• Three Films with Sammo Hung: The Iron-Fisted Monk, The Magnificent Butcher, and Eastern Condors (Eureka Entertainment) Blu-ray Review + Trailers



    Studio: Eureka Entertainment
    Release Date(s): August 25th, 1977 (Iron-Fisted Monk, The) (theatrical) / December 19th, 1979 (Magnificent Butcher, The) (theatrical) / July 9th, 1987) (Eastern Condors) (theatrical) / October 7th, 2019 (blu-ray)
    Run Time: 93 mins (Iron-Fisted Monk, The) / 108 mins (Magnificent Butcher, The) / 98 mins (Eastern Condors)
    Region Code: B (locked)
    Picture: 1080p (2.35:1 aspect ratio) (All three films)
    Sound: Chinese LPCM 1.0 (Cantonese), English LPCM 1.0 (Classic dub), English LPCM 2.0 (Modern dub) (All three films) / Chinese LPCM 1.0 (Alternate Cantonese) (Eastern Condors and The Magnificent Butcher only)
    Subtitles: English (All three films)
    Slipcover: Yes
    Digital Copy: No
    Starring: Sammo Kam-Bo Hung, Sing Chen, James Tien, Hark-On Fung, Dean Shek, and Shi-Kwan Yen (Iron-Fisted Monk, The) / Sammo Kam-Bo Hung, Biao Yuen, and Mei Sheng Fan (Magnificent Butcher, The) / Sammo Kam-Bo Hung, Biao Yuen, Joyce Godenzi, Yuen Wah, Woo-Ping Yuen, Corey Yuen
    Written by: Feng Huang, Pro Hung Ching, and Yu Ting (Iron-Fisted Monk, The) /  Edward Tang, Jing Wong (Magnificent Butcher, The) / Barry Wong (Eastern Condors)
    Directed by: Sammo Hung (The Iron-Fisted Monk and Eastern Condors), Yuen Woo-ping (The Magnificent Butcher)
    Rating: 18 (martial arts violence) (The Magnificent Butcher and Eastern Condors) / 18 (martial arts violence and a brutal rape scene) (The Iron-Fisted Monk)

    THE FILM(S)



    Iron-Fisted Monk, The (1977) ⭐⭐⭐1/2

    Hawker (Sammo Hung), is sent to the Shaolin Temple by the Iron Fisted Monk (Chan Sing), after he saves Hawker from a beating by the Manchus. After being trained by his master (James Tien) he runs away from the temple, only to be confronted by his master and forced to take the four tests. Whilst this is happening, an official (Fung Hak-on) is indulging in his passion for raping women, and is virtually above the law as he is a powerful Manchu officer. He begins by raping Liang's (Lo Hoi-pang) sister (Chu Ching), who then commits suicide and makes Liang a very angry man. Liang takes his revenge by killing one of those pesky Manchus but everyone thinks Hawker is responsible.

    The Iron-Fisted Monk is the sleaziest kung fu flick I have ever seen. I know that there are worse ones out there, like the Hanzo the Razor films, but I have not seen those. The film starts out like any good kung fu flick does. It establishes the characters, gives us some nice action, and makes on forward with the plot. Then a lady is gang-raped but what would turn out to be out bad guys. The scene is so jarring that it took me out of the film. Sammo Hung has been known for his hard-hitting, many times brutal, fight scenes, but this is on another level. Beyond that, there are some great fight scenes on display here with one towards the end featuring four people who are constantly changing who they are fighting in a really impressive way. I highly recommend The Iron-Fisted Monk despite the unnecessary and out of place rape scene.



    Magnificent Butcher, The (1979) ⭐⭐⭐1/2

    A plump butcher student of Wong Fei Hung, Lam Sai-Wing (Sammo) gets into trouble with a rival kung-fu school known as Five Dragons and is accused of raping the head of that school's goddaughter and killing his son. Now Ko, the head of five dragons, wants revenge.

    The Magnificent Butcher is the film that Yuen Woo-ping directed after the monumental successes of Snake in the Eagle's Shadow and Drunken Master the year prior. This film finds Sammo Hung in a role that is pretty close the ones that Chan played a year earlier in Snake and Drunken. There is a lot of comedy on display and the fight scenes, oh boy the fight scenes. I would say that the fight scenes here are better but way less brutal than The Iron-Fisted Monk. This film is a lot of fun and really cemented Sammo as a force to be reckoned with.



    Eastern Condors (1987) ⭐⭐⭐⭐

    A motley group of Asian prisoners held in the US are given one chance for freedom. They are to go deep into Vietnam and destroy a secret depot of missles that the US left behind during the pull-out. The group, led by Lt. Lam and convict Tung, hook up with a trio of female freedom fighters and a happy go lucky martial artist named 'Rat'. The entire group is captured by the VC because one of them is a double agent, but they escape, cross an un-crossable bridge, and get to the secret base just ahead of the VC. By this point nearly all of the original group is dead, and it's up to Tung and Rat to fight the VC's leader, a bizarre giggling man who's lightning fast with martial arts.

