The Import Corner: The Young Master: Limited Edition (88 Films) Blu-ray Review


The first film that Jackie Chan made for Golden Harvest after leaving Lo Wei Productions, The Young Master, makes its way to blu-ray in spectacular fashion from 88 Films.

Studio: 88 Films
Release Date: February 9th, 1980 (theatrical)
                            February 22nd, 2020 (blu-ray)
Run Time: 1 hour 46 minutes 18 seconds (Hong Kong Theatrical)
                     1 hour 30 minutes 58 seconds (International Export Cut)
                     1 hour 39 minutes 47 seconds (Extended Export Cut)
Region Code: B (locked)
Picture: 1080p (2.35:1 aspect ratio) (all versions)
Sound: Cantonese LPCM 2.0 Mono (Theatrical Mix)
                Cantonese LPCM 2.0 Mono (Home Video Mix)
                Cantonese LPCM 2.0 Mono (Alternate Export Soundtrack)
                English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
                English LPCM 2.0 (Classic Dub) (Export Versions only)
                English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1Subtitles: English
Slipcover: Hard Chipboard Slip box
Digital Copy: No
Starring: Jackie Chan, Biao Yuen, Pai Wei, Lily Li, Kien Shih, and Ing-Sik Whang
Written by Jackie Chan, Tin-Chi Lau, King Sang Tang, and Lu Tung
Directed by Jackie Chan
Rating: BBFC: 15 (martial arts violence and brief nudity) (all versions)

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Poster


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What's It About?

The school attended by Dragon and his brother, Tiger is entered against a rival school in a Lion Dance competition. The school needs to win the prize money to remain open but their star performer, Tiger, is seemingly injured when he falls from a ladder, leaving his brother, Dragon, to take his place. During the competition, Dragon realizes that his brother feigned his accident in order to take part in the competition for the rival school.

The rival school wins the competition, but the truth emerges about Tiger's betrayal and he is exiled in disgrace. However, Dragon vows to bring back his errant brother so the pair can make amends to their master. Dragon sets off on his mission, but en route is mistaken for a criminal known as The White Fan by local police chief, Sang Kung along with his son and daughter. Meanwhile, Tiger collaborates with his employers (the rival school) by freeing a dangerous criminal known as Kam. However, Tiger is later framed for a bank robbery. To stop his brother from being arrested, Dragon promises to apprehend the escapee, Kam.
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Film Review

THE YOUNG MASTER is the second film that Jackie Chan directed and you can already tell that he was going to be a master at it. He shows that he can handle even the most complex fight scene and the film zips by. I wasn't the biggest fan of his first directorial effect, THE FEARLESS HYENA, as I felt it that the comedy didn't work there, whereas it does work here. There is an extended section where Chan is trying to get away from Yuen Biao with Biao always catching him. The comedy works here. The fight scenes are also very impressive. They aren't the modern fight scenes that Chan would become known for. They are more of the old school, Shaw Bros-type fight scenes, but faster. Although there are certain fight scenes that feel more like golden era Chan. The end fight scene is the highlight, but the rest of the fight scenes are worth praise as well. I used to like THE YOUNG MASTER better than its sequel, DRAGON LORD, but upon this rewatch, I have to say that I like DRAGON LORD a bit more. That is not to say that THE YOUNG MASTER is a bad film. It just shows how great these films are in comparison with each other. THE YOUNG MASTER is a classic of martial arts cinema as well as a classic Jackie Chan film. 

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Video/Audio

88 Films has done it again. They are proving that they are the company to go to for old-school Jackie Chan films. This comes to us from a recent 2K restoration and the film has never looked better. There is a thin layer of film grain that gives us some really nice details (the way that Chan's hair looks is stunning). Colors and skin tones look great and black levels are nice and deep. Fans will be very happy with the work done here. The audio comes in the form of a bunch of different tracks. There are three different Cantonese tracks with various mixes. There is an English 5.1 track that is a nice inclusion but can be skipped. These tracks are all found on the Hong Kong version of the film. The two export cuts get the classic English dub that most grew up on. All of these tracks sound great and you can tell that a lot of work and care went into each of these tracks and those who worked on them should be commended for all their hard work. 

Disc 1

    -Original Theatrical Cantonese Mono with English subtitles
    -Cantonese mono (Home Video Mix) with English subtitles
    -Cantonese mono with alternate export soundtrack
    -English 5.1 surround
    -Audio Commentary by Brandon Bentley

Disc 2

    -Original English Dub
    -Audio Commentary by Audi Sorlie and Chris Ling

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Extras & Packaging

We start out with Disc 1. First up is an audio commentary HK Cinema Expert Brandon "OldPangYau" Bentley. Bentley has been a part of the Hong Kong movie scene for a while now and he knows his stuff. His commentary is a bit drier and information-based than the commentary track found on disc 2. This does not mean that it is a bad track. It is an awesome track. 

