Written by: Michael Den Boer on December 9th, 2004
Theatrical Release Date: Hong Kong, 1982
Director: Liu Chia-liang
Writer: E. Charles McBroom
Cast: Sheng Fu, Hou Hsiao, Kara Hui, Chia-Liang Liu, Gordon Liu
DVD Released: November, 2004
Approximate Running Time: 101 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Sound: Dolby Digital 5.1
DVD Release: Celestial Pictures
Region Coding: Region 3 NTSC
Retail Price: $17.95
Synopsis: The Yi Ho Society must deal with one of their own when three years after they sent Lui Gung (Chia-Liang Liu) to Yunnan he has dissolved his clan before mysteriously disappearing. Master Li Lin-ying because of Lui Gung’s treachery is forced to unleash three deadly assassins Lui Ying (Chia-Liang Liu), Tieh Hau (Hsiao Hou) and Ti Tan (Chia Hui Liu) who’s job is to silence Lui Gung forever? Does the Yi Ho Society have ulterior motives for wanting to get rid of Lui Gung and will he step out of the shadows to right was has went wrong?
Director Chia Hui Liu opens most of his films with martial arts demonstrations against empty back drops. The Chinese magician spies in the film would help inspire the Japanese ninja. With Legendary Weapons of China Director Chia Hui Liu would explore the idea fighting guns with Kung Fu years before the film Once Upon a Time in China. Director Chia-Liang Liu effectively balances the more comedic moments with the films all out balls to the wall action scenes. Martial arts films for the most part have standard plots that are just mere window dressing for the main course the action sequences. Legendary Weapons of China is with memorable scene after scene and just about every weapon imaginable is used during the film. The use of Voodoo dolls in the film was an interesting idea as Lui Ying contorts the man’s body who is impersonating Lui Gung into performing various martial arts moves.
These moments are extremely well choreographed and are some of best psychical comedy I have ever seen. Chia Hui Liu event though he isn’t the star of the film makes full use of his limited screen time. The films best fight scene is when his character Ti Tan fights Lui Gung. They square off matching each other move for move at a lighting pace before Lui Gung uses some sort of finger technique that makes Ti Tan deaf. Legendary Weapons of China’s use of magic and its moments of slap stick make for an unusual film that showcases some of the most inventive martial arts sequences committed to film.
The Legendary Weapons of China is presented in an anamorphic widescreen that preserves the films original 2.35:1 aspect ratio. The colors are strong and flesh tones look natural through out. There is no sign of artifacts or print damage and grain is kept to a minimum. The amount of detail present in this transfer blows away all previous home video versions of this film released to date. This release comes with two audio options Mandarin and Cantonese. Both audio tracks are presented in a Dolby Digital 5.1 and these tracks have been remixed from their original mono sources. These audio tracks are dynamic in range during the fight sequences. The dialog is clean and easy to follow with no sign of hiss or distortion. Subtitles that are easy to read and follow are available in English and traditional Chinese.
Extras included the films original trailer and a new trailer created for this release. Other extras include trailers for The 36th Chamber of Shaolin, My Young Auntie, Challenge of the Masters and The Spiritual Boxer. Rounding out the extras are cast and crew bio/filmographies, the original poster art, production notes and a photo gallery that includes behind the scenes and movie stills. Celestial Pictures has put together another superb Shaw Brothers DVD release that comes with some nice extras and the best audio/video version available to date. The Legendary Weapons of China is an amazing action/comedy that features some of the best martial arts scenes ever filmed highly recommended.