Inside the Packaging: Shawscope Vol. 1 (Arrow Video)

Arrow Video has gathered together 12 classic Shaw Brothers films in one gigantic boxset that will have fans jumping for joy.

Studio: Arrow Video
Release Date: May 26th, 1972 (King Boxer)
                            February 11th, 1972 (The Boxer from Shantung)
                            December 25th, 1974 (Five Shaolin Masters)
                            December 22nd, 1976 (Shaolin Temple)
                            August 11th, 1977 (Mighty Peking Man)
                            May 7th, 1976 (Challenge of the Masters)
                            February 16th, 1977 (Executioners from Shaolin)
                            December 2nd, 1977 (Chinatown Kid)
                            August 12th, 1978 (Five Deadly Venoms)
                            December 21st, 1978 (Crippled Avengers)
                            December 30th, 1978 (Heroes of the East)
                            August 4th, 1979 (Dirty Ho)
Run Time: 1 hour 45 minutes 57 seconds (King Boxer)
                    2 hours 14 minutes 24 seconds (The Boxer from Shantung)
                    1 hour 49 minutes 42 seconds (Five Shaolin Masters)
                    1 hour 59 minutes 59 seconds (Shaolin Temple) (Restored)
                    2 hours 1 minutes 57 seconds (Shaolin Temple) (Alternate Version)
                    1 hour 29 minutes 30 seconds (Mighty Peking Man) (Restored)
                    1 hour 30 minutes 21 seconds (Mighty Peking Man) (Unrestored)
                    1 hour 37 minutes 10 seconds (Challenge of the Masters)
                    1 hour 40 minutes 14 seconds (Executioners from Shaolin)
                    1 hour 54 minutes 37 seconds (Chinatown Kid) (International Version)
                    1 hour 30 minutes 14 seconds (Chinatown Kid) (Alternate Version)
                    1 hour 42 minutes 17 seconds (Five Deadly Venoms)
                    1 hour 46 minutes 34 seconds (Crippled Avengers)
                    1 hour 44 minutes 58 seconds (Heroes of the East)
                    1 hour 43 minutes 29 seconds (Dirty Ho)
Region Code: FREE
Picture: 1080p (2.35:1 aspect ratio) (all films)
                720p (2.35:1 aspect ratio) (Shaolin Temple, Mighty Peking Man, Chinatown Kid) (Alternate)
Sound: Mandarin DTS-HD Master Audio Mono (all films)
               English DTS-HD Master Audio Mono (all films)
               Cantonese DTS-HD Master Audio Mono (Challenge of the Masters, Five Deadly Venoms,
               Heroes of the East, and Dirty Ho)
Subtitles: English
                    English SDH
Slipcover: No, but there is a nice outer box that holds all the discs and swag
Digital Copy: No
Starring: Lieh LoPing WangHsiung ChaoChin-Feng WangMien FangFeng TienJames Nam,
                  and Shen Chan (King Boxer)
                  Kuan Tai ChenLi ChingDavid ChiangMario MilanoChing TienFeng KuNan Chiang
                  and Yi Feng (The Boxer from Shantung)
                  David Chiang, Ti Lung , Sheng Fu, Kuan-Chun Chi, Fei Meng, Lung-Wei Wang
                  and Ka-Yan Leung (Five Shaolin Masters)    
                  Alexander Fu Sheng, Chi Kuan-Chun, Ti Lung, David Chiang, Phillip Chung-Fung Kwok
                  Wang Wei-lung, Szu Shih, and Sheng Chiang (Shaolin Temple)
                  Gordon Liu, Chen Kuan-tai, Lily Li, and Lau Kar-leung (Challenge of the Masters)
                  Chen Kuan-tai, Li-Li Li, Wong Yue, Lo Lieh, and Gordon Liu (Executioners from Shaolin)
                  Alexander Fu Sheng, Sun Chien, Jenny Tseng, and Philip Kwok (Chinatown Kid)
                  Sheng Chiang, Chien Sun, Phillip Chung-Fung Kwok, and Meng Lo (Five Deadly Venoms)
                  Kuan Tai Chen, Feng Lu, Phillip Chung-Fung Kwok, and Meng Lo (Crippled Avengers)
                  Gordon Liu, Yuka Mizuno, Yasuaki Kurata, and Naozō Katō (Heroes of the East)
Written by Yang Chiang (King Boxer)
                     Chang Cheh and Ni Kuang (The Boxer from Shantung, Shaolin Temple, Chinatown Kid, 
                                                                    Five Deadly Venoms, Crippled Avengers)
                     Ni Kuang (Five Shaolin Masters, Mighty Peking Man, Challenge of the Masters,
                                      Executioners from Shaolin, Heroes of the East, Dirty Ho)
Directed by Chang-hwa Jeong (King Boxer)
                       Chang Cheh (The Boxer from Shantung, Five Shaolin Masters, Shaolin Temple,
                                              Chinatown Kid, Five Deadly Venoms, Crippled Avengers,
                       Ho Hua-meng (Mighty Peking Man)
                       Liu Liang-chia (Challenge of the Masters, Executioners from Shaolin, Heroes of the East,
                                                    Dirty Ho)
Rating: R (strong martial arts violence) (King Boxer, Executioners from Shaolin, 
               Not Rated (martial arts violence) (The Boxer from Shantung, Shaolin Temple, 
               R (martial arts violence) (Five Shaolin Masters, Challenge of the Masters, Five Deadly Venoms,
                                                          Crippled Avengers, Heroes of the East,                                         
               PG-13 (violence and sensuality) (Mighty Peking Man)

