Five Shaolin Masters / Shaolin Temple – Blu Ray Review Shawscope Volume 1 Arrow Box Set

The third disc in this Arrow box set has two classic Chang Cheh movies Five Shaolin Masters from 1974 and Shaolin Temple from 1976.

Five Shaolin Masters stars David Chiang, Ti Lung, Meng Fei, Fu Sheng and Chi Kuan Chun as the five Shaolin kung fu students who flee the Shaolin Temple which has been burned to the ground by the Manchu’s. They are now on the run and the enemies that are after them are all martial arts masters themselves and include a monk who betrayed the temple. They fight them one on one and barely escape with their lives, so go off and train with a different style and weapon and get set for another battle to the death and to get their revenge.

A standard plot these days but was a refreshing change in the early ’70s with director Chang Cheh specialising in what is now called the Shaolin cycle of films. All the stars give great performances, the villains also do not disappoint with good roles for Wang Lung Wei and Leung Kar Yan. The choreography by Lau Kar Leung and his brother Lau Kar Wing is crisp and well-staged. Kung Fu fans will get exactly what they want in this classic film.

The other film in this set is the quintessential Shaw Brothers kung fu movie in my opinion, Shaolin Temple.

Starring a whole array of stars from the old days of the studio to the upcoming Venoms crew, it includes Fu Sheng, David Chiang, Ti Lung, Chi Kuan Chun, Chiang Sheng and Lu Feng.

Yo can read my review of the film itself in detail here

The extras on this disc are again very good and include –

  • Newly filmed appreciation of Chang Cheh by film critic and historian Tony Rayns – He goes into great detail on the history of the director and his time at Shaw Brothers.
  • Interview with star Kong Do, filmed in 2003 by Frédéric Ambroisine
  • Elegant Trails: David Chiang and Elegant Trails: Ti Lung, two featurettes on the actors produced by Celestial Pictures in 2003
  • Alternate standard-definition version of Shaolin Temple
  • Alternate opening credits from Five Masters of Death, the US version of Five Shaolin Masters
  • Alternate opening credits sequences for Shaolin Temple
  • US and German trailers for Five Shaolin Masters
  • Hong Kong and German trailers for Shaolin Temple
  • Image galleries for both films

The image quality on both films is excellent. Great 1080p transfers, Five Shaolin Masters is a bit soft in places but overall both great presentations in HD. Audio gives you Mandarin language with English subs or English dubs both original mono and fine and clear even if the English dubs are a bit distorted in places.

Another great disc from a fabulous set from Arrow.

FILMS – 7.5 AND 9. PICTURE – 8 AND 8.5 AUDIO – 7.5 AND 7.5 EXTRAS – 8

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