LATEST | FEATURES | INTERVIEWS | NEWS | FRIGHTFEST | REVIEWS 88 Films offers a trilogy of Far Eastern films
By James Whittington, Thursday 8th March 2018
One of the UK's leading labels in cult Oriental awesomeness brings back a pair of classic Hong Kong swordplay shockers in The One Armed Swordsman and The Dragon Missile and introduces British viewers to a contemporary example of the Korean wave in Sea Fog. All three are available from March 26th in tempting special editions!
88 Films seem to have outdone themselves once more with the release of The One Armed Swordsman, the martial arts epic that is widely considered to be one of the most influential and important wuxia movies ever made! Directed by the legendary Chang Cheh (The Brave Archer) and featuring dynamite duels and limb-lopping set pieces galore, this bombastic widescreen mix of arthouse aesthetics and grindhouse gore led to numerous sequels and rip-offs but, as always, the original is the best! The extras on this release includes an audio commentary featuring the Asian film expert Bey Logan - recorded in Hong Kong last November - and an on-camera interview with David West, long-time reviews editor for NEO magazine and author of the essential monograph Chasing Dragons: An Introduction To The Martial Arts Film. Audio options include the original Mandarin language track or the English dub - just the way One Armed Swordsman would have played on 42nd Street back in the halcyon days of chopsocky triple bills! In addition, early orders will come with a booklet penned by Calum Waddell and a stunning slipcase.
Next up is The Dragon Missile - another masterpiece from Hong Kong cinema's most prolific and golden era! A sort-of sequel to The Flying Guillotine (1974 - also available from 88 Films), The Dragon Missile hit theatres in 1976 and proved to be a box office sensation all across Asia, selling out seats from Bombay and Bangkok! With decapitations aplenty, this vicious tale of blood-splashed vengeance in ancient China stars kung-fu icon Lo Lieh (The 36th Chamber Of Shaolin) and was directed by the great Meng Hua ho (Vengeful Beauty). Watching The Dragon Missile today and it is easy to see why audiences fell for its many charms - the carnage comes thick and fast and the atmospherics can be cut with a knife, such are the many invigorating Shaw sets and widescreen shots of headless corpses! Awash with the trademark Shaw Brothers use of colour and featuring a powerful music score, The Dragon Missile arrives to UK Blu-ray with a limited edition slipcase and booklet by author Calum Waddell, as well as a pair of audio commentaries: one from David West and the other from Bey Logan - recorded at the same time as One Armed Swordsman. As with One Armed Swordsman, 88 Films has also included the audio choice of Mandarin language, with English subtitles, or the grindhouse greatness of the original English dub!
Finally, as far as March goes for 88's Asia range, is the modern South Korean thriller Sea Fog - Shim Sung-bo's stormy masterwork, released in 2014 to wide critical acclaim and audience appreciation. Oscar nominated at the 2015 Academy Awards, Sea Fog tells of illegal people smuggling between China and Korea - with an unexpected tragedy leading to death, infinite terror and suspense in the South China seas. Who will survive Sea Fog and how many viewers will still have any nails left when this tense tale of ocean-bound unease comes to its conclusion? Produced by Bong Joon-ho (The Host/Okja), Sea Fog deserves to be mentioned in the same breath as such Korean cult classics as A Bittersweet Life, The Man From Nowhere and Old Boy. Fans of the Korean wave certainly should not miss this powerful and potent tale of greed and grit in contemporary East Asia - made all the more terrifying given it is based on a true story! Unleashed to UK shelves in a stunning HD transfer, this offers British viewers the chance to watch Sea Fog in its original Korean language and with English subtitles. Special features include a visual effects reel and an enlightening interview with leading critic Jean Noh, Deputy East Asia Editor for Screen International.
The release date of these three films is March 26th and you can pre-order from the 88 Films site.
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