Written by: Michael Den Boer on September 27th, 2008
Theatrical Release Date: Hong Kong, 1978
Director: Cheh Chang
Writers: Cheh Chang, Kuang Ni
Cast: Meng Lo, Sheng Chiang, Li Wang, Feng Lu, Chien Sun, Hsueh-erh Wen
DVD released: July 15th, 2008
Approximate running time: 102 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Sound: Dolby Digital 5.1 Mandarin, Dolby Digital 5.1 English
Subtitles: English, Chinese
DVD Release: Well Go USA
Region Coding: Region 1 NTSC
Retail Price: $14.98
Synopsis: The oppressive Ching government with the help of the Wutang clan tries to eliminate the Shaolin once and for all.
Two Champions of Shaolin was directed by Cheh Chang (The One-Armed Swordsman, The Heroic Ones). The premise of two rival clans in a feud has been done before in many other martial arts films. Why this familiar premise work so well in Two Champions of Shaolin is the characters that populate the story. Even though they don’t have prominent roles in the film San Te and Pi Mei appear in this film. Some other colorful characters are a trio of brothers who wear monkey masks and fight in a monkey like fighting style. Without a doubt the best character in the film is Gao Jinzhong a refined Wutang assassin who charms his prey before he kills them. The film’s greatest strength is its two leads Meng Lo as Tong Qianjin and Sheng Chiang as Hu Huigan. The Tong Qianjin character is referred to as a Shaolin Hercules because of his super human like strength. All around the entire cast are superb in the respective roles.
One of the most memorable action sequence is a scene were Jin Bier the daughter of an expert knife thrower whose father was killed by one of Wutang clan teaches Tong Qianjin the art of knife throwing. This scene sets up the eventual romance between Jin Bier and Tong Qianjin with her murder on their wedding night further nailing home the revenge angle in this film. The action sequences are all top notch. Besides hand to hand martial arts several other weapons are used in the film’s numerous fight sequences. The story moves along quickly and there is never a dull moment. The film’s most shocking moment is a fight scene where Hu Wei-Chen castrates another man during a duel. Ultimately Two Champions of Shaolin is a satisfying mix revenge and martial arts mayhem.
Well Go USA presents Two Champions of Shaolin in an anamorphic widescreen that preserves the film’s original 2.35:1 aspect ratio. Outside of the film’s opening credits that look soft and faded. The rest of the transfer look clean, details are sharp, black levels are strong and colors are robust throughout. Even though the transfer is interlaced the image remains stable and there are no issues with blurring or ghosting. Overall this is another strong transfer from Well Go USA.
This release comes with two audio options Mandarin and English. Both audio options are presented in Dolby Digital 5.1 mixes. Both audio mixes sound clean, clear and evenly balanced. Both audio mixes sound clean and evenly balanced. There are a few instances where the audio sounds a tad too thin. The action sequences are where the soundtrack really stands out. Two subtitle options have been included English and Chinese. Both subtitle options are removable.
Extras include are limited to a trailer for Two Champions of Shaolin (3:49). Overall Well Go USA gives Two Champions of Shaolin a strong audio/video presentation at a more than affordable price