Shawscope Volume 2 (Limited Edition) (Blu-ray Review)

REVIEW OVERVIEW

The Film (The 36th Chamber of Shaolin)
The Film (Return to the 36th Chamber)
The Film (Disciples of the 36th Chamber)
The Film (Mad Monkey Kung Fu)
The Film (Five Superfighters)
The Film (Invincible Shaolin)
The Film (The Kid with the Golden Arm)
The Film (Magnificent Ruffians)
The Film (Ten Tigers of Kwantung)
The Film (My Young Auntie)
The Film (Mercenaries from Hong Kong)
The Film (The Boxer's Omen)
The Film (Martial Arts of Shaolin)
The Film (The Bare-Footed Kid)
The Video (The 36th Chamber of Shaolin)
The Video (Return to the 36th Chamber)
The Video (Disciples of the 36th Chamber)
The Video (Mad Monkey Kung Fu)
The Video (Five Superfighters)
The Video (Invincible Shaolin)
The Video (The Kid with the Golden Arm)
The Video (Magnificent Ruffians)
The Video (Ten Tigers of Kwantung)
The Video (My Young Auntie)
The Video (Mercenaries from Hong Kong)
The Video (The Boxer's Omen)
The Video (Martial Arts of Shaolin)
The Video (The Bare-Footed Kid)
The Audio (Overall)
The Supplements
The Collection

SUMMARY

A 10-disc second volume in Arrow Video's Shawscope boxset series that collects restored versions of the legendary Hong Kong studio's classic films.

Shawscope Volume 2, the sophomore collection of Hong Kong cinema classics from Shaw Brothers and affiliated studios is drawn together here by Arrow Video and is a must for genre fans, just as the original set was. It starts off with the classic The 36th Chamber of Shaolin by legendary Lau Kar-leung in which Gordon Liu plays a bumbling con-man faking as a master kung-fu artist and shaolin master who enters a shaolin temple to learn the ways of the shaolin in order to defend his village from Manchu overlords. Other highlight films include The Kid with the Golden Arm, starring the Five Venoms and overseen by director Chang Cheh, this one involves a wagonful of gold, an attempt to steal it, and some machinations that lead to a brutal showdown. But not all the films are strictly in the martial arts genre. There is the schlock horror of The Boxer’s Omen that mixes a good versus evil plot with Buddhism and Thai witchcraft. We also get a young Jet Li in a film like 1986’s Liu Chia-Liang-directed Martial Arts of Shaolin, which moves the production out of Hong Kong onto the Mainland for a much more spacious and dynamic visual setting in which Li plays a familiar role about a young man who trains at the at the legendary Northern Shaolin temple in order to avenge the death of his father.

Whichever film you settle on first, or if you make your through this 10-disc, 8-Blu-ray collection in chronological order, you are surely to be pleased, surprised, and have a great time.

The Video

This second volume of the Shawscope collection from Arrow Video includes nine newly restored films by Arrow from the original camera negatives and a brand new 4K restoration of the classic The 36th Chamber of Shaolin by Celestial Pictures. Given that only ten of the films in this collection are new restorations, the consistency across the board is amazing especially when one remembers how awful these films have looked on home video and in broadcast versions over the years. That said, the Arrow Video restorations do standout, such as The Boxer’s Omen, with its neon-looking color schemes and wonderful handling of shadows. The Kid with the Golden Arm, another 2K restoration from the original camera negatives by Arrow, is also another standout with crisp details and a fine, natural granularity. The Celestial Pictures 4K restoration of The 36th Chamber of Shaolin is perhaps hindered a bit by the original source since there is some definite softness in the image and some frames look like they are a bit overly smoothened. The final two films in the collection, which are also the most recent, unsurprisingly look the best, even without being newly restored for this release.

The Audio

The films in the collection come Cantonese and/or Mandarin in mono DTS-HD Master Audio and an English dub in the same. The sound for each film, though not the greatest, is clear and good enough. The sound effects have good low end so the whacks, kicks, and clanking of swords hit with convincing impact.

