Written by: Michael Den Boer on October 12th, 2010
Theatrical Release Date: Hong Kong, 1984
Director: Liu Chia-Liang
Writers: Kuang Ni, Liu Chia-Liang
Cast: Chia Hui Liu, Sheng Fu, Lily Li, Kara Hui, Ching-Ching Yeung, Lung Wei Wang
DVD released: October 12th, 2010
Approximate running time: 97 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Sound: Dolby Digital Mono Mandarin, Dolby Digital Mono English
Subtitles: English, Spanish, English SDH
DVD Release: Dragon Dynasty
Region Coding: Region 1 NTSC
Retail Price: $19.93
Synopsis: The Queen’s brother Pan Bao has been beaten to death in a tournament by Yang Ye’s seventh son. The Queen with the help of her father Pan Mei plan to get ride of the Yang clan once and for all at the Jinsha battle. Their plan nearly goes off without a hitch except for the fact that Yang’s fifth and sixth son’s have escaped the ambush that claimed the lives of Yang and his five other sons. Pan Mei has bigger plans besides destroying his greatest rival and with the help of the Tartars he plans to overthrow the emperor. He must find and kill Yang’s two sons that are now in hiding before they reveal to the emperor his sinister plot.
The action is razor sharp and the spear fighting is lightening fast in precision. Alexander Fu Sheng gives the most moving performance of his career as the Yang’s sixth son who loses his mind after the murdering of his father and brothers. Fu Sheng would tragically die while making The 8 Diagram Pole Fighter. Gordon Liu (The 36th Chamber of Shaolin) known for his action prowess proves that he is capable of carrying more dramatic scenes. While in the Shaolin temple. he shaves his head and then takes the incense candles which he then uses to burn six dots on the top of his head. The scene is extremely painful to watch as Gordon Liu’s character now a broken man. He has become a shell of his former self. The story progresses at brisk pace with action sequences that somehow are able to top the last one with their jaw dropping acrobatics’ and inventiveness. One of the film’s best action scenes comes near the end of the movie when Liu Chia-hui characters Yang’s fifth son uses a wheel barrel full of bamboo rods that he shoots like rockets as his enemies. Ultimately The 8 Diagram Pole Fighter is a fast paced action extravaganza that ranks as one of the best martial arts films ever made.
Dragon Dynasty presents The 8 Diagram Pole Fighter in an anamorphic widescreen that preserves the film’s original ‘Shawscope’ aspect ratio. Once again Dragon Dynasty improves upon all previous releases DVD releases of The 8 Diagram Pole Fighter, as colors look vibrant, black levels are strong, details look crisp and the image remains stable throughout. Also this new transfer from Dragon Dynasty is proper NTSC transfer and not a standard conversion like the region 3 DVD release from IVL / Celestial.
This release comes with two audio options, a Dolby Digital Mono mix in Mandarin and a Dolby Digital Mono mix in English. Both audio mixes are in great shape as they both sound clear, clean and balanced throughout. The sound effects benefit most in both mixes. Three subtitles options have been included with this release English, Spanish and English SDH. The English subtitles have many instances where they are different than what is being said during the English ‘dubbed’ audio mix and they do not appear to be ‘dub titles’.
The only extra content included with this release are promos for other titles also available on DVD from Dragon Dynasty. Overall The 8 Diagram Pole Fighter gets a solid audio / video presentation from Dragon Dynasty.