Written by: Michael Den Boer on August 26th, 2008
Theatrical Release Date: Hong Kong, March 26th, 1970
Director: Wei Lo
Writers: Wei Lo, Kuang Ni
Cast: Pei-pei Cheng, Han Chin, Yi Chang, Yuen Kao, Hua Yueh, Lieh Lo, Feng Tien, Feng Ku, Unicorn Chan, Sammo Hung Kam-Bo
DVD released: July 15th, 2008
Approximate running time: 101 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Sound: Dolby Digital 5.1 Mandarin
DVD Release: Well Go USA
Region Coding: Region 1 NTSC
Retail Price: $14.98
Synopsis: Five brothers are separated after their father is murdered by a man named Long Zeng Feng. After the death of their father and with the five brothers in hiding Long Zeng Feng assumes control over the family’s martial arts academy known as Flying Dragon Villa. Several years later with the help of a close family friend named Yen Lai the five brothers regroup and plan their revenge against their fathers’ murderer.
Brothers Five was directed by Wei Lo who also directed Bruce Lee’s first two Hong Kong films The Big Boss and Fist of Fury. Brothers Five also features n a very brief minor role Sammo Hung Kam-Bo playing a security guard who is part of an envoy protecting money they are transporting.
The plot for Brothers Five is you standard martial arts revenge set up. The films main twist of combining the five brothers as once fighting force when they use a secret kung fu handbook titled “Five Tigers with one Heart” sounds cooler than it looks. On their own each brother is an exceptional fighter they are just not good enough individually when opposing their fathers’ killer Long Zeng Feng.
The film’s most interesting character is a female marital artist named Yen Lai who is portrayed by Pei-pei Cheng (Come Drink with Me). Yen Lai spends most of the film tracking down each of the five brothers and then preparing them for their final showdown with Long Zeng Feng. In the last half of the film we finally get to see Yen Lai spring into action after spending almost 2/3’s of the film off in the background.
Each of the five brothers in the film gets a scene to show off their fighting specialty. Even though the story retreads familiar ground it is during its numerous action sequences where this films really excels. Ultimately Brothers Five makes up for it weak story with its wall to wall action.
Well Go USA presents Brothers Five in an anamorphic widescreen that preserves the film’s original 2.35:1 aspect ratio. This is a clean looking transfer with strong colors and black levels. Unfortunately this transfer like so many of the Shaw Brothers films that have been released on DVD is not flagged for progressive playback. The image is interlaced and there are issues with combing which is more pronounced during the action sequences.
This release comes with one audio option a Dolby Digital 5.1 remix from the film’s original Mandarin mono mix. The audio is clear and free of any background noise or hiss. It is a shame that the original mono mix was not included since the Dolby Digital 5.1 mix included sounds to spread out and hallow.
Two subtitle options English and Chinese have been included. The English subtitles have no major typos and they are easy to follow and understand.
Extras for this release are limited to a Mandarin language trailer for the film that has burnt in English and Chinese subtitles. Overall Well Go USA gives Brothers Five a more then serviceable DVD release that is more than affordable.