Plot: What’s it about?
As a child, Chang Lung (Jackie Chan) and his brother were separated as children, as their father sought refuge from a band of evil warriors. These warriors were known as Heaven and Earth, two ruthless martial artists with a taste for blood and destruction. As they passed through villages with their men, they left behind ruins and little else, but no remorse was shown in the least. Of course, time passed on and after about twenty years, Chang and his brother were reunited, although it was under not so optimal circumstances. You see, their father has been killed by the beasts Heaven and Earth, which means some justice could be in order. But these two are far from your normal heroes and as such, it will take time and patience for them to prepare, but with such serious issues on the line, some payback will be delivered. Can these long lost brothers join forces to take revenge on the evil warriors, or will they just become the next two victims?
This is one of those titles that has been issued by a number of labels, but never given a decent enough treatment. I’ve seen more than a few editions, all of which have been pan & scan or cropped in some form, so I am pleased own this true scope release. This disc from Columbia has some problems, but it is the finest release to date on this movie, which makes it hard to say no, if you’re a Jackie Chan fanatic like me. I admit that Chan (Gorgeous, The Prisoner) has a lot of movies better than this one, but Fearless Hyena II offers some nice moments. I still think the original is superior, but then again, this is not your normal sequel, not by any means. This has thick doses of comic relief, but offers little in terms of action, until the last third or so of the picture. But that last half hour is terrific and features a lot of memorable moments, so I think it is enough of a payoff to warrant sitting through the rather mediocre first hour. I should note than Chan is not prominent here and a double is often used, as he refused to complete his work during production. This disc and movie are nothing special, but with some memorable sequences, a new scope transfer, and a low price, martial arts fans and Chan completists should check it out.
Video: How does it look?
Fearless Hyena II is presented in a 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer. This is the first time I’ve seen a home video release with the proper scope presentation, so I was quite pleased, even if the results were mixed. This is an older movie made on a low budget, so the image is less than impressive, especially when you consider how poorly cared for the materials are. As is the case with a lot of Asian titles, the print has a lot of wear signs and debris, but not too many and this is the cleanest I’ve seen this flick look. You’ll see grain and defects of course, but not as many as you might expect, under the circumstances. The colors and contrast are in decent form, but not up to the usual visual standards. Much like I said about Columbia’s Fearless Hyena transfer, until a fully restored version is issued, this is the best transfer you’ll find on home video.
Audio: How does it sound?
Both English and Cantonese language options are found here, both of which prove to be adequate, but laughable at times. I question the logic behind some of the voice actors chosen, but I suppose not much thought was involved, as the voices are hilarious and poorly placed, utter lunacy at times. But while we expect this from the English tracks, the Cantonese is almost as bad, although any Asian sounding voice is better than a British actor, if you ask me. The tech side is stable, but unmemorable, just as I had expected. This disc also includes subtitles in English and Spanish, should you need those.
Supplements: What are the extras?
This disc contains no bonus materials.