Plot: What’s it about?
In The Buddhist Fist, we’re taken on a tour-de-force of martial arts madness, filled with fights, memorable characters, and hilarious antics. Since the emphasis here is on the action and humor, the storyline is basic, but more than adequate. As such, if my synopsis seems to be lacking overall, rest assured you’ll be too distracted by the fights and comedy to notice, no two ways about it. This is the story of two young orphans, who were raised apart and trained in the Shaolin martial arts. The Shaolin monks were responsible for their upbringing and martial arts training, so of course, the two turned into masters of their own fates. After a time, the two brothers are reunited and the truth is revealed, which leads to a potential lethal battle between them. As the fists fly, kicks snap, bodies glide, and martial arts skills are put to the test, what will become of the long separated orphans, now grown up into men?
If you’re a fan of martial arts cinema, then The Buddhist Fist is nothing less than a must have title, to be sure. I liken this film to a ninety minute rollercoaster ride, loaded with wild action, turns, and of course, almost death defying antics. As you would expect, this movie has some incredible action sequences and this is a given, with Yuen Woo Ping at the helm. American audiences have seen his work in such films as The Matrix and The Legend of Drunken Master, but Yuen has made countless films that are filled with jaw dropping fight scenes. The story is not all that impressive here, but The Buddhist Fist is a tremendous ride and offers a boatload of fun. I could watch this picture over and again, as it is so much fun and of course, this is due to the flick’s humorous edge. I am very pleased to own this movie in widescreen, but this release from Tai Seng has some flaws, to be sure. It’s nice to have several language options, but without any subtitle choices, it sort of narrows the real options we can choose from. But even so, The Buddhist Fist is a marvel of martial arts cinema and as such, this release is more than recommended.
Video: How does it look?
The Buddhist Fist is presented in a 1.85:1 widescreen transfer, which is not enhanced for widescreen televisions. As you might expect from a 1970s martial arts flick, the source print is in less than pristine condition, to say the least. A lot of flecks, nicks, and debris is evident on the print here, as well as some large scratches at times. But this is the cleanest edition I’ve seen, so I suppose this is not a total loss. The colors, contrast, and flesh tones all suffer to an extent due to the damage and grain, but still emerge in decent enough. The image here is not that impressive, but it is nice to own the film in widescreen and in the end, this looks about as good as could be expected, unless a massive restoration is done.
Audio: How does it sound?
This is an unusual audio situation, as the film’s original Cantonese language is included, but no subtitles are offered. This means you can listen to the film’s original language, but unless you speak Cantonese, you’ll be left out in the dark. I suppose you could just soak in the visuals, but I think something is still lost without an understandable translation. The audio is very solid aside from that however, so no complaints on the true technical side of the coin. This disc also includes Mandarin and English language tracks, in case you’d rather choose one of those.
Supplements: What are the extras?
This disc includes some talent files, as well as the film’s trailer.