3 November 2009 | chowjoe
Good DVD restoration, lousy extras
I just watched the Dragon Dynasty DVD release of this movie that I'd last seen over 40 years ago as an impressionable pre-teen in Hong Kong. The restoration is quite stunning. The colors are vibrant and the print is mostly scratch-free. You also get to appreciate how director Chang Cheh in the late 60s/early 70s was a cut-above-the-rest storyteller with his camera placement and some fluid tracking shots, thereby transcending a lot of the hackneyed scripting, stilted acting and the studio-bound sets. However, I also took exception to the fact that the DVD did not contain commentary by Quentin Tarantino as promised by the box notes, and the 2 "film students" who did provide commentary left a lot to be desired. Surely Tarantino would have remarked upon the fact that the most noticeable parts of the musical score (including the entire end title scene) was lifted lock, stock and barrel from the 1966 Ralph Nelson western DUEL AT DIABLO. (Composer Neal Hefti's estate should sue!) And at another dramatic moment, a very familiar John Barry suspense motif from the Connery Bond films makes a 3-second appearance. It's really pathetic that these "film scholars" completely missed these cultural touchstones that make Hong Kong movies from this era such crazy-quilt pleasures.