Import Corner: Warriors Two/The Prodigal Son (Eureka Entertainment) Blu-ray Review

We are starting 2022 off right with this Sammo Hung double feature from Eureka Entertainment. Warriors Two and The Prodigal Son are two of the most requested martial arts blu-rays and we finally have them.

Studio: Eureka Entertainment
Release Date: December 28th, 1978 (theatrical) (Warriors Two)
                           December 22nd 1981 (theatrical) (The Prodigal Son)
                           January 24th, 2022 (blu-ray)
Run Time: 1 hour 35 minutes 28 seconds (Warriors Two) (Hong Kong Theatrical)
                    1 hour 30 minutes 7 seconds (Warriors Two) (Export Cut)
Region Code: B (locked)
Picture: 1080p (2.35:1 aspect ratio) (both films) (all versions)
Sound: Cantonese LPCM 1.0
               English LPCM 1.0
Subtitles: English
Slipcover: Yes (Limited. Also comes with a poster and a booklet)
Digital Copy: No
Starring: Ka-Yan Leung, Ho Wang, Sammo Kam-Bo Hung, Chia-Yung Liu, Billy Chan, Lung Chan, Fat Chung, and Hark-On Fung (Warriors Two)
Biao Yuen, Ching-Ying Lam, Sammo Kam-Bo Hung, Frankie Chan, Lung Chan, and Yau-Hau Chan (The Prodigal Son)
Written by On Szeto (Warriors Two)
                    Sammo Hung, Barry Wong, and Wong Jing (The Prodigal Son)
Directed by Sammo Hung (both films)
Rating: BBFC: 18 (strong violence) (both films)




What's It About?

In WARRIORS TWO, Sammo Hung and Casanova Wong play two students of master Jan (played here by Bryan “Beardy” Leung) who must use their skills to defend their town against an evil businessman and his gang of killers.

THE PRODIGAL SON follows Leung Jan as a younger man (played by Yuen Biao). Lazy and spoilt, he believes himself to be a great kung fu master not realizing that his father has been bribing his opponents to intentionally lose. After being humbled in a real fight, Leung Jan decides to become a real Wing Chun master!

Film Review

I first saw WARRIORS TWO in the mid 2000s. Martial arts films, especially old school ones, were never really taken seriously here in the States, so we always got full screen, dubbed, faded, and downright ugly transfers. We still watched them, but we knew they could do better. Over in the UK, they had a line called "Hong Kong Legends" which was made to give these films the respect they deserve. In the mid 2000s, Fox Home Video struck up a deal with Fortune Star to bring some martial arts films to DVD here in the States. The transfers were the ones done for the "Hong Kong Legends" line, so many assumed that Fox was going to be releasing the "Hong Kong Legends" line here. While we got a few special features outside of the trailers, we never got any of the awesome commentary tracks found on the "Hong Kong Legends" releases. We did get a ton of martial arts films including MY LUCKY STARS, THE MAGNIFICENT BUTCHER, DUEL TO THE DEATH, and WARRIORS TWO.

WARRIORS TWO is a fun kung fu flick that does not skimp on the kung fu action. There has to be a fight scene every ten minutes or so and I love them all. Sammo really knows how to put a fight scene together and make it work all the way through. There aren't any lulls in the action and they are brutal and uncompromising. Where Jackie Chan goes for the comedy, Sammo goes for the brutality. There is blood, bones breaking, and a darkness in his fight scenes. While I appreciate Chan's fight scenes, they don't hold a candle to what Sammo can do. 

WARRIORS TWO is an exciting film that hits all the right buttons. There is comedy when the film needs it and there is brutal violence when the film needs it. The film is a lot of fun and I can not recommend it enough.

Wow. I used to think that THE PRODIGAL SON was a better film than WARRIORS TWO, but after watching both for this review, I have to say that I know think the exact opposite. THE PRODIGAL SON had promise. It does have some of the best fight scenes Sammo Hung has ever put to film, and a fire stunt that had me sitting forward on my couch for, but the comedy feels really at odds with the rest of the film. 

The film starts out with some comedy and I was ok with that. Maybe I don't remember the film being a spoof, but it has been a long time since I had last seen the film. The comedy was actually quite good and I was hoping to see more. I took back that wish the moment Sammo Hung showed up on screen. The does his best Three Stooges impression and is bouncing all over the place for a scene that the film does not need. It really brings the film to a halt. There are other comedic scenes, but they are nowhere near as bad as the first scene with Sammo Hung.

I really makes me that the comedy is included in this film. Sure, there can be comedic scenes, but not here. I mean, this film has a scene where guys dressed as ninjas break into a house where a bunch of characters are sleeping and then slits all their throats. Really graphic throat slits too. This is the in the middle of a film that shares a scene where Yuen Biao catches a chicken to eat and starts describing the different parts of the chicken and Sammo's daughter thinks he is talking to her and then accuses him of rape. These scenes do not belong in the same film at all. The film does this all throughout so the tone of the film is all over the place. 

I really hate that the fight scenes are so good because you have to sit through some really bad scenes to get to them. The final fight scene moves so fact that you are really impressed. The fight scenes are brutal and beautiful. 

THE PRODIGAL SON is a film that is defeated by it's lack of conviction. Sammo was making a wacky comedy and a deadly serious film at the same time and they don't mix at all. The big comedic scenes grind the film to a halt. The fight scenes are so good, though, that we will wade through the dreadful comedic scenes to get to them. I really wish that Sammo had stuck with the darker tone of the non-comedic scenes as they work well together.  I do recommend the film, but only for the non-comedic and fight scenes.


