This certainly is the perfect time to be a fan of vintage Hong Kong action films. In the last year plus, we’ve been treated to Blu-ray upgrades of plenty of films from the legendary Shaw Brothers vaults. You thought you’d received great news a few weeks ago with Shout! Factory releasing The Brave Archer collection on April 18th exclusively through their website. Turns out there’s even more with 11 films being boxed together for Shaw Brothers Classics Vol. 1 arriving on June 13. The collection focuses on films that were produced after Come Drink With Me transformed how martial arts movies captured the dynamic action. It includes Golden Swallow, the sequel to Come Drink With Me. You’ll be able to turn your home theater experience into the coolest martial arts theater in the neighborhood. The bonus features are still in development so we’ll have an update when available. Here’s the press release from Shout! Factory:
This spectacular box set comprises 11 classic martial arts films from the famous Shaw Brothers’ library, featuring some of their greatest stars – Jimmy Wang Yu (One-Armed Swordsman), Cheng Pei-pei (Come Drink With Me), Lo Lieh (King Boxer), Ku Feng (The Five Venoms), and David Chiang (The Boxer From Shantung). Many of these films are debuting for the first time on Blu-ray. Get ready for some exciting thrills and chills as heroes meet villains in a duel to the death!
THE ASSASSIN (1080p High-Definition Widescreen (2.35:1) / Mandarin & English Dub DTS-HD Master Audio Mono / 112 min.)
In the same year that director/writer Chang Cheh and star Jimmy Wang Yu revolutionized Hong Kong kung fu cinema with One-Armed Swordsman, they also collaborated on this epic of the Six Kingdoms era. Here, Yu is a two-armed swordsman who is also a Wei Empire patriot. Inside the Han Empire, Han Kuei, who comes from the royal family, assumes full power and wants to eliminate loyal officer Yen Sui. Later, our main character is betrayed by a jealous rival and becomes a village butcher. But when he meets Yen Sui, he is sent back on the road of vengeance. Chiao Chiao, the lovely and talented costar of One-Armed Swordsman, here plays Hsia, the love of the hero’s life and the strong woman who survives to protect their child.
THE THUNDERING SWORD (1080p High-Definition Widescreen (2.35:1) / Mandarin DTS-HD Master Audio Mono / 90 min.)
Superstar swordswoman Cheng Pei-pei, (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon), stars as the daughter of the Poison Master in a Romeo And Juliet-style martial arts adventure concerning a search for the magical “Heaven and Earth” weapon in The Thundering Sword.
THE GOLDEN SWALLOW (1080p High-Definition Widescreen (2.35:1) / Mandarin & English Dub DTS-HD Master Audio Mono / 104 min.)
The indomitable martial arts team of director Chang Cheh and stunt choreographer Liu Chia-liang continues the compelling saga of The Golden Swallow from King Hu’s Come Drink With Me in this sequel of heartbreaking romance, intrigue and stunning action.
THE JADE RAKSHA (1080p High-Definition Widescreen (2.35:1) / Mandarin DTS-HD Master Audio Mono / 91 min.)
Thanks in great part to Cheng Pei-pei, women in martial arts movies played a more central role in the plots and the swordswomen of the genre became some of the most charismatic figures in Hong Kong cinema. In The Jade Raksha, Cheng Pei-pei becomes a human combine harvester as she hacks and whacks a path through life, avenging the death of her family under the moniker “The Jade Raksha.”
THE BELLS OF DEATH (1080p High-Definition Widescreen (2.35:1) / Mandarin & English Dub DTS-HD Master Audio Mono / 85 min.)
The Bells Of Death is a whirlwind story about a man embarking on a life-long journey to master the sword, then find and eliminate the three men who killed his family and abducted his sister.
THE SWORD OF SWORDS (1080p High-Definition Widescreen (2.35:1) / Mandarin & English Dub DTS-HD Master Audio Mono / 106 min.)
Jimmy Wang Yu had just exploded into superstardom as One-Armed Swordsman when he teamed with respected writer/director Cheng Kang for this tale of master martial artists vying for the title blade – a “weapon of exceptional brilliance.” And with legendary martial arts choreographers Lau Kar-leung and Tang Chia directing the action, the result is a superb, flat-out adventure of intrigue, deception, and an abduction, delivering one battle after another until it culminates in an amazing all-out slaughter.
KILLER DART (1080p High-Definition Widescreen (2.35:1) / Mandarin DTS-HD Master Audio Mono / 84 min.)
Rampaging bandits are pillaging peaceful Chinese villages until the grieving dart master Liu Wen Lung sets out with his student, son, and servant to avenge his murdered wife and set things right. Renowned director Ho Meng-Hua – soon to be internationally famous for The Flying Guillotine – masterfully balances action with intrigue and romance, as the path of righteousness is littered with lies … and corpses.
THE INVINCIBLE FIST (1080p High-Definition Widescreen (2.35:1) / Mandarin DTS-HD Master Audio Mono / 94 min.)
The Invincible Fist is one of the few films where the godfather of the kung fu film Chang Cheh headlined Lo Lieh as the leading hero three years before Lo would become the Shaw Brothers’ first international star in King Boxer (aka Five Fingers Of Death). Here he plays a dedicated chief constable for Tsang Chou village who falls in love with the blind daughter of a bandit who is wreaking havoc. Joining him in all the action and emotion are award-winning actor Ku Feng and future superstar David Chiang.
DRAGON SWAMP (1080p High-Definition Widescreen (2.35:1) / Mandarin DTS-HD Master Audio Mono / 105 min.)
Cheng Pei-pei, the screen’s greatest swordswoman, teams with Lo Lieh for this amazing, fast-paced adventure of the “Martial Arts World” – where everyone is killing to gain the famous “Jade Dragon Sword.” Fascinating characters, like the Roaming Knight and the Master of Dragon Swamp, clash in this family feud, which takes place over twenty years. In addition to the spectacular fights, this special production holds an emotional wallop for the finale.
THE FLYING DAGGER (1080p High-Definition Widescreen (2.35:1) / Mandarin & English Dub DTS-HD Master Audio Mono / 93 min.)
Godfather of the kung fu film, director Chang Cheh is famous for introducing the revolutionary concept of “yanggang” (macho) martial arts movies. Until then, female stars (often in male swordsman roles) ruled the screens. This collaboration between him and swordswoman supreme Cheng Pei-pei is exceptional indeed. Cheng could hold her own with any man, freeing Chang to create the best of all possible martial arts worlds.
THE GOLDEN SWORD (1080p High-Definition Widescreen (2.35:1) / Mandarin DTS-HD Master Audio Mono / 101 min.)
Lo Wei remains internationally famous for directing Bruce Lee and Jackie Chan’s first major movies. Cheng Pei-pei is now internationally famous for her superlative villainous role in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. But both were superstars in Hong Kong for decades prior, so any teaming of the superlative “swordswoman supreme” and the vaunted director/writer/actor is cause for celebration. Kao Yuen joins them as a noble swordsman, and award-winning actor Ku Feng stars as the Frontier Terror in the evocative and effective “Martial Arts World” adventure.