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Fox/Fortune Star Hong Kong DVD Thread

Old 06-05-04, 12:25 AM
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Fox/Fortune Star Hong Kong DVD Thread

I'm starting to track down most of the movies of this amazing series from Fox ever since I bought a copy of "The Magnificent Butcher" and "The Magnificent Warriors" in their bargain bin.

Wave 1
- The Magnificent Butcher
- The Magnificent Warriors
- City Hunter
- Naked Killer
- Hong Kong 1941

Wave 2
- Duel to the Death
- Eastern Condors
- In the Line of Fire 4
- Heart of Dragon
- My Lucky Stars

Wave 3
- Prodigal Son
- Young Master
- Royal Warriors
- Operation Scorpio
- Game of Death II

Wave 4
- Mr. Vampire
- Knockabout
- Battle Creek Brawl
- The Postman Fights Back
- Iron Fisted Monk

Wave 5
- Warriors Two
- Spooky Encounters
- Winners and Sinners
- Legacy of Rage
- Hand of Death

I like to thank Fox for releasing them uncut (with the exception of Naked Killer), remastered and 5.1 audio (I know they do not have their original audio nor any relevant extras but the way they are priced, has helped me forget the lack of extras).

Edit - Updated the list

Last edited by LorenzoL; 03-29-05 at 12:39 PM.
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Old 06-05-04, 12:37 AM
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I also love these titles, though I sometimes have a hard time finding them at B&Ms.
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Old 06-05-04, 07:40 AM
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Here in Canada, I have only seen them at HMV Downtown location for Wave 3.

Also, somebody at another forum has indicated that the image for "Young Master" is cropped.
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Old 06-05-04, 03:45 PM
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I would like to see Mr. Vampire again.
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Old 06-05-04, 10:30 PM
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I haven't seen any of the 3rd Wave at B&M stores yet, but I picked up City Hunter, Hong Kong 1941, Duel to the Death, and My Lucky Stars. For $5.50, how can you resist? So far Duel to the Death has been my favorite, that movie is a riot.
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Old 06-07-04, 01:54 AM
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I bought all of Wave 1 and 2 (with the exception of Heart of Dragon, which I never really cared for) but Wave 3 is proving to be tricky for me to find thus far. Wave 4 is looking pretty good too, especially the excellent Knockabout

These DVDs all look great, I guess with the exception of the apparently misframed Young Master, and the only other real missteps have been the cut version of Naked Killer and the lack of the original mono audio tracks (most of the 5.1 remixes are OK though, with the exception of Eastern Condors, which sounds terrible). And of course, the pricing is excellent. I can live with the lack of extras and less than attractive cover art because its the films themselves that are the important thing.

After experiencing years of watching poor quality prints of these films, (bootleg tapes, ragged prerecords and poorly mastered laserdiscs), I have to give Fox an 8/10 for the effort and a big thank you, and hope to see more in the future.
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Old 06-07-04, 02:29 AM
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The biggest problem I have with them are the dubtitles. That makes me very skeptical about buying them. It's really, really annoying because the rest of the DVDs are great. Why not go the extra mile and put in good subs?

I only have one, Magnificent Warriors, and the subs are a bit funny sometimes. They don't always match what's being said, and sometimes nothing's being said and there are subs, both of which are very annoying. I ordered Operation Scoprio because I can't find it anywhere else. I didn't want the PAL HKL verison, and it's not available in Hong Kong for some reason. All the other movies I own from various companies except for Young Master, Battle Creek Brawl and Hong Kong 1941. The best of the bunch is probably The Prodigal Son or In the Line of Duty 4.

By the way, Knockabout is one of the best martial arts flicks around. I'm very happy Fox got their hands on it instead of Miramax or Columbia. Iron Fisted Monk is also great, which should be nice. I also hope they have better dubbing on Mr. Vampire than Tai Seng (Master Sifu? Come on...).
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Old 06-07-04, 12:45 PM
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Pat, I read in another DVD forum that the subtitles are done for worldwide release through different distributors therefore for example for the English subtitles they only use one for all English speaking countries.