    Eastern Condors was the first solo Sammo Hung film I ever saw and boy was it a good one to start out on. This is basically a Chinese take on The Dirty Dozen with Sammo leading the crew. Since this is an 80s film, there has to be the martial arts action we have come to love by now, but also some gunplay with some explosions to boot. The action is fast and furious but Sammo knows how to direct so the action makes sense at all times. He doesn't rely on shaky-cam or any of that nonsense. No, he relies on good storytelling within the fight and action scenes themselves, as well as outside of the action. We care for these guys so when one dies, we actually feel something for them. There are some insane stunts as well, including one where Yuen Biao jumps down from a really tall tree to surprise and enemy. This stunt is a white knuckle stunt if I ever I have seen one. Eastern Condors is easily the best film in this collection and I can not recommend this film highly enough.

    THE PICTURE AND THE SOUND ⭐⭐⭐⭐ / ⭐⭐⭐⭐

    The Iron-Fisted Monk (1977)

    The Magnificent Butcher (1979)

    Eastern Condors (1987)

    All three films in this collection were given brand new 2K restorations and the results are amazing. Each film looks better than I ever thought they would ever look with colors, skin tones, and blacks all looking great. There are some imperfections here and there but nothing to get in a tizzy about. I was honestly blown away by these restorations and you will too.

    On the sound side, Eureka is doing something that very few companies are doing and that is they are keeping the classic English dubs that many a kung fu fan grew up on in the 80s and the 90s. There are newer dubs here as well but these contain extra effects that Fortune Star added to make the sound mix more modern. The original and more modern Chinese tracks are here as well, but I love the classic English dubs more. I do wish that Eureka would put up subtitles for when there is Chinese text onscreen. The text appears when the subtitle track is on, but if you are watching the English tracks then the subtitles don't match. I wish there was a subtitle track just for onscreen text. That one of a few complaints about this release.

    THE PACKAGING ⭐⭐⭐1/2

    Eureka Entertainment brings us this package and they have done a great job with the packaging.



    The front cover features three different screengrabs of Sammo, one from each film, against a turquoise backdrop. The title of each film is displayed as well. The cover is a bit messy for my tastes as if it were done quickly. I wish that they had done what they did with the other kung fu films they released and done either original artwork or a composite of the films' theatrical posters.


    The blu-ray case itself does a better job. The front displays the original poster for The Magnificent Butcher. The artwork on the reverse is the posters for the other two in the set.



    There is a nice booklet here that contains essays about all three films by James Oliver.




    The disc art for all three films is fairly plain but gets the job done.

    All three discs are REGION B (locked)

    THE FEATURES ⭐⭐⭐1/2

    Iron-Fisted Monk, The (1977)

         -Commentary by Frank Djeng
         -Interview with Sammo Hung #1 (9m 35s, SD)
         -Interview with Sammo Hung #2 (4m 52s, SD, 1.33:1)
         -Original Theatrical Trailer (4m 16s, HD)

    Magnificent Butcher, The (1979)

         -Commentary by Mike Leeder and Arne Venema
         -Interview with Sammo Hung #1 (12m 51s, SD)
         -Interview with Sammo Hung #2 (7m 50s, SD, 1.33:1)
         -Interview with Yuen Woo-ping (20m 14s, SD)
         -Original Theatrical Trailer (4m 23s, HD)

    Eastern Condors (1987)

         -Eastern Condors: Export Version (1h 34m, HD) In English only.
         -Commentary by Mike Leeder and Arne Venema
         -Commentary by Frank Djeng
         -Sammo Hung on Eastern Condors (16m 44s, SD, 1.33:1) In Chinese with English subtitles
         -Sammo Hung on Jackie Chan and Yuen Biao (6m 4s, SD, 1.33:1) In Chinese with
          English subtitles
         -Yuen Wah Interview (7m 54s, SD, 2.35:1) In Chinese with English subtitles.
         -Original Opening and Closing Credits (3m 59s, SD, 1.33:1)
         -Eastern Condors Live! (13m 46s, SD, 1.33:1) In Chinese with no English subtitles.
         -Trailers:
    -Teaser Trailer (2m 39s, SD) In Chinese with English subtitles
    -Original Hong Kong Trailer (3m 50s, SD) In Chinese with English subtitles
    -Japanese Trailer (3m 47s, SD, 1.85:1) In Japanese with English subtitles

    THE CONCLUSION ⭐⭐⭐⭐

    The Iron-Fisted Monk (1977)

    The Magnificent Butcher (1979)

    Eastern Condors (1987)

    Eureka has done it again. They have given the respect these films deserve while keeping the price fairly low. All three films look and sound great and the special features are worth checking out. This release is one of my favorite releases of the year.







    THE SCREENSHOTS

    Iron-Fisted Monk, The (1977)












    Magnificent Butcher, The (1979)













    Eastern Condors (1987)











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