Written by: George Pacheco on March 24th, 2016
BluRay released: March 1st, 2016
Approximate running times: 124 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 Widescreen / 1080 Progressive / MPEG-4 AVC
Sound: DTS-HD Mono Chinese
BluRay Release: Severin Films
Retail Price: $24.98
There’s just something so inherently fun about trailer compilations. They’re the sure-fire hit to any party, guaranteed to spark conversation and interest to the weird, wild and wacky world of cinema therein represented in short, sharp bursts.
Kung Fu Trailers of Fury is Severin Films’ full length foray into martial arts mayhem, containing over two hours of trailers which run the gamut from trashy to classy, straight outta Shaolin right on through to the mean streets of 1970s Hong Kong. It should be said, however, that Severin’s disc pays a particular emphasis towards the more classic side of spiritual kung fu films, the sort idolized by members of hip hop group the Wu-Tang as being formative influences towards their unique style.
Granted, there are a few funky gems from the world of Brucesploitation-that oh so dirty sub genre of films exploiting the life and death of martial arts legend Bruce Lee-as well as a couple of straight action and drama pictures, but the lion’s share of trailers here are based strictly on the classically choreographed and expertly delivered work, more in the vein of the Five Deadly Venoms or King Boxer school of film.
This isn’t to say that Kung Fu Trailers of Fury isn’t a total blast, because it is, but those going into this disc expecting extravagant voice over announcers promising bloodthirsty action and violence might be disappointed, as many of these trailers consist primarily of subtitles and text describing the selling points of each film. This makes the disc more an experience for the kung fu connoisseur, diehard fan, or novice looking to bone up on some knowledge, as opposed to simply the mildly curious.
As such, many of the trailers here tend to bleed together, with a few glaring exceptions being the films Kung Fu vs Yoga, Death Blow and Enter the Fat Dragon, all of which are memorable slices of chop socky cinematic fun.
Severin’s Blu-Ray for Kung Fu Trailers of Fury has resurrected the trailers for these underground martial arts films, and presented them in full 1080p HD, and in widescreen, some for the very first time. Sure, there’s some redness and damage which pops up, but this is easily forgivable, especially when its revealed how closely these trailers were to being totally lost to the sands of time.
This story comes up during one of the disc’s extra features, a fun tour into the world of the underground UK cinema club known as The Cube. It was in the basement of their movie theater where these trailers were first discovered, and it’s fascinating to hear the story of how they were saved from almost certain doom, only to be lovingly restored here on disc.
Another solid extra is a brief history of martial arts cinema, as presented by film historian and author Ric Meyers and expert Frank Djeng, both of whom provide their own unique insight into how this vast and rich cinematic universe has exponentially grown over the years. Meyers also shows up on the audio commentary track, dishing up an astonishingly detailed amount of background info upon nearly every aspect of these films. He is joined by Michael Worth, himself an author of the forthcoming Brucesploitation Bible, as well as martial arts instructor Greg Schiller and Rick Stelow of Drunken Master Video. All four men clearly love this material, and their enthusiasm is palpable throughout the commentary, with Meyer’s voice being the primary source of trivia.
Meyers in particular seems to share the disc’s affinity for classic kung cinema, as opposed to the more violent and exploitative world of, say a Sonny Chiba or Godfrey Ho. This writer’s personal taste aside, however, Kung Fu Trailers of Fury is still a winner, and highly recommended viewing for those seeking to venture down the rabbit hole of martial arts movie madness.