The Supplements (and Disc Specifications)

Like the first volume from Arrow Video, this second collection is packed with new and archival bonus materials, including a number of new audio commentaries by the likes of the always informed and informative Frank Djeng and Tony Rayns.

The Shawscope Volume 2 Limited-Edition Box set includes:

  • Illustrated 60-page collectors’ book featuring new writing by David Desser, Jonathan Clements, Lovely Jon and David West, plus cast and crew listings and notes on each film by Simon Abrams
  • New artwork by Mike Lee-Graham, Chris Malbon, Kagan McLeod, Colin Murdoch, “Kung Fu” Bob O’Brien, Lucas Peverill, Ilan Sheady, Tony Stella, Darren Wheeling and Jolyon Yates
  • Two CDs of music from the De Wolfe Music library as heard in several of the films, exclusive to this collection

Disc 1 – The 36th Chamber of Shaolin

2.35:1 AVC 1080p

Primary Audio: Mandarin DTS-HD MA 1.0

Secondary Audio: Cantonese DTS-HD MA 1.0 | English DTS-HD MA 1.0

Subtitles: English

  • Brand new 4K restoration by Celestial Pictures and L’Immagine Ritrovata
  • Newly restored uncompressed Mandarin, Cantonese and English original mono audio
  • Newly translated English subtitles, plus optional hard-of-hearing subtitles for the English dub

Bonus Features:

  • NEW Feature Commentary by Travis Crawford
  • NEW Select Scene Commentary by Tony Rayns
  • Interview with Gordon Liu (1080p; 00:20:51) – An interview with actor Gordon Liu (“San De”), filmed by Frédéric Ambroisine in 2003.
  • Interview with Arthur Wong (1080p; 00:28:34) — Interview with the cinematographer of The 36th Chamber of Shaolin, filmed by Frédéric Ambroisine in 2006.
  • Shaolin: A Hero’s Birthplace (720p; 00:16:02) – This archive featurette on the film with actor Gordon Liu was produced by Celestial Pictures in 2003.
  • Elegant Trails: Gordon Liu (720p; 00:06:23) – This short profile of the actor was produced by Celestial Pictures in 2005.
  • Tiger Style: The Musical Impact of Martial Arts Cinema (1080p; 00:37:22) – A newly filmed overview of Shaw Brothers’ influence on the reggae, funk, dance, and hip hop subcultures as well as the films’ use of source cues, by music historian Lovely Jon.
  • Cinema Hong Kong: Swordfighting (1080i; 00:50:21) – The second in a three-part documentary on Shaw Brothers’ place within the martial arts genre, produced by Celestial Pictures in 2003 and featuring interviews with Jackie Chan, Jet Li, John Woo, Sammo Hung, Gordon Liu, Lau Kar-leung, Cheng Pei-pei, David Chiang, and many others.
  • Alternate English Credits (720p; 00:03:16)
  • Trailer Gallery:
    • HK Theatrical Trailer (Mandarin) (720p)
    • HK Theatrical Trailer (English) (1080p)
    • US TV Spot (1080p)
    • German Theatrical Trailer (1080p)
    • Digital Reissue Trailer (720p)
  • Image Gallery (1080p)

Disc 2 – Return to the 36th Chamber/Disciples of the 36th Chamber

  • Newly translated English subtitles for both films, plus optional hard-of-hearing subtitles for the English dubs

Return to the 36th Chamber:

2.35:1 AVC 1080p

Primary Audio: Cantonese DTS-HD MA 1.0

Secondary Audio: Mandarin DTS-HD MA 1.0 | English DTS-HD MA 1.0

Subtitles: English

Bonus Features:

