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Monday, April 21, 2008

Shaolin vs Ninja/Shaolin Vs Tai Chi and Amazon vs Supermen DVD Review

Shaolin vs Ninja/Shaolin Vs Tai Chi and Amazon vs Supermen

NINJAS, NINJAS, NINJAS!!! Seriously do I really need to add anything more than that? Well, yes I probably should. Rarescope via BCI hits kung fu fans with some wonderful and gloriously goofy films from Five Venoms chorographer and grumpy gus (just watch an interview with him on one of the earlier Rarescope DVDs) and early international Italian/Chinese co-production which used Shaw Brothers actors. Essentially you’re getting Robert Tai’s Shaolin goofiness (which usually means great wire-based kung fu and just jaw-droppingly absurd stories and plot points). It’s not high art by any means, but both films feature excellent martial arts work and a story that is well anything but boring. Rarescope and BCI release these two Robert Tai films together on one DVD-9 (no flipping discs or that crap). Amazon vs Supermen is released by itself; it’s interesting and worth a check out for a truly bizarre mix of film styles and sensibilities.

Video: Considering the rarity of these films and the fact that the only appearance has been on crappy PanMedia bootlegs, it’s great to see a legit release of these two Robert Tai films. The print is not mint and has damage, but it’s not horrible and very watchable and honestly pretty decent. The fact is that the retail price at HK Flix for the set is 10.95, one cannot expect Celestial quality. Both films are full widescreen which is always a must for a kung fu movie. However, the films are only letterbox. It would have been nice if the films had been anamorphically enhanced. Due to the print quality, it was felt that the trade off of greater resolution for perhaps worse quality was not worth it. Amazon vs Supermen is also fully widescreen and only letterbox. Picture quality is decent also, and pretty good with only mild print damage and deterioration.

Audio: Shaolin vs Tai Chi has embedded English and Chinese subs with Mandarin Audio. The other films have an English audio track. The sound is mono for all of them. They are in decent condition with some crackles at time, but are generally pretty good.

Extras: Some trailers, but that’s about it.

Overall. For a grand total of $17 at HK Flix or another retailer, you can get three kung fu movies in full widescreen from Rarescope and BCI. If you have any love of the wacky world of Robert Tai or a weird co-production, then Rarescope has a great package of kung fu for you.: it’s an easy buy if any of those conditions apply to you.

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