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Shaolin Iron Fist Collection: Disciple of Shaolin Master

Crash Cinema // Unrated // May 25, 2004
List Price: $14.97 [Buy now and save at Amazon]

Review by Carl Davis | posted October 30, 2004 | E-mail the Author
Crash Entertainment has certainly found their niche with DVD buyers by releasing numerous films from the golden age of Hong Kong Kung Fu. Countless films were produced during this time and in order to keep up with the demand, Crash Entertainment has resurrected their Venom Mob Films label for the release of cheaper, often more generic films that have previously been released under multiple titles. Each wave of films is being released as part of a thematic collection with special packaging to differentiate one set from another. I was fortunate enough to be able to review the Shaolin Iron Fist Collection, comprised of 4 DVDs. Let's see how Venom Mob Films does.

Shaolin Iron Fist Collection: Disciple of Shaolin Master is the worst of the Shaolin Iron Fist Collection and possibly one of the worst quality DVD's I've seen in awhile. While I have seen many poor transfers of scratched and dirty film prints, Shaolin Iron Fist Collection: Disciple of Shaolin Master does them one better by being a transfer of a low quality video transfer of a poor quality film print. So in addition to all of the horrible film grain, scratches and debris, we're also treated to technical flaws such as poor tracking issues and vertical hold problems… inexcusable. To make matters even worse, the horrendous editing and dub job seal this one's fate from the get-go.

A group of monks, which one can only assume are Shaolin, are entrusted with protecting a sacred treasure for the hands of Feng Ko, who has been ordered by the Emperor to retrieve it. As the monks are gathered to discuss the completion of Architect, Li Lin's secret treasure room, Feng Ko and his warriors strike. The monks stand their ground which allows Li Lin to escape, but as he arrives at his home Feng Ko's men kill his wife and threaten his children. Li Lin dispatches the assassin and hits the road with his son… apparently leaving his daughter behind, with a relative I guess. That's another problem I have with this movie, I mean, I don't need things spelled out for me, but knowing character's names and relationships to one another tends to be a plus.

Fifteen years later (!!!), Feng Ko's men catch up with Li Lin and son, who I will call Bastard, as that is what everyone else in this movie seems to call him. Black Eagle, again not his name, but as good an approximation as I was able to make from the film, takes on Li Lin, but not before Li memorizes the map and then sets fire to it, ensuring that Feng Ko will never get his hands on the Shaolin's sacred treasure. Of course, Li Lin might have wanted to give Bastard the map or let him memorize it, because Li goes and gets himself killed so that Bastard can escape. Feng Ko isn't pleased to have lost possession of the map to the Shaolin treasure, but thinking that Bastard must know where it's hidden, he send Black Eagle and his men to look for the boy.

Li Lin did give his son one piece of advice before dying. He told him to find the Abbot of the "mmmrrpphh-mmlllkkkuuu" mountains. Ok, that's not really what they were called, but when a guy's dying he can't really spit it out, you know. Along the way to these mountains, Bastard meets up with a beautiful woman and her Uncle. You needn't have seen Star Wars to realize that this girl is Bastard's long, lost sister, but Bastard being Bastard, he doesn't give them the time of day. Eventually, realizing Bastard's impulsive and selfish ways will get him killed, an Old Beggar, who also happens to be a master of Drunken Boxing, takes him under his wing and provides comic relief for a good chunk of the film. Eventually, Bastard reaches the Abbot and begs him to teach him Kung-Fu, and not the crummy stuff that got his father killed, but the actual bad-ass, real-deal, Secret Technique Kung Fu.

Turns out that the Abbot is the last Guardian of the sacred Shaolin treasure now that Bastard's father has died, and Feng Ko and his men are on their way to finish things. This last battle is actually pretty impressive strictly from a location standpoint. There's a duel on top of a waterfall, as well as below on a floating bamboo raft. The girl and her Uncle show up again and we learn that the Abbot is Uncle's father, but we never learn if Uncle is really her uncle or just a friend of the family. Bastard's Sister races to his side as he fights the climactic duel with Feng Ko himself, who proved to be even too formidable for the combined might of the Abbot and his long lost son, Uncle. Just as it looks like she's going to join the fight and reveal some kind of Brother/Sister Kung-Fu power, Bastard dispatches Feng Ko, leaving his Sister out of breath and with no place to go. THE END.

The DVD:

Picture: The movie is presented in a Full Screen aspect ratio. As I said before, this transfer is awful. It's a transfer from a poor Video Source of a film print that was already badly scratched in places, had lots of wear throughout and even some debris visible.

Audio: The Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono track was of the Dubbed English and wasn't so much terrible as it was just annoying. The editing didn't help matters any as several scenes ended with characters in mid-sentence.

Extras: Included as Extras on this DVD are a Stills Gallery and a Fight Index where you can skip to a particular fight in the film.

Conclusion: Shaolin Iron Fist Collection: Disciple of Shaolin Master has to be one of the poorest DVD's I've seen, ranking up there with most Dollar Store releases of public domain titles. It's also the bottom of the barrel of the Shaolin Iron Fist Collection, which while the quality hasn't always been top notch, at least there was much more entertainment value for you dollar. It's sad to say since this is "technically" a set, but like most collections you're bound to get a dud every now and then.

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