Next up is Rick Baker on The Young Master, which runs a little over ten minutes. Baker talks about the scene that amazed him (its the same scene that amazed me). Gives us a brief plot summary and throws in some history of the project and Chan's beginnings at Golden Harvest. He also talks about how Lo Wei threatened Golden Harvest with all sorts of trouble because Lo Wei "signed" Chan to a contract which Chan did sign, but Wei had changed the terms. I didn't know all the different people who claim to have discovered Chan including John Woo.

Next up, is the biggest featurette of the whole package (outside of the two commentary tracks) and that is The Art of the Cut which runs a little over twenty minutes. Film Editor and HK Cinema Enthusiast Radek Sienski gives us a brief history of the film including the Lo Wei story that Rick Baker told. Golden Harvest edited the film while Chan was in the US shooting Battle Creek Brawl. He hated their edit and had the footage sent to him so he could edit while he was not filming. Peter Cheung would help Chan shape the film and get it to a reasonable run time. Chan was known for shooting massive amounts of film on his films. There is a mythical three-hour cut that hasn't been seen since 1980. There are four known versions of the film and we are taken through the differences between all four. There are about 65 minutes of footage that was cut that we will probably never see again. There are scenes that are exclusive to each version. 

Following The Art of the Cut are two collections of deleted and extended scenes. Extended Fight Scenes runs six minutes and focuses on a few fight scenes that have been extended through the discovery of thought to be lost footage. This is followed by The Cut Master which runs thirteen minutes.

A Jackie Chan interview from the early 2000s, a Whang In Sik interview from a bit later, some NG Shots, and a few alternate export dub music cues round out the special features package. There are also some trailers for other 88 Films martial arts films. 

Disc 2 only houses one special feature and that is an audio commentary track by two people for whom I have never heard of. That doesn't matter, though, as their track is pretty good. They cover a lot of the same ground that Mr. Bentley covered in his track, but this track is more conversational. It is nice to have the two different tracks as you can choose your style of commentary and get the most out of it.

The packaging is one of the best packages that 88 Films has ever put together. The outer box is hard chipboard like the ones that Arrow Video has been using for years. The artwork is done by Kung Fu Bob O'Brien and is really great. Inside the box, you will find a two-disc blu-ray double-wide blu-ray case that houses the two discs and the six double-sided postcards. There is also a double sided poster featuring the Kung Fu Bob artwork on one side and the film's original theatrical poster on the other. Finally, an 80-page book that features 3 brand new essays, promotional photos and posters, the music cue sheet, and information about the three versions of the film.

Special Features

Disc 1
  • Audio Commentary by Brandon Bentley  
  • Rick Baker on The Young Master (10m 5s, HD, 2.35:1)
  • The Art of the Cut (20m 26s, HD, 1.78:1)
  • Extended Fight Scenes (6m 14s, HD, 2.35:1)
  • "The Cut Master" (13m 24s, HD, 1.78:1)
  •  Jackie Chan Interview (7m 42s, SD, 1.33:1)
  •  Whang In Sik Interview (28m 2s, SD, 1.78:1) 
  •  "NG" (no good) shots (9m 49s, HD, 2.35:1) 
  •  Alternate export dub audio cues (1m 3s, HD) 
Trailer Gallery
  •  Hong Kong trailer (3m 26s, HD, 2.35:1)
  •  Extended Hong Kong trailer (3m 56s, HD, 2.35:1)
  •  Japanese trailer (2m 28s, HD, 1.33:1)
  •  English trailer (2m 28s, HD, 2.35:1)
  •  US Home Video trailer (1m 38s, HD, 2.35:1)

Further Attractions
  • Dragon Lord (1m 41s, HD, 2.35:1)
  • New Fist of Fury (1m 42s, HD, 2.35:1)
  • The Fearless Hyena (1m 38s, HD, 2.35:1)
  • Shaolin Wooden Men (1m 39s, HD, 2.35:1)
  • Spiritual Kung Fu (1m 36s, HD, 2.35:1)
  • The Master (1m 39s, HD, 1.85:1)
Disc 2
  • Commentary by HK Cinema aficionados and game producers Audi Sorlie and Chris Ling (International Export Cut only)
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Overall

THE YOUNG MASTER is a great film that proved to audiences that Jackie Chan was no fluke. The film is a fun watch with some really funny scenes along with some jaw-dropping fight scenes. 88 Films continues their domination of the Jackie Chan market with three versions of the film, multiple audio tracks, and some seriously informative and fun extras. I know we are barely into the year, but I have to say that this might end up on my "Best of" list at the end of the year.

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Menus


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Film

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Extras

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Packaging



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