Arrow Video Brings The Gems This April, No Foolin'! Shaw Brothers, Eurocrime, Chabrol; 4K HENRY & 12 MONKEYS
Another stellar set of announcements greet me this fine morning from Arrow Video, including a long awaited 4K UHD upgrade, a couple of exciting box sets, some Shaw Brothers magic, and one of the most intense and terrifying movies of all time.
Regional distribution rights strike again for the 4K UHD upgrade John McNaughton's Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer, available only in the UK. Thankfully the actual 4K discs are fully playable in all territories, so those outside of the UK can feel safe importing the discs, though the standalone Blu-ray of Henry is likely to be locked to Region B and one of the bonus discs in the 4K set is a Blu-ray with no region specified as of yet. Meanwhile, on the other side of things, available for the first time on Blu-ray in North America is Lau Kar-Leung's classic The 8 Diagram Pole Fighter.
There are still a few huge releases available for all territories, though. Box sets of Enzo G Castellari eurocrime films The Big Racket and The Heroin Busters, and Claude Chabrol classics Swindle, The Color of Lies, Nightcap, and The Flower of Evil get limited edition releases in the US/UK/Can. Then there's the long anticipated 4K upgrade of Terry Gilliam's science fiction classic 12 Monkeys. I think we all knew it was coming, though it's nice to see it actually announced!
Details for everything available in the gallery below!
THE 8 DIAGRAM POLE FIGHTER (US Blu-ray)
After one of its lead actors (cherub-faced action icon Alexander Fu Sheng) unexpectedly died midway through production, master director Lau Kar-leung (The 36th Chamber of Shaolin) retooled his latest martial arts epic, The 8 Diagram Pole Fighter, as the ultimate action spectacular in tribute to the fallen star.
Loosely based upon the legendary Yang dynasty chronicled in Chinese folklore, the film starts as the family patriarch and all but two of his sons are brutally wiped out in a bloody battle. One surviving son (Fu Sheng) returns to his mother and two sisters, deeply traumatized; the other (Gordon Liu) escapes and joins a nearby monastery while in hiding. Once he learns his sister (Kara Hui) has been captured by their enemies, however, the warrior-turned-monk realizes he must renounce his peaceful ideals in order to mount a rescue mission and avenge his family.
Made during the legendary Shaw Brothers studio's twilight years as a filmmaking powerhouse, The 8 Diagram Pole Fighter is often regarded as director Lau’s masterpiece, as elegiac and suffused with anguish as it is thrillingly violent (not least in its bone-crunching, teeth-smashing climax).
Special Edition Contents:
- Brand new 2K restoration from the original camera negative by Arrow Films
- High Definition (1080p) Blu-ray™ presentation
- Original lossless Cantonese, Mandarin and English mono audio
- Optional English subtitles, plus hard-of-hearing subtitles for the English dub
- Brand new commentary by Jonathan Clements, author of A Brief History of China
- Newly filmed appreciation by film critic and historian Tony Rayns
- Interviews with stars Gordon Liu, Lily Li and Yeung Ching-ching, filmed by Frédéric Ambroisine in 2004
- A Tribute to Fu Sheng, a short film commemorating the late actor that played before early screenings of The 8 Diagram Pole Fighter, presented via a German-dubbed telecine (the best available copy) with English subtitles
- Alternate opening credits, as The Invincible Pole Fighters
- Theatrical trailer
- Image gallery
- Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Marc Aspinall
First Pressing Only: Illustrated collectors' booklet featuring new writing on the film by Terrence J. Brady