Shawscope Volume 2 – Disc 4 Blu-Ray Review

Invincible Shaolin and Kid With the Golden Arm

Disc 4 of the Shawscope Volume 2 Blu Ray set contains two classic Venoms movies the first of which is Invincible Shaolin made in 1978.

An evil Ching warlord (Wang Lung Wei) has a secret vendetta against the Shaolin Temple and invites fighters from both South and North Shaolin to show their skills so he can recruit one group to train his troops. The Northern fighters win easily, but they don’t know that the warlord has secretly killed all 3 after the match. He then spreads false information that it was the Northern fighters who brutally killed the Southern fighters during the contest. The teacher of those killed gets his three best students to go away and retrain them in different styles (Mantis, Wing Chun and Pole Fighting) so they can then get revenge. But will the deception hold out when the fighters again clash at the warlord’s mansion?

Arguably one of the best of the Venoms movies, with a good story, fast pace, great training sequences and as expected brilliantly choreographed fight scenes. They all get to shine especially Lo Mang who gets to show the power of the Mantis style and the film has an exciting and bloody climax.

The second film on this disc is The Kid With the Golden Arm this one was released a year later in 1979. On a trek to deliver a cache of gold to an unspecified location populated by the sick and needy, a group of escorts proficient in kung fu are hired to protect the shipment. With assorted dangers on the journey, the dreaded Chi Sa gang, led by Golden Arm, intercept the heroes with a series of ambushes and traps in an attempt to take the gold for themselves.

The production is a rather slap-dash affair with a lazy story but is helped out by the martial arts on display. The cramped Shaw Brothers sets don’t help and the direction is flat and not at all adventurous. Lo Mang plays the Golden Arm title character who is invulnerable to sword strikes to his arms and he plays the character well both arrogant and charismatic.

Not the best of the Venoms movies, but it does have a big cult following in the USA, but is worth seeing for the empty hand and weapons combat on display which is again very well choreographed and gets most of the cast to shine in that aspect.

Both films on this disc are from a 2K remaster and look great with bold colours and a very clean image. Audio gives you a clear Mandarin language track with good subtitles or the classic English dub.

The following Extras are included –

  • Interview with action director Robert Tai, filmed in 2003 – Another interesting interview discussing his career and time at Shaw Brothers and other studios.
  • Poison Clan Rocks The World, a brand new visual essay on the Venom Mob written and narrated by author Terrence J. Brady
  • Alternate “continuity” cut of The Kid With The Golden Arm, presented via seamless branching
  • Alternate and textless title sequences for The Kid with the Golden Arm
  • Hong Kong theatrical trailer for Invincible Shaolin
  • Hong Kong theatrical trailer (audio only) and US TV spot for The Kid with the Golden Arm
  • Image galleries for both films

Another good disc in this set with Invincible Shaolin being the stand-out movie of the two. I cannot recommend this Shawscope Volume 2 box set enough, if you are a Shaw fan it is a must-buy.

FILMS – 8.5 / 7 PICTURE – 8 AUDIO – 8 EXTRAS – 7.5

Shawscope Volume 2 – USA Release

Picking up where Volume One left off, this sophomore collection of Hong Kong cinema classics draws together many of the best films from the final years of the Shaw Brothers studio.

Shawscope Volume 2 – UK Release

Picking up where Volume One left off, this sophomore collection of Hong Kong cinema classics draws together many of the best films from the final years of the Shaw Brothers studio.

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