That’s Not Really What “Nonplussed” Means

Fong_Sai_Yuk_II

Get ready for improbable multiple weapon use, because The Legend 1 & 2 are both the Greatest Movie EVER!

Click on the DVD cover or the title above to download our reviews of the films, featuring Sean “Hollywood” Hunting.

Review in a Nutshell: Despite some misleading American packaging, The Legend 1 & 2 (aka Fong Sai-Yuk 1 & 2, aka The Legend of Fong Sai-Yuk 1 & 2) are a fun mix of comedy, drama, and martial arts mayhem from the earlier 90’s. While it’s nice to see Jet Li in a comedic leading role, Josephine Siao ends up stealing the show as Fong Sai-yuk’s irascible kung fu wielding mother.

FINAL THOUGHT:

smile

Jet Li does indeed have a lovely smile.

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7 Responses

  1. Okay, so normally I wait until I hear the whole episode before commenting, but let me stop 5 minutes in and get this out of the way: the versions on Netflix of these movies released in the US are in fact, quite edited down from the versions you saw in the VHS era. The running time of the Dragon Dynasty “The Legend” as seen on Netflix is 1:35:36, and the real running time of Fong Sai-Yuk is 1:41:35. “The Legend 2” on Netflix is 1:32:00 even, and the actual running time of Fong Sai-Yuk 2 is 1:32:43; only the one scene was cut (even though there’s still naked Corey Yuen in the version seen).

    The Dragon Dynasty label used to be the one and only imprint where this sort of shoddy treatment DIDN’T occur on account that Bey Logan–basically the only English-speaking producer who thinks these movies should be released intact, in history, ever–was in charge of it, but that sharply changed in 2009 (when their releases of The Legend came out, as well as Police Story 3: Supercop etc). Bey Logan then left the label to focus on Cine Asia releases that don’t come out in the United States, and Dragon Dynasty went inert ever since.

  2. Thanks for clearing that up, Daryl. That does alleviate some of the confusion. Sad to know these sort of editing for time and content shenanigans are still going on in the present day. 😦

  3. So, are those Celestial Pictures releases on El Rey Network uncut, or “uncut” as in cut before they got to Rodriguez’s people anticipating time and content restrictions?

  4. Great episode guys. These sound like fun movies to check out. I wish I had the mental energy for subtitled movies.

  5. The Celestial Pictures releases of the Shaw Brothers library–to which Jet Li’s filmography wouldn’t be included since his heyday was the 1990s–are fully restored and uncut. But they’re not a US publisher themselves; someone in the US has to then license the movies from them. That said, I can’t think of any US publisher who licensed a film from Celestial Pictures who did not release the movie on video fully intact.

    El Rey Network has a 5-year broadcast license for the entire library, and as far as I can tell they don’t actually edit anything or time-compress anything since they’re deep cable. Their own commercials usually show the scenes stations would typically be apt to edit out.

  6. Daryl, thanks! I had wondered about that….

    So, are there any non-US DVD/Blu-Ray sources that have the uncut versions with English subs? I have both a region-free DVD player and an all territory/region Blu-Ray player – and I have both VLC and Leawo Blu-Ray Player on my PC, so watching something non-Region 1/A is not a problem.

  7. There is not necessarily a disconnect between “wacky” Jet Li and “modern” Jet Li…provided you get copies of the movies without several minutes excised, the music changed to be more somber, and the dialogue rewritten. Which, in an era of “if it’s not the one on Netflix, then it’s too much trouble” isn’t happening. I recommend High Risk by noted lunatic Wong Jing, as well as Hitman (which isn’t the same as the videogame one). Jet Li’s marketing in the US as some sort of stone-faced Asian Steven Seagal is the critical contributor to the editing methodology the Weinsteins took when cutting, renaming, re-scoring, and rewriting the dialogue of his movies in the new English dubs they commissioned. They wanted “the new Bruce Lee!” (see: what was initially tried with Jackie Chan) and to get it they tried to present his movies as more consistently serious, even though Jet Li’s classic filmography is primarily action-COMEDY. To this end, they opted to create brand-new English dubs for the movies even though ones already existed, so they could alter the scripts. This is one reason why Paul isn’t caring much for movies “of this era”: he’s seeing adulterated versions and you have to really, really care to find the originals.

    The New Legend of Shaolin is tremendous. It’s another goofy Wong Jing picture, with Corey Yuen doing the fights. It’s the sort of movie where the evil poison ninja flies around in his armored ninja car, and Jet Li’s playing a Leslie Nielsen-style straight man. It was the first Jet Li movie I ever saw in a double feature with the Bruce Lee tribute Fist of Legend, the latter is presumably what gave the Weinsteins their idea in the first place. My Father is a Hero is the one Sean was thinking about. Once Upon a Time in China 4 isn’t the same as Once Upon a Time in China and America…because that’s part 6! Jet Li wasn’t in parts 4 or 5 at all since he’d had a falling out with Tsui Hark (everyone does eventually), so Tsui Hark made his own OUATIC sequels and Jet Li did his own, with Sammo Hung directing.

    I must declare SHENANIGANS on Sean’s comments regarding Transporter 2 and 3. Transporter 3 is one of the most frustrating things I’ve ever seen. Corey Yuen did the fights on ALL THREE of Jason Statham’s Transporter movies and was director for those scenes as well…in parts 1 and 2 only. Transporter 3 is the garbage Olivier Megaton one, who has no concept of how to edit or shoot anything, so even though Corey Yuen’s still piecing together the fights you can’t actually follow what’s happening. But, it got a PG-13 rating without needing alterations like the first two did, so Megaton continues to get work. To this day, Transporter 2 has never been released uncut in the US. Only the European release has all the violence and the weird lady’s nipples showing through her shirt the entire movie. On the downside, the CG for the plane and car during the greatest bomb defusal ever got cleaned up to look slightly less Aqua Teen Hunger Force.

    Tim: For the Shaw library specifically, the easiest way to get 1080p versions as restored from the 35mm prints is probably to just use iTunes, since Celestial Pictures put them up there without any region restrictions. $8 a film for high definition or $5 for standard. Checking my mobile device I see exactly 100 titles on there, so it’s either not everything (they likely prioritized the kung fu releases over the romance films) or the search results limit to 100.

    DVD-wise, the official HK releases by IVL from a decade ago are Region 3 encoded. They should all have English subtitles, but they’re translated off of the Mandarin audio rather than the original Cantonese. The DVD versions released in America across the various labels (Dragon Dynasty, Image/BCI, Tokyo Shock, FUNimation, Well Go etc) are actually the best standard definition versions to get overall: audio tracks, corrected subtitle translations/fonts, extras.

    The definitive editions of the Golden Harvest-era movies (Bruce Lee, Jackie Chan, Sammo Hung etc) probably ARE the UK releases, NTSC->PAL framerate alterations aside. Prior to Dragon Dynasty, Bey Logan’s big project was a print magazine called Hong Kong Legends, and each issue included as a “bonus DVD” an entire film restored, properly translated along with biographies, cast interviews, a commentary track etc. That magazine ceased to exist once Dragon Dynasty started since Bey Logan is an irreplaceable one-man gang. People aren’t liable to part with their physical copies, though several 1:1 digital facsimiles float around online.

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