  • Interview with Gordon Liu (1080p; 00:14:50) – An interview with actor Gordon Liu (“Zhou Renjie”), filmed by Frédéric Ambroisine in 2003.
  • Citizen Shaw (1080p; 00:57:42) – A French TV documentary from 1980 in which Sir Run Run Shaw gives an all-access tour of the Shaw Brothers backlot (including behind-the-scenes footage from Return to the 36th Chamber), remastered in high definition.
  • A Hero on the Scaffolding (720p; 00:14:40) – An archive featurette produced by Celestial Pictures in 2003, looking at the martial arts techniques used in the film.
  • Alternate Opening Credits:
    • HK Theatrical Credits (1080p)
    • Alternate English Title Sequence (720p)
  • Trailer Gallery:
    • HK Theatrical Trailer (720p)
    • Digital Reissue Trailer (720p)
  • Image Gallery (1080p)

Disciples of the 36th Chamber:

2.35:1 AVC 1080p

Primary Audio: Cantonese DTS-HD MA 1.0

Secondary Audio: Mandarin DTS-HD MA 1.0 | English DTS-HD MA 1.0

Subtitles: English

Bonus Features:

  • Interview with Gordon Liu (1080p; 00:14:50) — An interview with actor Gordon Liu (“San De”), filmed by Frédéric Ambroisine in 2003.
  • Alternate Opening Credits (1080p; 00:04:15)
  • Trailer Gallery:
    • HK Theatrical Trailer (1080p)
    • Digital Reissue Trailer (720p)
  • Image Gallery (1080p)

Disc 3 – Mad Monkey Kung Fu/Five Superfighters

  • Newly translated English subtitles for both films, plus optional hard-of-hearing subtitles for the English dubs

Mad Monkey Kung Fu:

2.35:1 AVC 1080p

Primary Audio: Cantonese DTS-HD MA 1.0

Secondary Audio: Mandarin DTS-HD MA 1.0 | English DTS-HD MA 1.0

Subtitles: English

Bonus Features:

  • NEW Commentary by Frank Djeng & Michael Worth
  • NEW Tony Rayns on Mad Monkey Kung Fu (1080p; 00:19:56) – A newly filmed appreciation by film critic and historian Tony Rayns, produced for Arrow Video in 2022.
  • Interview with Hsiao Hou (1080p; 00:39:59) – An interview with actor Hsiao Hou (“Little Monkey”), filmed by Frédéric Ambroisine in 2004.
  • Shaw in the USA (1080p; 00:32:12) – A brand new interview with Grady Hendrix & Chris Poggiali, authors of These Fists Break Bricks, on how Shaw Brothers broke America, produced for Arrow Video in 2022.
  • Trailer Gallery:
    • HK Theatrical Trailer (720p)
    • US Theatrical Trailer (1080p)
    • Digital Reissue Trailer (720p)
  • Image Gallery (1080p)

Five Superfighters:

2.35:1 AVC 1080p

Primary Audio: Cantonese DTS-HD MA 1.0

Secondary Audio: Mandarin DTS-HD MA 1.0 | English DTS-HD MA 1.0

Subtitles: English

Bonus Features:

  • Shaw in the USA — (1080p; 00:32:12) – A brand new interview with Grady Hendrix & Chris Poggiali, authors of These Fists Break Bricks, on how Shaw Brothers broke America, produced for Arrow Video in 2022.
  • Trailer Gallery
    • HK Theatrical Trailer (1080p)
    • UK VHS Promo (720p)
  • Image Gallery (1080p)

Disc 4 – Invincible Shaolin/The Kid with the Golden Arm

  • Brand new 2K restorations of both films from the original negatives by Arrow Films
  • Newly translated English subtitles for both films, plus optional hard-of-hearing subtitles for the English dubs

Invincible Shaolin:

2.35:1 AVC 1080p

Primary Audio: Mandarin DTS-HD MA 1.0

Secondary Audio: Cantonese DTS-HD MA 1.0 | English DTS-HD MA 1.0

Subtitles: English

Bonus Features:

  • Interview with Robert Tai (1080p; 00:23:59) – An interview with action director Robert Tai, filmed by Frédéric Ambroisine in 2003.
  • Poison Clan Rocks the World (1080p; 00:26:28) – A brand new video essay on the Venom Mob written and narrated by Terrence J. Brady, author of Alexander Fu Sheng: Biography of the Chinatown Kid.
  • Trailer Gallery:
    • HK Theatrical Trailer (Mandarin) (1080p)
    • HK Theatrical Trailer (English) (720p)
    • Digital Reissue Trailer (720p)
  • Image Gallery (1080p)

The Kid with the Golden Arm:

2.35:1 AVC 1080p

Primary Audio: Mandarin DTS-HD MA 1.0

Secondary Audio: English DTS-HD MA 1.0

Subtitles: English

Bonus Features:

  • Interview with Robert Tai (1080p; 00:23:59) – An interview with action director Robert Tai, filmed by Frédéric Ambroisine in 2003.
  • Poison Clan Rocks the World (1080p; 00:26:28) – A brand new video essay on the Venom Mob written and narrated by Terrence J. Brady, author of Alexander Fu Sheng: Biography of the Chinatown Kid.
  • Alternate Version – Some earlier video versions of The Kind with the Golden Arm present an alternate cut of the fight between Iron Robe and Hai Tao, correcting a continuity error inherent to the original release and found on the camera negative. It is presented here for posterity via seamless branching.
  • Alternate Opening Credits:
    • Textless Opening Credits (1080p; 00:02:03)
    • English Opening Credits 1 (720p; 00:02:13)
    • English Opening Credits 2 (720p; 00:01:45)
  • Trailer Gallery:
    • HK Theatrical Trailer (audio only) (720p)
    • US TV Spot (1080p)
    • Digital Reissue Trailer (720p)
  • Image Gallery (1080p)

Disc 5 – Magnificent Ruffians/Ten Tigers of Kwantung

  • Brand new 2K restorations of both films from the original negatives by Arrow Films
  • Newly translated English subtitles for both films, plus optional hard-of-hearing subtitles for the English dubs

Magnificent Ruffians:

2.35:1 AVC 1080p

Primary Audio: Mandarin DTS-HD MA 1.0

Secondary Audio: English DTS-HD MA 1.0

Subtitles: English

Bonus Features:

  • Rivers and Lakes (1080p; 00:22:34) – A brand new video essay on Shaw Brothers’ depiction of Chinese myth and history, written and narrated by Jonathan Clements, author of A Brief History of China.
  • Trailer Gallery:
    • HK Theatrical Trailer (720p) – Mandarin audio from a cassette tape synced to the original German theatrical trailer is used for this since the original Hong Kong trailer could not be found.
    • German Theatrical (720p)
  • Image Gallery (1080p)

Ten Tigers of Kwantung:

2.35:1 AVC 1080p

Primary Audio: Cantonese DTS-HD MA 1.0

Secondary Audio: Mandarin DTS-HD MA 1.0 | English DTS-HD MA 1.0

Subtitles: English

Bonus Features:

  • NEW Commentary by Brandon Bentley
  • Rivers and Lakes (1080p; 00:22:34) – A brand new video essay on Shaw Brothers’ depiction of Chinese myth and history, written and narrated by Jonathan Clements, author of A Brief History of China.
  • Interview with Chin Siu-ho (1080p; 00:21:17) – An interview with actor Chin Siu-ho (“Lin Fu-cheng”), filmed by Frédéric Ambroisine in 2003.
  • Textless Title Sequence (1080p; 00:01:16)
  • Trailer Gallery:
    • HK Theatrical Trailer (Cantonese) (1080p)
    • HK Theatrical Trailer (Mandarin) (720p)
    • US TV Spot (720p)
    • Digital Reissue Trailer (720p)
  • Image Gallery (1080p)

Disc 6 – My Young Auntie

  • Newly translated English subtitles, plus optional hard-of-hearing subtitles for the English dub

