Written by: Michael Den Boer on August 22nd, 2011
Theatrical Release Date: Hong Kong, 1977
Director: Liu Chia-liang
Writer: Kuang Ni
Cast: Kuan Tai Chen, Lily Li, Lieh Lo, Yue Wong, Chia Hui Liu, Kang-Yeh Cheng, Tao Chiang, Ching Tien, Lao Shen, Johnny Cheung, Chiu Lee, Liu Chia-liang
DVD released: August 9th, 2011
Approximate running time: 101 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Sound: Dolby Digital Mono Mandarin, Dolby Digital Mono English
Subtitles: English, Spanish, English SDH
DVD Release: Arc Entertainment / Dragon Dynasty
Region Coding: Region 1 NTSC
Retail Price: $14.99
The film opens with a flurry of stylized martial arts battles before settling into gentler movie about Hung Hsi Kuan and Yong-chun’s blossoming love affair. This film features a brief from Gordon Liu only appears in the first ten minutes of the film, still in his brief scene he gets to showcase his exquisite fighting skills before dying a noble death. Lo Lieh wonderfully captures the menace of Priest Pai Mei. He is able to convey so much just through his eyes and facial expressions. It should also be noted that this film mark’s the first appearance of the character Pai Mei. The film has its share of lighter comedic moments that at times don’t mix well with the films graphic action set pieces. Overall though the film relies too much on Hung Hsi Kuan training and family situation, it ultimately succeeds because of its superbly realized action set pieces.
Dragon Dynasty presents Executioners from Shaolin in an anamorphic widescreen that preserves the film’s original ‘Shawscope’ aspect ratio. This is another strong transfer from Dragon Dynasty that improves upon previous DVD releases of this film. Colors are nicely saturated, flesh tones look healthy, black levels look very good and details look crisp throughout. There are no problems with compression 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 good shape as dialog comes through clearly and everything sounds balanced. 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’.
Extras for this release are limited to a promo for titles available from Dragon Dynasty. Overall Executioners from Shaolin gets a strong audio / video presentation from Dragon Dynasty.