Issue #256a            HOME          E-mail:        BACK ISSUES           March 21st, 2005

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The Postman Fights Back
(1982; Golden Harvest/Peace Film Production)

Cantonese: Chun sing ma
Mandarin: Xun cheng ma
English: City Patrol Horse
Alternate English Title: The Postman Strikes Back


RATING: 6/10


Publicity materials for CROUCHING TIGER, HIDDEN DRAGON boasted that it was Chow Yun-fat’s first martial arts film, conveniently forgetting this early Ronny Yu Yan-tai effort, which also had him busting a few moves, though in a more limited and less impressive fashion. Lensed in South Korea, the story revolves around four men who have been hired by Hu (Eddy Ko Hung) to transport a mysterious case across the frontier within seven days. Ma (Leung Kar-yan) is an honest postman on the lam after being caught in the company of Yao Jie (Yuen Yat-chor), a pickpocket, who is also along for the trip. The other two members of the party are Fu (Chow), a shifty conman with a price on his head, and Bu (Fan Mui-sang), a slovenly explosives expert who plays chicken using lit sticks of dynamite. Accompanying them is Guihwa (Cherie Chung Cho-hung), a young girl travelling across country to buy back her sister (who was sold by their destitute father), and Ms. Li, a woman they rescue from bandits en route. Subsequent events reveal Li to be a member of Sun Yat-sen's forces and she informs the men that the case contains a tribute for Sun's enemy, the warlord Yuan Shikai. After a bizarre (but not wholly unexpected) twist, some of the party is murdered. One of the survivors then sets out for revenge, with an army of rats and a whole lot of dynamite.

Leung Kar-yan Chow Yun-fat Cherie Chung

While routine in most respects, THE POSTMAN FIGHTS BACK serves up enough offbeat touches to make it worth catching (while crossing a frozen lake, the party is attacked by spear-wielding killers on ice skates!) and the Korean locales (which range from deserted forests to wintry mountain regions) provide a fresh backdrop. Some of the tricks utilized by Eddy Ko anticipate similar moves he would make the next year in Tony Ching Siu-tung's DUEL TO THE DEATH though, on the whole, the martial arts on display are nothing special, which is surprising considering that they were choreographed by Yuen Cheung-yan and Yuen Shun-yee (who also appears briefly as a fighter out to kill Fu). Chow is not given much to do but, with his cool demeanour and singular good looks, he makes the most of the role.

Fan Mui-sang Eddy Ko Yuen Yat-chor


The old Universe DVD of this title was marred by a very smeary picture, but this anamorphic Region 1 release features much better digital compression and represents an improvement overall. Although some clean-up has been undertaken, the source material still displays its age and a slight flicker is evident throughout. All things considered, though, it’s a perfectly reasonable presentation of a film that was evidently not preserved with much care. In a welcome improvement over Fox’s earlier Fortune Star releases, the subtitles are not dubtitles and the original Cantonese mono mix has been included. This option is preferable, though there are spots where a Mandarin track from some other movie can be heard faintly on the right channel. The Dolby Digital and DTS versions of the Cantonese track feature only minimal tampering. Extras are limited to the original trailer, a new promo spot, and similar promos for MR. VAMPIRE, BATTLE CREEK BRAWL, KNOCKABOUT, and THE IRON FISTED MONK.

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Images in this review courtesy of 20th Century Fox. To read captions, hover mouse over image.

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DVD Specifications

  • U.S. Release
  • NTSC Region 1 Only
  • 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment (no cat. #)
  • Dolby Digital 5.1 & 2.0/DTS
  • Post-synced Cantonese and Dubbed English Language
  • Subtitles (Optional): English
  • 20 Chapters
  • 16:9 Enhanced (2.35:1)
  • 88 Minutes

Ratings & Consumer Information

  • Canada (video): 18A
  • Great Britain: 18
  • Netherlands: 12
  • Ontario: R
  • Quebec: 13+
  • Singapore: NC16
  • United States: R
  • Contains moderate violence and coarse language (mostly on the English dubtrack)


  • 10 A Masterpiece
  • 9 Excellent
  • 8 Highly Recommended
  • 7 Very Good
  • 6 Recommended
  • 5 Marginal Recommendation
  • 4 Not Recommended
  • 3 Poor
  • 2 Definitely Not Recommended
  • 1 Dreadful