Both of these films were given 2K restorations with the Export Cut also benefitting from this restoration. Both films have never looked better. These are clean scans with no blemishes to be found. Colors are great and skin tones are accurate. Film grain is light but present. Detail is fairly high with clothing and hair getting a nice uptick. Both transfers are amazing. 

Over to the audio, the included LPCM 1.0 tracks (for both the English and Cantonese tracks) are both excellent. The voices in the English dub have never sounded more 70s-y. Both tracks are real winners.

In the Hong Kong cut of WARRIORS TWO, there are a few scenes that revert back to Cantonese when the English dub is selected. These scenes were cut from the film when the Export Cut was created and were never dubbed into English.


Disc 1: Warriors Two

Commentary by Frank Djeng and Bobby Samuels (Hong Kong cut)
Commentary by Mike Leeder and Arne Venema (Export cut) I learned a lot from this track. One thing that I learned was that the films with Cynthia Rothrock where she was the co-lead did very well at the Hong Kong box office, but the ones where she was the lead did not because no one in Hong Kong wanted to see a white lead doing martial arts. When I heard this I was shocked, but then it made sense. I really love when these guys tell their stories but I really love when they talk about the business and they do their fair share of industry talk here. 
Making of Warriors Two (47m 31s, SD, 1.78:1) Archival featurette. This is a quality featurette. They cover everything from the martial arts used in the film, the fact that it was the most expensive film Golden Harvest had made at the time, and the complexities of language barriers. The featurette is hosted by Bey Logan and contains interviews that are mostly in Chinese with English subtitles, but there are some interviewees that speak in English.
Stills Gallery (15 images)
Original Theatrical Trailer (4m, HD, 2.35:1)
International Trailer (3m 29s, SD, 2.35:1)

Disc 2: The Prodigal Son

Commentary by Frank Djeng and Bobby Samuels 
Commentary by Mike Leeder and Arne Venema

For the above commentary tracks, I have reviewed so many of their tracks and they are all the same: they are awesome. I could list out what they talk about, but the beautiful thing about these tracks is the discovery. Hearing these stories about the production, the calling out of even the most bit player and giving us some info about them, and the way Frank Djeng teaches us about Chinese culture through film is what they and us have signed up for. I love whenever we get a commentary track from any one of the commentators on these discs. There is never a dull moment on any of these tracks and they are well worth the listen.

Wing Chun 101 (29m 59s, HD, 1.78:1) Sifu Alex Ritcher and Frank Djeng. Frank Djeng visits with Sifu Alex Ritcher who runs the biggest Wing Chun martial arts school in New York. Ricther takes us on a very detailed tour of his two story school. He then goes into his background. He wanted to focus on martial arts after watching Enter the Dragon. He discovered Wing Chun after reading about THE PRODIGAL SON.  His parents gifted him a trip to Hong Kong and he met Sammo Hung in a restaurant. He then dives into the films and how accurate their Wing Chun is.
The Heroic Trio (28m 1s, SD, 1,78:1) Archival Interview with Sammo Hung, Yuen Biao, and Frankie Chan. Sammo talks about why he chose to make a film about Wing Chun. Yuen Biao talks about how this was his second film to have a leading role in. He also talks about working with Guy Lai. He also talks about how the film uses Wing Chun.
Interview with Guy Lai (28m 40s, SD, 1.78:1) Archival interview with the Wing Chun Master. There are also some Wing Chun demonstrations done by Sifu Austin Goh. Lai wanted to be a musician but he couldn't drum because his neighbors always complained, so he start doing Wing Chun because of how gentle and quiet it is. He also gives us a history and explanation of what exactly Wing Chun is. 
Alternate English Credits (1m 44s, HD, 2.35:1)
Stills Gallery (24 images)
Original Theatrical Trailer (4m 27s, HD, 2.35:1)
International Trailer (2m 13s, SD, 2.35:1)
US Home Video Trailer (1m 46s, HD, 2.35:1) Man, what a throwback. I remember seeing this trailer on so many VHS tapes. 

This two-disc set features some very striking artwork as the front art that showcases the main actors in the two films very well. The artwork is done by Darren Wheeling who has done the artwork for a lot of Eureka titles including ONE ARMED BOXER, ENCOUNTER OF THE SPOOKY KIND, and MR. VAMPIRE. Underneath the thicker (in depth not in thickness of the cardboard) is a two-disc 14mm case that Eureka has been using for years. There is some reversible artwork with the films' original theatrical posters being the default and the full artwork that Mr. Wheeling did for both films on the other side. The discs feature Sammo on the WARRIORS TWO disc and Yuen Biao on the THE PRODIGAL SON disc, both from the Mr. Wheeling artwork. A 36-page, full-color booklet is next with essays on both films from James Oliver along with lobby cards, posters, and stills from the films. They also included the original liner notes that Frank Djeng did for the US laserdisc of THE PRODIGAL SON. Loving the inclusion of the liner notes from the laserdisc. Finally, we have a double-sided poster featuring the films' original theatrical poster art on each side.


To call this set amazing is speaking lightly of the set. This is the best these films have ever looked and sounded. The special features are really great and worth the time. Both films are entertaining with THE PRODIGAL SON suffering from some of the worst comedy scenes I have seen in a major martial arts classic. That aspect does not take away from the fact that this set is a banger and should be found in every martial arts fan's collection.






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