2.35:1 AVC 1080p

Primary Audio: Cantonese DTS-HD MA 1.0

Secondary Audio: Mandarin DTS-HD MA 1.0 | English DTS-HD MA 1.0

Subtitles: English

Bonus Features:

  • NEW Select Scene Commentary by Tony Rayns (1080p; 00:46:43)
  • Interview with Kara Hui (1080p; 00:29:20) – An interview with actor Kara Hui (“Dai-nan”), filmed by Frédéric Ambroisine in 2003.
  • Cinema Hong Kong: The Beauties of the Shaw Studio (720p; 00:53:45) – The final instalment on the three-part documentary, produced by Celestial Pictures in 2003.
  • Alternate VHS Version (720p; 02:00:34) – This standard-definition version of the film – while of inferior quality to the high-definition presentation on this disc – is included for posterity as, in some aspects, it is arguably a truer representation of the film’s original cinema release.
  • Alternate Opening Credits (1080p)
  • Trailer Gallery:
    • HK Theatrical Trailer (720p)
    • Digital Reissue Trailer (720p)
  • Image Gallery (1080p)

Disc 7 – Mercenaries from Hong Kong/The Boxer’s Omen

  • Brand new 2K restorations of both films from the original negatives by Arrow Films
  • Newly translated English subtitles for both films, plus optional hard-of-hearing subtitles for the English dub

Mercenaries from Hong Kong:

2.35:1 AVC 1080p

Primary Audio: Cantonese DTS-HD MA 1.0

Secondary Audio: Mandarin DTS-HD MA 1.0

Subtitles: English

Bonus Features:

  • Interview with Tong Kai (1080p; 00:28:50) – An interview with action director Tong Kai, filmed by Frédéric Ambroisine in 2010.
  • Trailer Gallery:
    • HK Theatrical Trailer (1080p)
    • Digital Reissue Trailer (720p)
  • Image Gallery (1080p)

The Boxer’s Omen:

2.35:1 AVC 1080p

Primary Audio: Cantonese DTS-HD MA 1.0

Secondary Audio: Mandarin DTS-HD MA 1.0

Subtitles: English

Bonus Features:

  • NEW Commentary by Travis Crawford
  • NEW Tony Rayns on Kuei Chih-hung (1080p; 00:21:02) – A newly filmed appreciation of the director of The Boxer’s Omen by film critic and historian Tony Rayns, produced for Arrow Video in 2022.
  • Extended Scene (720p; 00:01:57) – This additional shot from the first sex scene in the film was featured on a rare VHS edition from Taiwan. Film elements for it could not be found for the new restoration on this disc, but it is included here for posterity.
  • Trailer Gallery:
    • HK Theatrical Trailer 1 (1080p)
    • HK Theatrical Trailer 2 (720p)
  • Image Gallery (1080p)

Disc 8 – Martial Arts of Shaolin/The Bare-Footed Kid

  • Newly translated English subtitles, plus optional hard-of-hearing subtitles for the English dubs

Martial Arts of Shaolin:

2.35:1 AVC 1080p

Primary Audio: Mandarin DTS-HD MA 1.0

Secondary Audio: Cantonese DTS-HD MA 1.0 | English DTS-HD 1.0

Subtitles: English

Bonus Features:

  • NEW Commentary by Jonathan Clements
  • NEW Tony Rayns on Martial Arts of Shaolin (1080p; 00:29:40) – A newly filmed appreciation by film critic and historian Tony Rayns, produced for Arrow Video in 2022.
  • Interview with Sze Yeung-ping (1080p; 00:42:15) – An interview with screenwriter Sze Yeung-ping filmed by Frédéric Ambroisine in 2004.
  • Unrestored Version (720p) – This standard-definition version of the film – while of inferior quality to the high-definition presentation on this disc – is included for posterity as, in some aspects, it is arguably a truer representation of the film’s original cinema release.
  • Trailer Gallery:
    • HK Theatrical Trailer (720p)
    • Japanese Theatrical Trailer (720p)
    • Digital Reissue Trailer (720p)
    • Shaolin Temple 1 & 2 Trailers (720p)
  • Image Gallery (1080p)

