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Old 01-12-2017, 07:11 AM   #1
bigshot bigshot is offline
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United Kingdom 88 Films' Shaw Brothers Martial Arts Movies

I've gotten four films in the 88 Films Shaw Brothers series so far... Hex, 5 Elements Ninjas, Black Magic and House of Traps. Every single one of them is great, both as movies and as blu-rays. Sharp transfers with vivid colors and sound that is clean and clear with all the required impact and bass. The films themselves are cartoony and wild, the best of the lot being 5 Elements. If you're on the fence about these pick them up. They are really good.

Region 2 locked. Includes trailers and commentary track along with both English and Mandarin soundtracks and English subtitles.

Last edited by BigNickUK; 01-25-2018 at 04:12 AM.
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Old 01-12-2017, 07:39 AM   #2
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Thanks. Have pre-ordered for Seeding of a Ghost, and Looking to pick up 5 Elements Ninjas when it's more affordable.
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Old 01-12-2017, 08:31 AM   #3
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These look interesting, never seen them, had a look at the trailers, may order a few.
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Old 01-12-2017, 10:10 AM   #4
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Five Element Ninjas is incredible. I can't speak for the 88 Films release as I've yet to see any detailed reviews so can't assess whether it's worth an upgrade, but it's an easy blind buy if you don't already have a copy.
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Old 01-12-2017, 12:20 PM   #5
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Would absolutely love them to release King Hu's Come Drink With Me, if they can get it, and if not then I'd be interested in Chang Cheh's Golden Swallow instead (or as well). And obviously Liu Chia-liang's The 36th Chamber of Shaolin would be very popular!

I think I'll probably end up picking some of these up (most likely Five Element Ninjas to start with). More likely the wuxia ones over the horror/fantasy, but I may get one or two of those too (Seeding of a Ghost looks insane).
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Old 01-12-2017, 07:24 PM   #6
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They have reported less than stellar sales numbers on these, so please support sooner rather than later. I'm hoping they can continue the line as nobody else is lining up to release these films.
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Old 01-12-2017, 07:37 PM   #7
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They have reported less than stellar sales numbers on these, so please support sooner rather than later. I'm hoping they can continue the line as nobody else is lining up to release these films.
The sad fact is that HK films have never done especially well in the UK, either theatrically or - with very rare exceptions - on various video formats. You'd assume that they'd have a massive cult following, but the figures very much suggest otherwise.

I can attest to this from personal experience: back in 1993, and desperately in need of a solid hit to bale out the struggling independent cinema I was managing at the time, I had to choose between Like Water for Chocolate and Hard-Boiled. I watched both and thought that the latter was the closest thing to a dead cert that I'd ever seen, not just because I personally loved it but also because distributors Metro were planning to piggy-back their release on the back of the much more lavish marketing campaign for Hard Target. The reviews weren't great, but Metro went to town on ads and flyposters, so I was about as relaxed about a new opening as I've ever been.

I came into the office on Monday morning, looked at the weekend figures and honestly thought it was a practical joke - it was the second worst opening weekend in my entire cinema management career. Maybe it was because we were in the wrong area for a film like this and it cleaned up everywhere else? Nope - I rang one of the other cinemas, and a third rang me, all of us shell-shocked. We had to take it off early, and of course the punchline was that Like Water for Chocolate opened down the road and became a massive sleeper hit, just to rub it in.
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Old 01-12-2017, 07:41 PM   #8
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The sad fact is that HK films have never done especially well in the UK, either theatrically or - with very rare exceptions - on various video formats. You'd assume that they'd have a massive cult following, but the figures very much suggest otherwise.

I can attest to this from personal experience: back in 1993, and desperately in need of a solid hit to bale out the struggling independent cinema I was managing at the time, I had to choose between Like Water for Chocolate and Hard-Boiled. I watched both and thought that the latter was the closest thing to a dead cert that I'd ever seen, not just because I personally loved it but also because distributors Metro were planning to piggy-back their release on the back of the much more lavish marketing campaign for Hard Target. The reviews weren't great, but Metro went to town on ads and flyposters, so I was about as relaxed about a new opening as I've ever been.

I came into the office on Monday morning, looked at the weekend figures and honestly thought it was a practical joke - it was the second worst opening weekend in my entire cinema management career. Maybe it was because we were in the wrong area for a film like this and it cleaned up everywhere else? Nope - I rang one of the other cinemas, and a third rang me, all of us shell-shocked. We had to take it off early, and of course the punchline was that Like Water for Chocolate opened down the road and became a massive sleeper hit, just to rub it in.

