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Kino on Video presents

Eagle Shooting Heroes (1993)

ďLetís see your so-called Mystical Kung Fu.Ē- Ou-yang Feng (Tony Leung Chiu Wai)

Stars: Leslie Cheung, Brigitte Lin, Maggie Cheung
Other Stars: Tony Leung Chiu Wai, Jacky Cheung, Carina Lau, Tony Leung Ka Fai, Veronica Yip
Director: Jeffrey Lau

MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (violence)
Run Time: 01h:43m:03s
Release Date: 2008-07-15
Genre: foreign

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer


DVD Review

The name Wong Kar-Wai is synonymous with directing gorgeously-shot, modern classics like Chungking Express and 2046. Heís not exactly the first person that comes to mind when you think of zany, outrageous, comedic martial arts films. While he didnít sit in the directorís chair, he was the executive producer and greatly influenced 1993ís Eagle Shooting Heroes. Directed by Jeffrey Lau, this spoof of a novel by Louis Cha was shot around the same time Wong Kar-Wai was shooting Ashes of Time, a serious version of the same story. 14 years later, Lauís comedic take is finally making its way to DVD, courtesy of the always-reliable Kino.

The Third Princess (Brigitte Lin) has uncovered a plot to take over her Kingdom. The pair behind the plot is the Queen of Golden Wheel Kingdom (Veronica Yip) and Ou-yang Feng (Tony Leung Chiu Wai), two cousins that are having an affair. The Third Princess confronts Feng, but he defeats her, causing her to leave and seek the help of her master who advises her to find a secret martial arts manual that will help her defeat her arch rival and protect her Kingdom.

While not a major problem, this is a film that works best for die-hard fans of old-school kung fu movies. Itís not that thereís a ton of inside jokes and references from other martial arts films, but director Lau is sending up the overall style and outrageous storylines that are featured in those films. If youíve seen a ton of these genre pictures, then youíll instantly fall in love with this, but, regardless, itíll be evident a mere five minutes in whether all of the filmís nuances are for you. It was difficult to settle in at first, but thereís enough craziness here that will enable more than just the die-hard martial arts fans to enjoy nearly every minute of this.

Ironically, many of the actors in the film have starred in Kar-Waiís movies as well. Most of them also appeared in Ashes of Time, as these two films were shot nearly simultaneously. Lin is phenomenal as the Third Princess, giving us the perfect blend of beauty and toughness, while Yip and Leung Chiu Wai are excellently malevolent together, teaming up to be a most menacing couple. The entire cast is basically paying homage to the stars of similar films that have been made for decades, and, in that regard, they more than accomplish what they set out to do. Whether you jump on board this crazy ride or not, thereís absolutely no questioning the excellence of each and every performance here, let alone the obvious fun that these actors were having on the set.

If youíre looking for something even remotely plot-driven then youíre in the wrong place. The loose story and numerous subplots are simply in place to get us from one off-the-wall action set piece to the next. Sure, there technically is a plot, per say, but you might as well forget about it after the first five minutes. The key to enjoying Eagle Shooting Heroes is to grab some popcorn, relax in your chair, and enjoy the smile that will more than likely stay on your face during the film.

Rating for Style: B
Rating for Substance: B


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio1.85:1 - Widescreen
Original Aspect Ratioyes

Image Transfer Review: Presented in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen, some apparent restoration work results in plenty of sharp, detailed images. The awesome color scheme practically bursts off of the screen, with every hue in this vast color palette being well-rendered and free from any blemishes. Thereís still some dirt and grain, but the overall condition of this print could have been much worse.

Image Transfer Grade: B

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Cantoneseno

Audio Transfer Review: The Dolby Digital 2.0 Cantonese audio is also very well-done, albeit not an overly dynamic track. The surrounds rarely come to life but everything sounds fine up front. Dialogue is always crystal clear, blending into the overall mix just fine.

Audio Transfer Grade: B- 

Disc Extras

Static menu with music
Scene Access with 24 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English with remote access
1 Original Trailer(s)
Packaging: Keep Case
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: dual

Extra Extras:
  1. Photo Gallery
Extras Review: The only extras are the trailer for Eagle Shooting Heroes and a photo gallery.

Extras Grade: D

Final Comments

Eagle Shooting Heroes is a film whose essence isnít for everyone, but, if watched with an open mind, it can be an extremely fun, fulfilling movie going experience. Although itís 15 years old, the somewhat forgotten picture is finally getting its due on DVD thanks to this nice disc from Kino.

Chuck Aliaga 2008-07-17