The Bare-Footed Kid: 

1.85:1 AVC 1080p

Primary Audio: Cantonese DTS-HD MA 1.0

Secondary Audio: Mandarin DTS-HD MA 1.0 | English DTS-HD MA 1.0

Subtitles: English

Bonus Features:

  • NEW Commentary by Frank Djeng
  • NEW Tony Rayns on The Bare-Footed Kid (1080p; 00:16:28) — A newly filmed appreciation by film critic and historian Tony Rayns, produced for Arrow Video in 2022
  • Alternate Opening Credits (720p; 00:03:10)
  • Trailer Gallery:
    • HK Theatrical Trailer (720p)
    • UK VHS Promo (720p)
    • Digital Reissue Trailer (720p)
  • Image Gallery (1080p)

Disc 9 — Music from The 36th Chamber of Shaolin, Five Superfighters, Invincible Shaolin, and The Kid with the Golden Arm (CD).

Disc 10 — Music from Return to the 36th Chamber, Magnificent Ruffians, Ten Tigers of Kwangtung, My Young Auntie, Mercenaries from Hong Kong, and Disciples of the 36th Chamber (CD).

The Final Assessment

As a kid growing up the only way I got to see most of the films in this Shawscope Volume 2 (and Shawscope Volume 1) collection was to see it on the weekends when one of the local TV stations dedicated a block of time to broadcasting these kung fu movies. My aunt and I used to enjoy these as well as the western films that shared a block. They alternated one day, Saturday or Sunday (years have faded my memory) was westerns, and the next was kung fu. Being able to see them again now, fully restored, in their native language, and in all their colorful, high-action glory courtesy of Arrow Video is a fun walk down memory lane. And Arrow have brought the goods with a magnificent collection of collectibles and bonus features as well. Highly recommended.

Shawscope Volume 2 (Limited-Edition Boxset) is out on Blu-ray December 6, 2022 from Arrow Video


  • Rating Certificate: Not Rated
  • Studios & Distributors: Shaw Brothers | Celestial Pictures | Arrow Video
  • Directors: Liu Chia-Liang, Chang Cheh, Johnnie To, Kuei Chih-Hung, etc.
  • Run Time: 1415 mins
  • Street Date: 1415 mins
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 | 1.85:1 (The Bare-Footed Kid)
  • Video Format: AVC 1080p
  • Primary Audio: Cantonese DTS-HD MA 1.0 | Mandarin DTS-HD MA 1.0
  • Secondary Audio: English DTS-HD MA 1.0
  • Subtitles: English

Advertisement

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Stay Connected

301FansLike
0FollowersFollow
178FollowersFollow
1,559FollowersFollow
- Advertisement -

Notice of Compliance with FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION 16 CFR Part 255

In accordance with the Federal Trade Commission 16 CFR part 255 guidelines, this website hereby states that it receives free discs and other theatrical or home entertainment "screeners" and access to screening links from studios and/or PR firms, and is provided with consumer electronics devices on loan from hardware manufacturers and/or PR firms respectively for the purposes of evaluating the products and its content for editorial reviews. We receive no compensation from these companies for our opinions or for the writing of reviews or editorials.
Permission is sometimes granted to companies to quote our work and editorial reviews free of charge. Our website may contain affiliate marketing links, which means we may get paid commission on sales of those products or the services we write about. Our editorial content is not influenced by advertisers or affiliate partnerships. This disclosure is provided in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR § 255.5: Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

A 10-disc second volume in Arrow Video's Shawscope boxset series that collects restored versions of the legendary Hong Kong studio's classic films.Shawscope Volume 2 (Limited Edition) (Blu-ray Review)
%d bloggers like this: