88 Films in the UK have given Jackie Chan fans a lot to celebrate with a string of Blu ray releases all from new HD masters.
Fearless Hyena was Jackie Chan’s directorial debut after his success with Seasonal Films and Snake in the Eagle’s Shadow and Drunken Master. Lo Wei had lent Jackie out to the company after a string of box office flops and now let him have the freedom to do what he did best, and it shows.
Ching Hing-lung (Jackie Chan) trains in martial arts under his grandfather (James Tien), who asks him to keep his skills a secret. But the temptation to earn money at a new Kung Fu school has him in disguise and defeating all-comers with his Xing Yi style. But an evil general (Yam Sai Kun) has been slaughtering all the people from his grandfather’s clan. When the general recognizes Lung’s style of kung fu during one of his fights, he hunts down Lung’s grandfather and kills him. Lung then with the help of his uncle learns a new emotional Kung Fu style to defeat the general and get his revenge.
While the revenge plot was nothing new the choreography and action are top notch, you can see Jackie, now given freedom, really showing his stuff with great physical agility, his fight against three spearmen is amazing and overall anyone who enjoyed his earlier hits will also get a great deal from this Kung Fu classic.
Most releases of this film on home media have been poor, from badly pan and scanned VHS releases to washed out DVD’s this new Blu ray is a revelation. Colourful, clear and crisp this is the best the film has ever looked.
With the Audio the original mono is also clear with no distortion, the only bad thing is the horrendous English dub, try and watch in original Cantonese with subtitles if you can. On the Blu ray, you also get an alternative Cantonese dub with music cues from the Japanese release which was called Crazy Monkey. Other extras are an Audio Commentary by Hong Kong cinema experts Mike Leeder and Arne Venema, trailers, a booklet with writings and many rare pictures and on the limited edition set a new slipcase with fabulous artwork from Kung Fu Bob Obrien.
A fantastic release of a great movie, I never thought I would ever see it in this quality, so huge kudos to 88 Films and their future releases also look very promising for fans.
FILM- 8.5 PICTURE – 10 AUDIO – 8 EXTRAS – 7