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Issue #194a HOME E-mail: mail@dighkmovies.com BACK ISSUES January 12th, 2004

Heroes of Sung
(1973; Shaw Brothers)

A Masterpiece
Highly Recommended
Very Good
Marginal Recommendation
Not Recommended
Definitely Not Recommended

Cantonese: Lung fu wui fung wan
Mandarin: Long hu hui feng yan
English: Dragon Tiger Club Turbulence

Chosen to safeguard the Sung Dynasty imperial jade seals (which the ruling prince must possess, in order for the army to obey his orders), a pair of elderly masters are subsequently injured in battle and pass the assignment on to students Tian-hu (Lo Lieh), Tian-long (Chang Pei-shan) and Hong-erh (LEGEND OF THE SEVEN GOLDEN VAMPIRES' Shi Szu; right in image with Chang Pei-shan). Hot on their trail are a group of assassins from the infamous Fengyun Hall, who utilize torture and deception in addition to more direct methods. When one of the seals falls into their hands, the Fengyun fighters strive to get the other by pretending to be sympathetic and using beautiful swordswoman Wan-yan (Chan Chun) to seduce the naive Tian-hu.

This second-tier production lacks most everything one associates with the best Shaw Brothers swordplay films. The action unfolds largely on cheap, over lit backdrops that are more akin to those seen in low-budget Taiwanese productions. The violence is quite bloody but often outlandish (one villain is sliced in half length wise) and sloppily executed. Yuen Cheung-yan's choreography is also weak, with excessive and awkward use of trampolines and wirework. Even the library cues are ineffectual and repetitive. Writer/director Shen Chiang works in a few offbeat touches, like a wheelchair that can fire projectiles, but the narrative fails to hold one's interest and only Lo and Shi display much charisma. With these attractive Celestial restorations, it is tempting for Shaw aficionados to snap up any and all of their martial arts titles. However, if you are on a budget (and who isn't these days, with the veritable avalanche of cult DVDs hitting shelves virtually every week), HEROES OF SUNG is one you can afford to pass up.

Cover art courtesy Intercontinental.

Lo Lieh. Image courtesy Intercontinental.
Intercontinental #100567 (Hong Kong label)

Dolby Digital 5.1

Post-synced Mandarin Language Track

Optional Subtitles in English, Traditional Chinese, Malaysian, and Indonesian

12 Chapters Illustrated in the Menu With Clips

Enhanced for 16:9 Displays

Letterboxed (2.35:1)

Coded for Region 3 Only

NTSC Format

81 Minutes (at 25 frames-per-second)

Contains brutal violence, torture, brief nudity, and mild sexual content

DVD menu courtesy Intercontinental.

Hong Kong: IIB
Singapore: PG [Passed With Cuts]


The restored anamorphic image is very clean but the re-mixed audio sounds flat and stretched beyond its limits. Dialogue is coherent but some new foley FX (crowd sounds, insects, etc) are too crisp to blend in smoothly. The standard Celestial extras are included: video promo spots, a photo gallery, bios/filmographies, and two photo galleries. The latter features shots of wooden men being used for practice by Lo and Chang but these bits were either dropped from the film prior to release or are missing from the element used here.

HEROES OF SUNG is available at Poker Industries.

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