Tuesday, May 23, 2023

Warriors Two: Limited Edition – Arrow Video (Blu-ray)

Theatrical Release Date: Hong Kong, 1978
Director: Sammo Kam-Bo Hung
Writer: On Szeto
Cast: Bryan Leung, Sammo Kam-Bo Hung, Casanova Wong, Fung Hak-on, Billy Chan, Dean Shek, Lau Kar-wing

Release Date: June 6th, 2023
Approximate Running Times: 95 Minutes 40 Seconds (Original Hong Kong Theatrical Cut), 90 Minutes 9 Seconds (Export Cut)
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 Widescreen / 1080 Progressive / MPEG-4 AVC (Both Versions)
Rating: R
Sound: DTS-HD Mono Cantonese, DTS-HD Mono Mandarin, DTS-HD Mono English/Cantonese - Classic Dub, DTS-HD 5.1 English/Cantonese - DVD Dub (Original Hong Kong Theatrical Cut), DTS-HD Mono English (Export Cut)
Subtitles: English (Original Hong Kong Theatrical Cut), English SDH (Export Cut)
Region Coding: Region A
Retail Price: $39.95

"Cashier Hua (Casanova Wong, The Shaolin Plot) leads a simple life working for a local bank, the only complications resulting from trying to give life advice to his friend Fat Chun (Hung). When Hua discovers a murderous plot to overthrow the mayor and is left for dead, Chun urges him to protect himself by learning the formidable style of Wing Chun from master Leung Tsan (Knockabout's "Beardy" Leung Kar-Yan). As Hua's skill set grows, his proximity to Leung unknowingly lands him in the crosshairs of the treacherous scoundrels who previously sought to kill him..." - synopsis provided by the distributor

Video: 4/5 (Both Versions)

Here’s the information provided about Warriors Two's transfer, "2K restorations from the original elements by Fortune Star of both the original HK theatrical cut and the shorter export cut.

It was restored in 2K resolution from original film elements by Fortune Star, who supplied this master to Arrow Video for this Blu-ray release. Further materials were kindly supplied for this release by Eureka Entertainment, originally produced for thier UK edition."

Warriors Two comes on a 50 GB dual layer Blu-ray.

Disc Size: 43.1 GB

Feature: 29.5 GB

The sources for both versions of Warriors Two are comparable; they are in great shape and free of any source-related imperfections. Color saturation is very good; the image looks crisp, and though black levels look good, there are moments where they could be stronger. It should be noted that Arrow Video uses seamless branching for the two versions, while Eureka Video presents the two versions as separate files.

Audio: 4/5 (DTS-HD Mono Cantonese, DTS-HD Mono Mandarin, DTS-HD Mono English/Cantonese - Original Hong Kong Theatrical Cut, DTS-HD Mono English -Export Cut), 3.75/5 (DTS-HD 5.1 English/Cantonese - Original Hong Kong Theatrical Cut)

The original Hong Kong theatrical cut comes with four audio options, a DTS-HD mono mix in Cantonese, a DTS-HD mono mix in Mandarin, a DTS-HD mono mix in English/Cantonese, and a DTS-HD 5.1 mix in English/Cantonese. Included are removable English subtitles for the Cantonese and Mandarin language tracks and non-removable English subtitles for the Cantonese dialog and onscreen text when watching the English language tracks. The export cut comes with one audio option, a DTS-HD mono mix in English, and removable English SDH subtitles. Quality and range-wise, the mono mixes are comparable. Dialogue always comes through clearly; everything sounds balanced, and fight scenes sound robust. Though the DTS-HD 5.1 track does a good job spreading out the original mono source, some of the sound effects do not sound as good as they do on the mono tracks.

Extras:

Extras for this release include an image gallery (75 images - stills/lobby cards/posters/home video art/other promotional materials), Hong Kong theatrical trailer (4 minutes 2 seconds, Dolby Digital mono Cantonese with removable English subtitles), English language theatrical trailer (3 minutes 31 seconds, Dolby Digital mono English, no subtitles), an archival interview with Bryan “Beardy” Leung Kar-Yan (5 minutes 15 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo Chinese with removable English subtitles), an archival documentary titled The Way of the Warrior: The Making of Warriors Two (45 minutes 37 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo English and Chinese with removable English subtitles for Chinese), an audio commentary martial arts cinema expert Frank Djeng and actor Bobby Samuels for the Hong Kong theatrical cut, an audio commentary with action cinema experts Mike Leeder and Arne Venema for the export cut, reversible cover art, a double-sided fold-out poster (limited to first pressing), a slipcover (limited to first pressing), and a thirty-two page booklet (limited to first pressing) with cast & crew information, an essay titled A Bridge in Time written by Jonathan Clements, press kit and campaign book, and information about the transfers.

Summary:

Warriors Two was one of the first martial arts films to feature the Wing Chun style of Kung Fu. Also, Warriors Two has a pre-credits sequence that features a voiceover narration that gives an overview of the Wing Chun style of Kung Fu.

Though the premise revolves around the all-too-common theme of revenge, the way that the narrative unfolds ensures that there’s never a dull moment. The finale provides a perfect coda to the events that preceded it.

Though the action set pieces are Warriors Two's heart and soul, the narrative is a very satisfying balance of action and humor. With the standout action set pieces being a lengthy training sequence and an explosive finale,

The cast members all give excellent performances in their respective roles, particularly Sammo Kam-Bo Hung in the role of Fei Chun, who is the focus of the majority of the comedy. And when it comes to fight sequences, he delivers, and then some. Another performance of note is Ka-Yan Leung in the role of a martial arts master who reluctantly teaches the protagonist.

From its opening moments, it is clear that Warriors Two is a special film. And, despite the fact that Warriors Two contains many elements that were synonymous with martial arts cinema at the time, the result is an exhilarating film whose impact on martial arts cinema is undeniable.

Warriors Two gets a solid release from Arrow Video that comes with a strong audio/video presentation, two versions of the film, and insightful extras, highly recommended.









Written by Michael Den Boer

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