The Jackie Chan Collection: Volume 1 (1976-1982) (Blu-ray Review)

REVIEW OVERVIEW

The Film (The Killer Meteors)
The Film (Shaolin Wooden Men)
The Film (Snake & Crane Arts of Shaolin)
The Film (Dragon Fist)
The Film (Battle Creek Brawl)
The Film (Dragon Lord)
The Video (The Killer Meteors)
The Video (Shaolin Wooden Men)
The Video (Snake & Crane Arts of Shaolin)
The Video (Dragon Fist)
The Video (Battle Creel Brawl)
The Video (Dragon Lord)
The Audio (Overall)
The Supplements
Overall

Estimated reading time: 7 minutes

The Jackie Chan Collection: Volume 1 (Shout! Factory)

The Jackie Chan Collection: Volume 1 (1976-1982) brings together seven films from early in the actor’s career. These films hail from the era when Golden Harvest was still trying to position Chan as the next Bruce Lee. The majority of the films in the collection are directed by Lo Wei and stick closely to a style that, if not direct imitation, surely mimics the films of the larger, older rival studio Shaw Brothers. So, we have mostly period wuxia films fixated on shaolin.

The first film, The Killer Meteors is concerned with a nobleman who believes his wife has poisoned him, so he hires his rival, a master of explosives, to kill his wife and find an antidote. In Shaolin Wooden Men, an orphan living at the Shaolin monastery befriends a prisoner who teaches him the deadly form of kung fu. To Kill with Intrigue, a young master must send his pregnant wife away to protect her from a vengeful woman whose face was scarred by his father. Snake & Crane Arts of Shaolin is about a young man who is chose to find out the reason behind the disappearance of the important text, Art of the Snake and Crane, while having to fight off rival clans. Dragon Fist finds a student on the road to revenge his murdered teacher. The penultimate film in the collection is Battle Creek Brawl, a Western production that also features Kristine DeBell, most famous for her turn in 1976’s Alice in Wonderland: An X-Rated Musical Fantasy and Meatballs. Jackie Chan plays a guy in 1930s Chicago seeking fame but when his family is attacked by mobsters and his brother’s fiancée taken hostage, he must enter a brutal brawl in Texas to get her back. Finally, the set ends with Dragon Lord, wherein a restless martial arts student pursues a girl and gets entangled in the workings of a gang of thieves.

Like the quality of the production and image (see below) the quality of the content does not really pick up in this collection until we hit the final three films, particularly Battle Creek Brawl. The Jackie Chan that we all know today does not really appear until the comedic turn of Battle Creek, wherein we finally see fun, Charlie Chaplin-esque personality and martial arts style that would continue to define his career. Even while Dragon Lord snaps back into the wuxia style, Chan’s comedic personality and style could no longer be suppressed and that final film in this collection would help to setup Chan heading into the 1980s and beyond.

The Video

The image quality for the seven films in The Jackie Chan Collection: Volume 1 is very inconsistent. The first few films are very underwhelming to say the least. The Killer Meteors looks like it has been scrubbed of all grain, it has a flattened appearance and amorphous shadow details. From there the films increase incrementally in quality. The next film in the collection, Shaolin Wooden Men, there is slightly more grain, but the image is inconsistent, granularity is minimal at best, colors are not very vibrant. We don’t start to see more filmic consistency until we reach the last three films in the collection, starting with Dragon Fist, then Battle Creek Brawl, which is arguably the standout in the set for the most natural and consistent looking even if it looks a little soft, and finally Dragon Lord, which has a good layer of grain and vibrant colors.

The Audio

Each film comes with the original Mandarin or Cantonese mono mix in DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 (To Kill with Intrigue is also listed as mono but on close listening to the Mandarin 2.0 track one notices the sound effects are stereo).  In addition to those, The Killer Meteors, To Kill with Intrigue, Battle Creek Brawl, and Dragon Lord get Dolby Digital 5.1 mixes for their original language and/or English dubs.  The 5.1 mixes are nothing special, but the mono mixes are surprisingly good. They offer good clarity and real punch in the kung fu sound effects.

The Supplements (& Specs)

The Jackie Chan Collection: Volume 1 (1976-1982) comes loaded with audio commentaries, interviews, and a couple of alternate cuts of certain films, as well as the requisite theatrical trailers and TV spots.

Disc 1 — The Killer Meteors

2.35:1 AVC 1080p

Mandarin DTS-HD MA 2.0 Mono

Secondary Audio: Cantonese DTS-HD MA 2.0 Mono | Mandarin DD 5.1 | English DD 5.1

Subs: English

Bonus Features:

  • Audio Commentary with Critic and Author David West (NEW)
  • Dragon Lord Hybrid Cut w/Original Cantonese Mono Audio
  • Original Theatrical Trailer (1080p)
  • Still Gallery (1080i)

Disc 2 – Shaolin Wooden Men

2.35:1 AVC 1080p

Mandarin DTS-HD MA 2.0 Mono

Secondary Audio: Cantonese DTS-HD MA 2.0 Mono | English DTS-HD MA 2.0 Mono | Alternate Cantonese DTS-HD MA 2.0

Subs: English

Bonus Features:

  • Audio Commentary with Film Critic and James Mudge (NEW)
  • Rick Baker on Shaolin Wooden Men (1080p; 00:09:14)
  • Original Theatrical Trailer (1080p)
  • English Trailer (1080p)
  • Still Gallery (1080i)
  • Japanese Trailer (1080p)
  • Japanese TV Spot (1080p)

Disc 3 – To Kill with Intrigue

2.35:1 AVC 1080p

Mandarin DTS-HD MA 2.0 Stereo

Secondary Audio: Cantonese DTS-HD MA 2.0 Stereo | Japanese DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 Mono Theatrical Mandarin | Mandarin DD 5.1 | English DD 5.1

Subs: English

Bonus Features:

  • Audio Commentary with Film Critic and Author David West (NEW)
  • Intriguingly Jackie – Interview with Rick Baker (1080p; 00:19:57)
  • Original Theatrical Trailer (1080p)
  • Japanese Theatrical Trailer (1080p)
  • Japanese Teaser Trailer (1080p)
  • Japanese TV Spot (1080p)
  • Still Gallery (1080i)

Disc 4 – Snake & Crane Arts of Shaolin

2.35:1 AVC 1080p

Mandarin DTS-HD MA 2.0 Mono

Secondary Audio: Cantonese DTS-HD MA 2.0 Mono | English DTS-HD MA 2.0 Mono | Japanese Theatrical Mandarin DTS-HD MA 2.0 Mono

Subs: English

Bonus Features:

  • Audio Commentary with Critic and Author David West (NEW)
  • Pick Your Poison – Interview with Rick Baker (1080p; 00:19:45)
  • Trailer (1080p)
  • Japanese Theatrical Trailer (1080p)
  • Japanese TV Spot (1080p)
  • Still Gallery (1080i)

Disc 5 – Dragon Fist

2.35:1 AVC 1080p

Cantonese DTS-HD MA 2.0 Mono

Secondary: Mandarin DTS-HD MA 2.0 Mono | English DTS-HD MA 2.0 Mono | Japanese Theatrical Cantonese DTS-HD MA 2.0 Mono | Cantonese DD 5.1 | Mandarin DD 5.1 | English DD 5.1

Subs: English

Bonus Features:

  • Audio Commentary with Film Critic James Mudge (NEW)
  • A Dragon Rules – Interview with Writer/Journalist David West (1080p; 00:21:44)
  • Original Theatrical Trailer (1080p)
  • Japanese Theatrical Trailer (1080p)
  • Japanese TV Spot (1080p)
  • Still Gallery (1080i)

Disc 6 – Battle Creek Brawl

2.39:1 AVC 1080p

English DTS-HD MA 2.0 Mono

Secondary: Cantonese DTS-HD MA 2.0 Stereo | Mandarin DTS-HD MA 2.0 Stereo | English DD 5.1

Subs: English

Bonus Features:

  • Audio Commentary with Film Critic James Mudge (NEW)
  • The Golden Boy: Harvesting a Major New Martial Arts Maverick (1080p; 01:24:43) (NEW)
  • Interview with Actress Kristine DeBell (2022) (1080p; 00:09:22) (NEW)
  • Interview with Actor Jackie Chan (1080p; 00:03:33)
  • Interview with Producer Fred Weintraub (1080p; 00:11:51)
  • Interview with Actress Kristine DeBell (2013) (1080p; 00:05:12)
  • Interview with Critic and Author David West (1080p; 00:14:06)
  • Rumble in the USA: Jackie Chan Takes on America – Interview with Rick Baker (1080p; 00:18:45)
  • Original US Theatrical Opening (1080p)
  • Original Theatrical Trailer (1080p)
  • The Big Brawl Theatrical Trailer (1080p)
  • Still Gallery (1080i)

Disc 7 – Dragon Lord (Hong Kong Theatrical Cut)

2.39:1 AVC 1080p

Cantonese DTS-HD MA 2.0 Mono

Secondary Audio: Alternate Cantonese DTS-HD MA 2.0 Mono | English DTS-HD MA 2.0 Mono | English DD 5.1

Subs: English

Bonus Features:

  • Dragon Lord 103 Minute Extended Cut w/Original Cantonese Mono Audio
  • Audio Commentary with Critic and Author David West (NEW)
  • Interview with Louis Sit (1080i; 00:09:40)
  • Interview with Actor Mars (1080i; 00:29:47)
  • Interview with Actor Whang In-six (1080i; 00:11:53)
  • Original Theatrical Trailer (1080p)
  • Cantonese Trailer (1080p)
  • English Trailer (1080p)
  • Behind-the-Scenes Teaser (1080p)
  • Still Gallery (1080i)

The Final Assessment

While the films included here are not definitive of Jackie Chan’s lengthy career, they offer a unique and often surprising look at the early and always skilled beginnings of a legendary career. Recommended for fans and completists.


The Jackie Chan Collection: Volume 1 (1976-1982) is out January 24, 2023, from Shout! Factory.


  • Studios & Distributors: Golden Harvest | Fortune Star | Warner Bros. | Shout! Factory
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 | 2.39:1
  • Video Format: AVC 1080p
  • Primary Audio Mandarin DTS-HD MA 2.0 Mono | Cantonese DTS-HD MA 2.0 Mono
  • Secondary Audio: English DTS-HD MA 2.0 Mono | Mandarin DD 5.1 | English DD 5.1 | Cantonese DD 5.1
  • Subtitles: DD 5.1
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Estimated reading time: 7 minutes The Jackie Chan Collection: Volume 1 (1976-1982) brings together seven films from early in the actor’s career. These films hail from the era when Golden Harvest was still trying to position Chan as the next Bruce Lee. The majority...The Jackie Chan Collection: Volume 1 (1976-1982) (Blu-ray Review)
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