From what I been told is that Fortune Star are the one responsible for the quality of the print, sounds and subtitles while Fox just distribute them here in Region 1. Fox is only responsible for distribution.
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Old 06-07-04, 01:03 PM
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I hope they add Sammo's Close Encounters/Spooky Kind to the line soon!
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Old 06-07-04, 02:29 PM
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will BATTLE CREEK BRAWL use the ORIGINAL English language track, as filmed, or they will use the Cantonese Dubb?
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Old 06-07-04, 04:18 PM
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Originally posted by prince_of_saturn
will BATTLE CREEK BRAWL use the ORIGINAL English language track, as filmed, or they will use the Cantonese Dubb?
My guess will be that it will be the Cantonese Dubb and not the original film track but I'm no expert therefore I will defer to somebody who can provide us with concrete information.
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Old 06-07-04, 04:27 PM
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Originally posted by prince_of_saturn
will BATTLE CREEK BRAWL use the ORIGINAL English language track, as filmed, or they will use the Cantonese Dubb?
There is only an English track on Battle Creek Brawl according to this http://www.dvdtimes.co.uk/content.php?contentid=11591
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Old 06-12-04, 09:08 PM
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Courtesy of Kungfucinema.com

Battle Creek Brawl (1980)
AKA: The Big Brawl

Premise: Jerry Kwan (Jackie Chan) is a street smart Chinese man in 1920's Chicago whose quick fists attract the attention of a mobster looking for a fighter for a free-for-all match in Texas. He forces Kwan into the competition, while a rival mobster plots to keep Kwan from winning.

Review: As an avid Jackie Chan fan who had yet to see Battle Creek Brawl, it came as a pleasant surprise to see that his first Hollywood crossover, which had been a box office failure was filled with Jackie's distinctive physical humor, great fights (considering who his opponents were), and an easily digestible story.

Not so convincingly set in the 1920's, Battle Creek Brawl begins with a vicious prize fight that a hulking leftover from the early eighties professional wrestling circuit wins. Kiss, named for kissing his "victims" after beating the life out of them is being groomed for the Battle Creek Brawl, a no-holds barred slugfest held in Texas. We're then introduced to Jerry Kwan (Jackie Chan), a free-spirited young bruiser in Chicago who successfully fends off mobsters attempting to extort money from his father, a restaurant owner. He's noticed by the mob boss who decides to use Jerry as his fighter for the Brawl. Jerry's reluctance to sign up is quelled when his brother's girlfriend, fresh off the boat from China is kidnapped by the gangsters. To get her back, he has to win the competition, so he enlists the aid of his wily master, played with flair by the delightful Mako. Jerry is a sure winner as the Brawl begins until a minor plot by a rival mobster threatens to turn Jerry into cutlets. Of course, he ends up on top and finishes off Kiss, appropriately with a kiss.

This was Jackie Chan's first film produced in the United States in cooperation with Raymond Chow of Golden Harvest. It was a rough time for Jackie who was not adjusting to Hollywood filmmaking while Robert Clouse and his "slow" moving stunt team were not providing the best venue for Jackie's unique skills. In addition, he was waiting for trouble with director Lo Lieh and the triads to blow over back in Hong Kong. Actor Jimmy Wang Yu would come to his aid. In the meantime, Jackie was working on his English and trying his best to create a Hollywood breakthrough. Battle Creek Brawl did not provide this opportunity, but it can't be blamed on Jackie. The only thing that makes it work is his bubbling charm and potent skills which shine through the improbable circumstances found within the film.

Robert Clouse (Enter the Dragon) makes a mockery of the period setting by paying very little attention to costumes and props. You'll have no problem spotting bellbottom jeans or "modern" roller skating gear. The plot is thinner than most Taiwanese kung fu pics and most noticeably glosses over the kidnapping of the Chinese girl. This is the whole reason Chan goes to fight and he ends up giving the mobster responsible a thumbs up at the end, before he's even set her free! At least Lalo Schifrin's Ennio Morricone-inspired score both compliments the intended era and adds an appropriate tone to Jackie's high jinx.

Although Jackie has given the impression over the years that he had little control over this film, his signature is all over it. There's a lot of great humor and his relationship with Mako, one of my favorite Asian-American actors is terrific. You may have heard Mako as the voice of Aku on the hit Cartoon Network series, Samurai Jack. In this film, Mako plays Jackie's martial arts teacher who uses a cane as his weapon and scolds Jackie about the evils of women right before sneaking away to hop into bed with a rather large female. This Japanese born actor has been featured in numerous American martial arts films, including Bulletproof Monk with Chow Yun Fat.

There haven't been very many Hong Kong/Hollywood crossovers and for the time, this film does about as well as could be expected on a limited budget. Despite his slow-moving and immensely large opponents, Chan cuts in and out with flips, kicks, and his rapid punches. This is certainly not a showcase film for Chan. The Young Master, which came out the same year was light years ahead in terms of fight choreography. But, for Jackie Chan fans, Battle Creek Brawl deserves to be seen, if only to see how he humorously fights a bunch of muscle-bound gweilos. Its certainly one of his most unique screen efforts and had it been more successful, he might have forged a career in Hollywood long before Rush Hour came along.
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Old 06-12-04, 09:12 PM
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Knockabout (1979)
AKA: n/a

Premise: Yuen Biao and Leung Kar Yan are two con artists who decide to take martial arts instructions from Lau Kar-Wing, who turns out to be a ruthless criminal. Sammo Hung is a beggar who comes to their aid after their teacher turns on the pair.

Review: This is a terrific classical kung fu picture that has the distinction of starring Yuen Biao in his first leading role.

Zippo and Harpo, two brothers and misfit conmen with average kung fu skills manage to get into all sorts of trouble. When a seasoned martial arts expert named Old Fox outsmarts them, they convince him to teach them kung fu. After learning some skills they discover that their teacher is actually a criminal. To hide the truth, Harpo is killed, but Zippo manages to escape. Zippo meets up with a seemingly crazy beggar whose kung fu skills are superior. Zippo tricks the beggar into teaching him his kung fu to avenge the death of his brother but the beggar has his own intentions.

Yuen Biao really gets to shine in his first role with some excellent displays of acrobatics and kung fu. There are quite a few memorable and fun fights that Sammo uses to highlight Yuen's unique skills. After developing his kicking skills from the Old Fox, Yuen's character takes on all comers with unbelievably flexible and dynamic kicks that would leave any bootmaster such as Tan Tao-Liang jealous. Sammo does what has proven most successful and that is to play a comical supporting role that has similarities to his role in The Prodigal Son, also starring Yuen Biao. Hong Kong funny man, Karl Maka makes a short but entertaining appearance as the police official, wielding a pistol and massaging his trademark bald head like a madman.

Sammo plays up the humor to good effect with only a small bit of drama to play out Harpo's death. In fact, the whole film is filled with gags ranging from weasel-like characters stroking hairy moles to the very climax involving a great double-dutch match between Yuen and Lau while jump roping. You don't see that in film very often.
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Old 06-12-04, 09:14 PM
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Mr. Vampire (1985)
AKA: n/a

Premise: n/a

Review: A pure classic by any standard! Produced by Sammo Hung, Mr. Vampire created a surefire combination of chills, humor and kung fu that spawned a successful franchise and numerous spin-offs and copycats. Enriched with classical Chinese folklore and energetic and moody atmosphere, the film is a treat to watch.

Kau (Lam Ching Ying), a Taoist priest and his two goofy assistants, Choi and Chou are called upon to put an end to the Yam family's bad luck. Kau discovers the reason when the family's recently deceased grandfather is found to have been buried improperly by a Feng Shui master. When the corpse turns out to be one of the walking dead and escapes its Taoist bindings, Kau and the police go on the hunt while dead bodies begin to turn up. Things go wrong as Choi is infected by the walking corpse and Chou is haunted by a ghost who has fallen in love with him. Kau has to use all his Taoist tricks to save his apprentices and defeat the evil vampire.

The tales of vampires in Chinese folklore is just as popular and rich in tradition as their Western counterparts originating with Brom Stoker's Dracula. There are variations though on how to control or kill a Chinese vampire or walking corpse and Mr. Vampire is probably the best cinematic example on how to deal with them. From sticky rice to Taoist symbols, the principle hero, Kau wields a vast array of weapons to combat the undead.

What makes the film all the more entertaining is the almost comical direction akin to Ivan Reitman's Ghostbusters. The fact is that Chinese vampires are simply hopping, rotting corpses with more in common with mindless zombies from Night of the Living Dead than a suave Dracula who seduces women. The film's director, Ricky Lau was clearly aware of this and plays for more laughs than chills. The film also borrows from another homegrown hit entitled Encounters of a Spooky Kind starring Sammo Hung who introduced the world to the horror/comedy/kung fu genre. Ricky Hui plays the forlorn assistant with charm and Lam Ching gives a star performance as the vampire busting priest who left a lasting impression that he never shook right up to his death.

Cheap special effects, the fact that the only villain is a mindless corpse, and occasionally overplayed and crude humor adds to the camp factor but keeps the film from being more engaging. Also, there isn't nearly as much martial arts action as found in Encounters of a Spooky Kind. Nevertheless, Mr. Vampire is great fun and fans of the Evil Dead series should see where Sam Raimi, a Hong Kong film fan got some of his twisted inspiration from.
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Old 06-12-04, 09:18 PM
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The Iron Fisted Monk (1977)
AKA: n/a

Premise: A young man known as Husker (Sammo Hung) trains at Shaolin to seek revenge on Manchus for killing his father. He ends up joining a hero of Shaolin (Chan Sing) and dye factory workers in their struggle against a cruel Manchu official.

Review: The Iron Fisted Monk is an innovative and entertaining kung fu classic which bears the distinction of being Sammo Hung's directorial debut. It also contains a wealth of reference points for avid kung fu fans.

Sammo plays a character named Husker who is also known among students of Cantonese folklore to be Jun Bai Lo, one of the famous Ten Tigers from Kwantung. After his father is killed by Manchus who rule over Husker and his fellow Han, he joins Shaolin Temple where he learns kung fu with the intention of getting revenge. He leaves and meets up with Shan Teh (Chan Sing), a famous monk whose exploits were also portrayed by Gordon Liu in The 36th Chamber of Shaolin. Teh persuades the young man to teach kung fu to Han workers at a dye factory. At about the same time, one of the dye workers named Liang (Lo Hoi Pang) discovers that his sister has been raped by a Manchu. He rushes out and kills the wrong Manchu which draws the attention of the real rapist, a local Manchu official (Fung Hak On) who suspects the dye factory is involved. The official hires two Northern kung fu experts and plots the destruction of the dye factory. After a massacre leaves all of the workers dead, Husker and Teh storm into the official's home in search of justice dealt at the end of their fists.

For his first directing gig, Sammo created a remarkably polished film, especially considering the state of the Hong Kong film industry at the time which valued quantity over quality. Sammo put into practice many of the tricks and ideas he had amassed over the years while working primarily as an action choreographer for Golden Harvest. The use of creative camerawork, clouds of "Power Powder" and under-cranking to add impact to kicks and punches, and an eye for mixing drama and humor all would become staples of Hong Kong cinema in the years to come, but were still relatively new at the time of this film's release.

The fights are the main seller here. Sammo mixes it up with a number of excellent battles involving various weapons and kung fu techniques such as Fung Hak On's excellent northern Mantis Fist and Chan Sing's various southern boxing forms. Although the action doesn't reach the technical brilliance of Warriors Two (1978) or The Prodigal Son (1982), the climatic and bloody final bout featuring both Sammo and Chan Sing must be seen by even casual fans. Another highlight is a brothel skirmish involving Sammo and some of Hak On's thugs who end up crawling under Sammo's legs while piled on top of one another.

While the filmmaking techniques and choreography are innovative, the story which was co-written by Sammo's mentor Wong Fung fails to break any new ground, except in being offensive. There are two scenes of rape, one pointless scene of sex and nudity with Wu Ma involved which alone is offensive, and scene after scene of all Manchus portrayed as child bullying, fornicating, and murderous bastards. Sammo's desire to marry humor and drama also works against him in this film. Its hard to go from a brutal rape to a light-hearted fight at the brothel and not feel uncomfortable. While Sammo would continue to ride a fine line between fun and tragedy in his films, this one seems slightly out of control in that regard.

Overall, Sammo hits the right notes in this film with uniformly terrific kung fu action. For his level of creativity and genius when it comes to action, the film enjoys the distinction of being one of the best of its kind from the era and is certainly a landmark title. With Chan Sing in a memorable role that aptly features his rugged skills and a cast of familiar faces, many of whom would go on to stardom in the future, The Iron Fisted Monk deserves recognition as a true classic of the genre.
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Old 06-13-04, 02:07 AM
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i'm waiting for "Yes, Madam" (police assassins or In The Line of Duty 1)

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Old 06-13-04, 06:44 PM
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Does anybody know if Fortune Star or Fox has rights to "Wheels on Meals". I will like a Fox/Fortune Star R1 release for this movie.
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Old 06-13-04, 07:22 PM
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I believe Disney owns Wheels on Meals.

Also, I wanted to know from people who have more HK Film expertise then me, but all of the FOX/FS dvds include the Uncut version of the film and a Cantonese track w/English Sub(or Dub)titles except Naked Killer and Game of Death II
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Old 06-13-04, 11:44 PM
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LorenzoL, thanks for the reviews and the info. It seems very strange, though, that Fortune Star would spend any money for the English dub. Also, if Fortune Star is responsible for the subs, then they didn't do a very good job. Rather different at times. They don't change the overall story, mind you, but they're still different.

BlackBeauty, unfortunately Disney owns Yes Madam (which, incidentally, is actually In the Line of Duty 2, Royal Warriors is In the Line of Duty, and it's even more confusing when you know that Yes Madam came out _before_ Royal Warriors).

Gore Hound, as far as I know all the Fox DVDs are uncut.
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Old 06-14-04, 12:52 AM
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just a few things...

"It seems very strange, though, that Fortune Star would spend any money for the English dub."

Most of the original dubs are not owned by Fortune Star, so they could not put them on many of the releases so far.

"as far as I know all the Fox DVDs are uncut."

Naked Killer was cut and any of them will be cut if they exceed an "R" rating. The Game of Death 2 Fox dvd is the best in the world for length, as it includes the long international print of the film. The film has never been available completely uncut, as the Korean version of the film has footage not seen anywhere else except the original Korean release on video in the '80s. BTW, you ain't seen nothing yet, there's a good 50 or so films that Fox has lined up for release with more to come, and some HUGE special releases in the very near future.
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Old 06-14-04, 11:24 AM
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Damn Di$ney
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Old 06-14-04, 12:24 PM
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Re: just a few things...

Originally posted by Linn1
BTW, you ain't seen nothing yet, there's a good 50 or so films that Fox has lined up for release with more to come, and some HUGE special releases in the very near future.
Please tell me that you work for Fox or Fortune Star or you have reliable sources since this will be an awesome news personally.
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Old 06-14-04, 12:31 PM
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Originally posted by Gore_Hound_X
I believe Disney owns Wheels on Meals.
Thank you for the information. I guess is a shame since if they ever release the movie for R1, we can expect to be cut, revised and dub without the original language track just like the Jet Li movies and Iron Monkey.

I tried watching the "Twin Warriors AKA Tai Chi Master" of the R1 release and could not get through it anymore because of the dubbing and cuts. I have been spoiled by Fox/Fortune Star releases.
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Old 06-14-04, 06:34 PM
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Well...

"Please tell me that you work for Fox or Fortune Star or you have reliable sources since this will be an awesome news personally."

Well, I work for a couple of other labels looking to get films that they haven't picked up from Fortune Star and in the process, found out much of what Fox has. I've written liner notes for about 15 martial arts dvds, pieces for the Hong Kong Film Archive, newpapers, etc., so I know what I'm talking about.

Last edited by Linn1; 06-14-04 at 10:24 PM.
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