To say that this set is beautiful is an understatement. It looks exactly like the famous Shaw Brothers logo that comes up in front of every one of their films. It also feels like you are holding the logo in your hands if that makes any sense. 

KING BOXER, THE BOXER FROM SHANTUNG, CHALLENGE OF THE MASTERS, CHINATOWN KID, FIVE VENOMS, CRIPPLED AVENGERS, and DIRTY HO all got 2K restorations and they all look the best they have ever looked on home video. The other films didn't get any type of restorations but they all still look good. Not one film in this set looks bad.

SHAOLIN TEMPLE, MIGHTY PEKING MAN, and CHINATOWN KID all have alternate versions included with CHINATOWN KID being the biggest get. 

Only five of the films in this set have audio commentary tracks included and this is the biggest thing missing from the set. Every one of these films should have had an audio commentary recorded for it. I mean, there are a lot of Hong Kong cinema experts out there to do commentary tracks. Why couldn't they have gone to some of them? I know that Mike Leeder, Arne Venema, and Frank Djeng are really busy with this work for 88 Films and Eureka Entertainment, but there are plenty of others to choose from. They could have gotten Brandon Bentley to do at least one track. I know that he would have been up for it. There are also tracks that have been recorded for many of these films. They could have used those tracks. In fact, there is a lot missing from these discs that were present on other discs. Could they have not licensed the out? Such a shame that so much is missing from this set.

Now, that being said, this is a great set. We have twelve films put together in a set for the first time in the US and they are all fun films. The inclusion of the alternate versions for some of the films is nice and I love that we have do have interviews and whatnot from other DVD releases. Many of the films in this set are bonafide classics and they have been given the respect they deserve. I just wish that every film in this set had a commentary track.

Also, the inclusion of the two CDs worth of music is something I can always get behind. I am ALWAYS happy when companies include a film's score on CD and this is no exception. While the CDs don't cover every film in the series (some of the films in this set use licensed music), but the stuff we do get is really awesome. 

The book that comes in this set is really nice too. There is a section that explains how names are used in China and how names were changed for foreign territories. There is also a brief history of Shaw Brothers Studios. Each film is given two pages which give us a lot of information and trivia. There is a section that covers the stars of films in this set and finishes with an essay about how the films were brought over to English speaking countries. 

So, should you buy this set? Yes. Given my critiques of this set, I still think that it is worth buying. The films included are all great and the special features are worth taking the time for. The packaging is actually the most impressive thing about this set as it looks and feels like what we have come to think of as something from the Shaw Brothers. This is a must own set that fans will love displaying in their collection.

The first thing I said when I held this packaging in my hands for the first time was "I guess this is what holding the Shaw Bros logo feels like." It is amazing how Arrow Video was able to get the exact shade of blue for the packaging.

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