Pedicab Driver & More Available On Warner Archive Instant

by Koray on July 24, 2015 · 0 comments in Buddhist Blog

This article was co-written by Kung Fu Bob O’Brien

The Golden Harvest studio is responsible for some of the most beloved films in the martial arts genre, having produced countless classics featuring legends like Bruce Lee, Jackie Chan, Sammo Hung, and Yuen Biao. A recent announcement from Warner Archives, the online film streaming service owned by Warner Brothers, revealed that six films by the legendary studio will be made available on their website.

Included among the six titles is the all-time Hong Kong classic PEDICAB DRIVER (1989), a fan favorite film from Sammo Hung that surprisingly has never been released officially on DVD. The movie, which was also directed by Hung, follows a group of friends (including Meng Hoi, Max Mok, Lam Ching-Ying, and Lowell Low) that work as pedicab drivers, and the misadventures they get in with ladies, romantic rivals, competition from other workers, a gambling boss, and gangsters led by a lecherous villain (John Shum). It features outstanding fight action, with highlights that include Hung battling Billy Chow, and having a show-stopping duel (starting with empty-hand and leading into a pole fight) with the legendary Lau Kar-Leung. Most fans have only ever seen the film via DVD bootlegs sourced from the VHS and laser disc releases (both long out of print) with poor video and audio quality.  So it’s fantastic news that it’s now available restored and remastered, with English subtitles, and it’s original language track.

Other tiles include Tsui Hark’s bloody cinematic poem THE BLADE (1995), an interesting take on the one-armed swordsman story starring Vincent Zhao, and Sammo Hung’s swordplay epic BLADE OF FURY (1993) starring Ti Lung. THE BLADE is an extremely dark, violent tale that features Hung Yan-Yan (best known as ‘Clubfoot’ from ONCE UPON A TIME IN CHINA 3-5) as the crazed killer ‘Flying Dragon’, gorgeous production values and cinematography, topped by hyper-kinetic editing done right. BLADE OF FURY is one of the best wuxia-pan films of the early ’90s, boasting an impressive cast, involving story, and explosive action. Ti Lung gives one of his best dramatic performances, Yeung Fan (who criminally only appeared in two films) makes his stunning debut here portraying “Big Blade” Wang Wu, and Lau Shun stuns in a beautiful scene where he performs drunken sword while expressing his ‘political position’ in a most dramatic manner.

It appears as though Warner also owns several other noteworthy martial arts films from the GH catalog such as Sammo Hung’s comedy-action ode to Bruce Lee, ENTER THE FAT DRAGON (1978), the Chan/Hung/Yuen Biao classicPROJECT A (1983), and Corey Yuen’s under-seen, action-packed LICENSE TO STEAL (1990). All of these films are in need of proper stateside DVD/Blu-ray releases. Perhaps these and other titles will also be made available on Warner Archives Streaming in the future?

In the past, companies such as Miramax/Disney have been criticized by fans of Hong Kong cinema for their poor handling of Jet Li and Jackie Chan re-releases, due to them re-titling, severely cutting them, changing the music and credits, putting the wrong cover photos on them, and releasing them with only new English dub audio tracks. Fans simply want their films unaltered, with their original Cantonese or Mandarin audio tracks, the original classic English dubs, correctly translated English subtitles (not based on the dubs), and a nice, restored picture. Seeing Warner Brothers release classic films like PEDICAB DRIVER complete with its original audio and remastered sound and picture is a good indication for things to come from the streaming service.

According to a twitter announcement by Warner archives these first six titles are only the beginning of their releases of GH films. If there is a Golden Harvest films that you would like to see get the same treatment that Warner Archives has given PEDICAB DRIVER, please contact the WB shop customer service at: http://www.wbshop.com/category/customer+service/contact+us.do to let them know. In this day and age ‘the people’ truly have a voice when dealing with big companies, and what we as consumers would like. The more fans that contact WB with requests for proper DVD/BD releases of these films, the more likely it is to happen. So please take a minute to tell them how much we’d all like physical releases of these classic Hong Kong movies. We can make it happen if we let them know there is a market for them.

Below is a list of all six Golden Harvest titles currently available on the Warner Archive Instant streaming  service

PEDICAB DRIVER (1989)

BLADE OF FURY (1993)

BIG BULLET (1996)

DOWNTOWN TOPEDOES (1997)

THE BLADE (1995)

TERRACOTTA WARRIOR (1989)

For information on Warner Archives Instant visit http://instant.warnerarchive.com

 

Source: http://moviemorlocks.com/2015/07/14/martial-art-pedicab-driver-and-the-golden-harvest-library-on-warner-archive-instant/

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