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Burning Paradise (Special Edition) (Blu-ray Review)

REVIEW OVERVIEW

The Film
The Video
The Audio
The Supplements
Overall

Estimated reading time: 7 minutes

Burning Paradise is Ringo Lam’s (Wild Search, City on Fire) only film in the wuxia genre. The exaggerated fantasy-action-adventure merges humor, bloody action sequences, and incredible choreography, for what is now considered a cult classic.

During the Qing Dynasty when the government is persecuting Shaolin monks, young Shaolin disciple Fok Sai-yuk, who is fighting against the oppressive regime, is captured and held at Red Lotus Temple, where other followers of Shaolin are being held. There he is thrown into a pit of dead bodies by the cruel warden Kung and watches the woman he desires be taken by Kung as his concubine. Sai-yuk decides to rescue his fellow Shaolin, but he first must get through his highly-skilled fellow Shaolin disciple Hung Hei-gun who is working for Kung.

Lam, whose Hong Kong crime thrillers have been gritty and riveting, never feels exactly comfortable directing in this genre, but that is a good thing. His unique perspective on wuxia infuses a freshness into the throwback feeling of this setting by making the fights bloodier, the settings grander, and more humor.

The film escalates to ridiculous heights of elaborately choreographed fights, weaselly double-crosses, and lavish costumes. The telegraphed plot twists are easily overlooked thanks to the spectacle of it all. Lam knows how to entertain even in a genre at which he is not the best, and this film is entertaining once it gets going.

  • Burning Paradise (1994). Screen grab courtesy Eureka Entertainment.
  • Burning Paradise (1994). Screen grab courtesy Eureka Entertainment.
  • Burning Paradise (1994). Screen grab courtesy Eureka Entertainment.
  • Burning Paradise (1994). Screen grab courtesy Eureka Entertainment.
  • Burning Paradise (1994). Screen grab courtesy Eureka Entertainment.
  • Burning Paradise (1994). Screen grab courtesy Eureka Entertainment.
  • Burning Paradise (1994). Screen grab courtesy Eureka Entertainment.
  • Burning Paradise (1994). Screen grab courtesy Eureka Entertainment.
  • Burning Paradise (1994). Screen grab courtesy Eureka Entertainment.
  • Burning Paradise (1994). Screen grab courtesy Eureka Entertainment.
  • Burning Paradise (1994). Screen grab courtesy Eureka Entertainment.
  • Burning Paradise (1994). Screen grab courtesy Eureka Entertainment.
  • Burning Paradise (1994). Screen grab courtesy Eureka Entertainment.
  • Burning Paradise (1994). Screen grab courtesy Eureka Entertainment.
  • Burning Paradise (1994). Screen grab courtesy Eureka Entertainment.
  • Burning Paradise (Eureka Entertainment - eka70493)
  • Burning Paradise (Eureka Entertainment - eka70493)

The Video

Burning Paradise is taken from a 2K restoration of the film’s original 35mm camera negative and presented in a 1.85:1 AVC 1080p encodement. This transfer is rich with organic grain and three-dimensional texture. There is extended front-to-back detail, rich colors, and deep black levels without noise or blocking.

The Audio

The original Cantonese mono mix is provided in LPCM 2.0. It is competent mix with clear dialogue free form clipping and little hiss, clicks, or popping.

The Supplements

On-disc bonus features for Burning Paradise are few, including only a brief archival interview with Tsui Hark, but the audio commentary with Frack Djeng is typically enjoyable and informative for Djeng and the essay in the collector’s booklet is a great read.

  • Audio Commentary by Frank Djeng
  • Tsui Hark Interview (Archival) (1080p; 00:04:29)
  • Original Theatrical Trailer (1080p; 00:02:50)
  • Limited-Edition O-card Slipcase featuring new artwork by Darren Wheeling (first-print run of 2000 copies)
  • Collector’s Booklet with essay, “Temple on Fire: Blasphemy, Perversion, and the D a r k  F a c e d  G o d” by James Oliver (first-print run of 2000 copies)

The Final Assessment

A fun, violent, and dazzlingly choreographed wuxia that brought a breath of fresh air into the genre, this release from Eureka Entertainment’s Eureka Classics imprint is a winner for fans of martial arts films.


Burning Paradise (Special Edition) is out on Blu-ray in the UK May 29, 2023, from Eureka Entertainment.


  • Rating Certificate: UK: 18
  • Studios & Distributors: DLO Films Production | Silver Medal Productions Ltd. | Star Entertainment | Eureka Entertainment
  • Director: Ringo Lam
  • Written By: Nam Yin | Wong Wan Choi
  • Run Time: 105 Mins.
  • Street Date: 29 May 2023
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Video Format: AVC 1080p
  • Primary Audio: Cantonese LPCM 2.0 Mono
  • Subtitles: English
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Estimated reading time: 7 minutes Burning Paradise is Ringo Lam’s (Wild Search, City on Fire) only film in the wuxia genre. The exaggerated fantasy-action-adventure merges humor, bloody action sequences, and incredible choreography, for what is now considered a cult classic. During the Qing Dynasty when...Burning Paradise (Special Edition) (Blu-ray Review)