I remember you telling this story previously and I hope things change for the better. Maybe a new generation will discover these films. A generation willing to buy and not stream. In all fairness, I am not a Hard-Boiled fan myself. I prefer A Better Tomorrow.
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Old 01-12-2017, 07:53 PM   #9
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I've still not seen A Better Tomorrow (despite getting it on DVD some years ago) but I absolutely loved Hard Boiled the first time I saw it. It's probably* my favourite John Woo film.

I do wonder, if someone managed to get some of these late 80's/90's Hong Kong actioners (John Woo, Ringo Lam, Johnnie To), how well they would do sales-wise. I suppose if they marketed them well, or made them more 'desirable' than other titles (e.g. limited edition, slipcover etc) that might give them a shove. Or they could do a small box set, like Arrow are doing with the Miike trilogies.

I think something like Hard Boiled or A Better Tomorrow (or The Killer) might do better now than it did back then, but you never really know until it gets announced how well it's actually going to do...

*Face/Off?

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They have reported less than stellar sales numbers on these, so please support sooner rather than later. I'm hoping they can continue the line as nobody else is lining up to release these films.
I would do, but the ones I was interested in are about twice as much as they were to pre-order (and now I regret not pre-ordering them). I might wait for them to sit at a more sensible price before I bite.
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Old 01-12-2017, 08:09 PM   #10
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I do think 88 films could have come up with covers that represent the films better.
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Old 01-12-2017, 08:54 PM   #11
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I don't usually buy all the films from a certain line (i.e 88 films' Italian or slasher collections), but decided I'd make an exception for the Shaws. Managed to get most of the venoms films on DVD from CDWOW years ago (many were actually pretty cheap too) and loved pretty much all of them, so getting them is a no brainer for me. Also thought I'd take a punt on the others, mainly just to see them, but also to help the old sales figures a tad.

On the subject of Hard Boiled, I still remember seeing it for the first time. Watched it with my brother, we do love a good action movie, particularly something along the lines of Die Hard, and when the film finished we just looked at each other and couldn't believe the awesomeness we'd just witnessed. Definitely one of the only times I've been genuinely blown away by a movie.
Some of the action/gunplay scenes (or even all) have still pretty much not been bettered for the visceral/kinetic nature of the choreography and all-round danger shown on screen.
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Old 01-12-2017, 09:33 PM   #12
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It also stars my two favourite Hong Kong actors ever. That hospital sequence is basically unrivalled.
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Old 01-12-2017, 11:44 PM   #13
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Regarding the sales figures, I'd image it's more to do with the fact that these are foreign language films - even with Arrow's Japanese titles, there are always people complaining (mostly on Facebook) that they don't care for them and would want Arrow to focus on more horror titles. It's a shame because they're not even willing to give the films a try.
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Old 01-13-2017, 12:14 AM   #14
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Seeding of a Ghost and Black Magic are 2 of the best Asian horror films ever made. If people could get over the subtitle issue, they would probably enjoy them. I hope they get to Black Magic 2, Corpse Mania, Bewitched, Oily Maniac, Boxer's Omen, and would love for the 2 Hex sequels to get a release. I know they mentioned Hex in particular as having poor sales.
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Old 01-13-2017, 04:13 AM   #15
Markgway Markgway is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rapta View Post
Would absolutely love them to release King Hu's Come Drink With Me, if they can get it, and if not then I'd be interested in Chang Cheh's Golden Swallow instead (or as well). And obviously Liu Chia-liang's The 36th Chamber of Shaolin would be very popular!
All of those are with Dragon Dynasty.

Quote:
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The sad fact is that HK films have never done especially well in the UK, either theatrically or - with very rare exceptions - on various video formats. You'd assume that they'd have a massive cult following, but the figures very much suggest otherwise.
In short, people in the UK are stupid.

I was too young to see Hard-Boiled when it came out in '93, but I do remember the promotion (and again the following year when it came out of VHS). Had some strong poster quotes (and a ***** review from Empire); but if the cinema-going muppets would rather see a load of old piss what can you do?
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Old 01-13-2017, 04:25 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Blu2u View Post
Seeding of a Ghost and Black Magic are 2 of the best Asian horror films ever made. If people could get over the subtitle issue, they would probably enjoy them. I hope they get to Black Magic 2, Corpse Mania, Bewitched, Oily Maniac, Boxer's Omen, and would love for the 2 Hex sequels to get a release. I know they mentioned Hex in particular as having poor sales.
I suppose I can't complain about these sales figures, as I haven't bought any of the Shaw horrors myself. I think the studio's horror output is generally poor and am probably not best placed to advise on which ones to buy -- all the titles you request aren't my cuppa cha at all (and yes, I've sat thru them... even the Hex sequels).

