny that the show led me to sign up for Judo classes too (over 50% of my friends signed up for some form of martial arts), but the Karate nature of the show was never that appealing to me. Kung Fu is frequently accredited for "introducing" thousands of people to the martial arts. Unfortunately, many who watch the show or have watched the show have followed the path of what I consider "aggressive" martial arts, forgetting the retrospective nature of true Kung Fu. But, I must believe that if parents watch the show with their children, they can have an opportunity to talk with their children about both aspects of Kung Fu.
Another fabulous feature of the show is that viewers are presented with the reality of bigotry and hate--something that never ends, and is completely pertinent to today's world. (Please see the Comments for an example of how the mere fact that I lamented--now also in the Comments--that the DVDs are in English only prompted someone "disrespectful to Americans living in AMERICA.") Again, parents could easily use episodes to discuss and help their children--be they victims, violators, or naive--deal with bigotry and hate.
PLEASE NOTE: Warner Brothers has apparently advertised, and thus Amazon has listed, this set to contain wide-screen formate; see the Comments for more discussion on this. While the Season One episodes have been digitally reformatted "IN A "MATTED" WIDESCREEN FORMAT PRESERVING A THEATRICAL EXHIBITION ASPECT RATIO. ENHANCED FOR WIDESCREEN TVs," all episodes and features in the Season 2 and 3 sets are in fact full screen. The release date (on Amazon and the back of the red slip case for the series) states 2007, but season boxes all state they were done in 2005; so I don't think there is any difference between the Complete Series Box Set and the single season box sets. On an even sadder note, while Warner Brothers did attempt to improve the quality of the shows and alter the formate, they did so, with varying success, for the first season only. (Again, please see the Comments for more discussion on this matter). For the second and third seasons, Warner Brothers either did nothing or very little to restore the negatives, so the episodes are littered with white specs, scratches, and so on (although I found them no less bothersome than those found when watching a well used copy of a movie showing at a theater; for more discussion on this, see the Comments). That said, one must remain mindful of the fact that "Kung Fu" was filmed for television not the theater, was on a limited budget, and the fact that the negatives, when placed in the vault for storage, were most likely not very high quality to begin with; after all, nobody anticipated cable television syndication, let alone VHS and DVD production when the negatives were stored. On the other hand, this inconsistency in DVD quality (be it television shows or movies) is what I have now come to expect from Warner Brothers: misinformation and little or no care for their consumers; out of seventeen letters I have sent to them with questions, they have never replied to a single one.
All that said and done: Please consider renting (if available) or buying the Kung Fu series, and watch it with family and friends if you have them. "Kung Fu - The Complete Series" includes the award winning Pilot movie and all 62 episodes on 11 discs, starring David Carradine as Kiwai Chang Caine, Philip Ahn as Master Kan, and Keye Luke as Master PO. Special guest stars (some of which I have noted in the Comments) include David's father John Carradine, Benson Fong, Harrison Ford, Jodie Foster, Don Johnson, Leslie Nielsen, William Shatner, and others. "Kung Fu" is a show that is thought provoking, educational, inspirational, and unforgettable. "Kung Fu" is a show that can be watched over and over--by yourself, with friends, or with your family. There is no other TV show that I would recommend for people of all ages than "Kung Fu"--so, treat yourself with the whole series.
UPDATE--FEBRUARY 22, 2009: It came to my attention while reading "A Kid's Review--Kung Fu is the best, and this is the best way to own them," that I failed to mention the great extra features included in each of the three season sets. In particular, in the Season Three Set, there is a fascinating documentary that follows David Carradine and some of his friends on a trip to China, where David is given a Shaolin robe on their visit to the famed Shaolin Temple Monastery, a key location depicted in the series, and David plays his flute on the Great Wall of China while it is snowing. For Kill Bill - Volume One and Kill Bill - Volume Two fans, there is a bonus feature on the Season Two set that features David Carradine having dinner with stars/friends from these two films and the "Kung Fu" series. (See the Comments for more details on other bonus features and special guest stars, including Harrison Ford!).
Also, I feel like this review has become too long in my efforts to answer questions. Therefore, I am going to cut my other updates and place them in a comment. For first time readers, these comments deal with the following: film format and transfer quality for each season; languages and subtitles for the episodes and extra features; the fact that the discs are double sided; more on how the series is packaged; and, bonus features (rather than listing them here). I sincerely apologize if this is an inconvenience for some, but if you look at the comments you will understand just how long this review was getting.
June 14, 2009: I have deleted my response to the individual whose comments have been once again removed by Amazon, as they were out of place without that person's comments. If you wish to read them, I have saved them and would be happy to send them to you--just go to my Profile to get my email address. And thanks to everyone for making this my most successful, albeit declining in popularity vote percentages. Regardless, if my review sparks interests, then it has achieved one of my objectives.
If this review was not helpful to you, I would appreciate learning the reason(s) so I can improve my reviews. My goal is to provide help to potential buyers, not get into any arguments. So, if you only disagree with my opinion, could you please say so in the comments and not indicate that the review was not helpful. Thanks.
Well, In all honesty, this series was MUCH cooler when I was 12. After a few episodes I put it away and will be selling the series in the "used" section soon. The pacing is slow and awkward at times and the dialogue and situations are extremely cheesy most of the time. The fight scenes are laughable and pretty much unwatchable by today's standards. It made me really respect how devoted today's actors are when training for a role. David Carradine appears to know about as much Kung Fu as my Grandmother. And, he's about as athletic as her too. (At least in this role, I seem to remember him doing an okay job in Kill Bill[s]).
Anyway, I wish I had gone over to my friends to re-watch an episode prior to buying the set for myself. Times change, we change, and this includes our taste and standards. Things from our childhood aren't always as cool as we remember them. It's a bummer, but, it turns out this show is actually kind of lame. The only reason I gave it 3 stars instead of 2 was that there is some value in this series for families. Kids aged 8-12 might enjoy this show and it's probably a better option than what's on TV today.
Hopefully the Bonanza complete series(season 1) I ordered at the same time I got this will be a little more like I remembered it...
He worked with the Kung Fu Masters in this and was amazing with the martial arts. Then he was gentle and peace loving- trying to deal with an angry world. He used what he was taught as a priest and it teaches.
Preserving peace and life and only using his incredible, unbeatable martial arts, when he had to. This was made in the 1980's- way ahead of it's time.Unique, and masterfully done by a team of ultra talented people.
Don't miss this.
Most recent customer reviews
Thanks from Warren Kranz