I'm much more a martial arts fan. I bought House of Traps (a middling Venoms flick) and am eager for Killer Constable (by far the best film in the 88 Asia collection).

I already own Five Element Ninjas (Tokyo Shock edition) and have Masked Avengers down as below par (I'll probably skip that one, especially if it's anything about 8.99).

Would it even make a difference what the titles were? Most people in the UK don't know their Ti Lung from their tea bag. I could recommend plenty of unreleased Shaw kung fu and swordplay classics (that Dragon Dynasty don't have) but would those sell any better? Beats me.
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Old 01-13-2017, 06:47 AM   #17
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Five Element Ninjas is incredible. I can't speak for the 88 Films release as I've yet to see any detailed reviews so can't assess whether it's worth an upgrade, but it's an easy blind buy if you don't already have a copy.

I own it! Region B locked! I look at it as a nice companion to the Tokyo Shock blu-ray; not as an replacement. The trade-off is that you get a Bey Logan commentary, reversible cover, home video trailer and booklet about Ninjas in cinema (a brief overview) but you lose the Lo Meng interview, stills gallery and original theatrical trailer. Audio tracks are an English dub and Mandarin audio with English subs. I would say that the PQ of the 88 Films release is just a tiny bit better than Tokyo Shock`s release. 88 Films looks a little "stronger".














Quote:
Originally Posted by rapta View Post
Would absolutely love them to release King Hu's Come Drink With Me, if they can get it, and if not then I'd be interested in Chang Cheh's Golden Swallow instead (or as well). And obviously Liu Chia-liang's The 36th Chamber of Shaolin would be very popular!

I think I'll probably end up picking some of these up (most likely Five Element Ninjas to start with). More likely the wuxia ones over the horror/fantasy, but I may get one or two of those too (Seeding of a Ghost looks insane).

36th Chamber of Shaolin was released by Celestial/IVL in a beautiful box set along with its sequels. The price is not too bad and is pretty much the definitive word on this title. English subs and dub track available on that release. It is a must-have! You can get these from http://www.dddhouse.com and probably from some of the other HK retailers online. Also, be on the look-out for Boxer from Shantung.





It sucks that sales are less than expected! I will keep supporting them as long as they continue to release quality titles. Though, I prefer Shaw`s kung-fu, I will still pick up the horror titles too. So, far, I own all the 88 Films SB releases, except Black Magic. It is on my list! Killer Constable is certainly a high priority. I hope they get a chance to do Human Lanterns as that is probably my favorite Shaw horror title.
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Old 01-13-2017, 07:55 AM   #18
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Thanks for the tip on the 36th Chamber box set. I just ordered it on Amazon from a third party seller.
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Old 01-13-2017, 08:54 AM   #19
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Quote:
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Would it even make a difference what the titles were? Most people in the UK don't know their Ti Lung from their tea bag. I could recommend plenty of unreleased Shaw kung fu and swordplay classics (that Dragon Dynasty don't have) but would those sell any better? Beats me.
Guesswork of course, but perhaps they might have done somewhat better had they come out of the gate with heavy hitters like One-Armed Swordsman trilogy, King Boxer, The 36th Chamber of Shaolin, 8 Diagram Pole Fighter, etc (providing these titles are available to them - maybe they were more expensive to licence?). I get the focus on horror as well given 88 Films' branding, but even then I imagine people are reluctant to test the waters, particularly if they didn't like Hex.
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Old 01-13-2017, 09:20 AM   #20
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Guesswork of course, but perhaps they might have done somewhat better had they come out of the gate with heavy hitters like One-Armed Swordsman trilogy, King Boxer, The 36th Chamber of Shaolin, 8 Diagram Pole Fighter, etc (providing these titles are available to them - maybe they were more expensive to licence?). I get the focus on horror as well given 88 Films' branding, but even then I imagine people are reluctant to test the waters, particularly if they didn't like Hex.
My thoughts exactly...i would've been all over The 36th Chamber Of Shaolin or 8 Diagram Pole Fighter (for my money the two best Shaw Brothers Kung Fu flicks ever). Legendary Weapons Of China or Clan Of The White Lotus would also be definite buys for me. Never been a big fan of Five Element Ninjas or the horror type fare with the exception of Human Lanterns.
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