Last Hurrah for Chivalry (Dragon Dynasty)(Special Collector's Edition) [Import]
Before launching to international fame with The Killer and Hard Boiled, John Woo proved his mastery of action direction with Last Hurrah for Chivalry. Loaded with brilliantly choreographed action sequences that would become Woo's trademark, this sword fighting saga of honor and loyalty is \"a near flawless pic\" (Kung Fu Cinema). \n\nTwo master swordsmen agree to help a desperate man avenge his familys murder, only to discover that they may be pawns in a larger, more treacherous plot. The twisting story, fascinating characters, and sensational battle scenes combine to make this film an essential martial arts classic.\n\nColor, not rated (presumably R for violence), Dolby Digital, Languages Cantonese 5.1, English 5.1, Original Cantonese Mono, Subtitles in English, Spanish and English SDH, Widescreen enhanced for 16 X 9 televisions, Running Time approximately 107 minutes. Includes an interview with Fung Hak-On, Lee Hoi-San, Hong Kong Cinema expert Bey Logan, the Featurette Legendary Weapons of China, and Trailer Gallery.
In the Chinese wu hsia (martial chivalry) genre, sword-swinging heroes are often referred to as "altruists," and it's that aspect of the legend that gets a workout in this 1978 John Woo effort. Kao (Wei Pei), the duplicitous pivotal character, has purchased a beautiful wife for 1,000 taels of gold; alas, his rival, the prodigious fighter Pei, has paid her 2,000 taels to kill him. The moral is that when loyalty can be purchased, it no longer exists. The central action unfolds against this backdrop of a cynical, mercenary world. Kao selects a couple of fighters as soldiers in his quest for revenge, but being rare and noble souls they won't fight for money alone. Only after Kao, in a calculated move, helps Chang's dying mother will the fighters agree to take the case. This is only a moderately successful action movie, but it was a crucial stepping-stone in Woo's career: the action scenes, the highly emotional friendships, and the romantic music recall Chang Cheh, who Woo credits as an inspiration for his later gangster pictures, A Better Tomorrow and The Killer. The mournful resignation, the fading values, even the final assault on the baddie's headquarters, all these flourishes became staples of the Hong Kong gang films of the 1980s--though the gang flicks can't boast eccentric characters like the Sleeping Wizard, who fights in his sleep. --David Chute --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
When I first saw this film I was expecting casual Kung-Fu fair along the lines of the "Wu Tang" titles, but I was pleasantly surprised. The action is well choreographed and almost realistic (with some stylized exceptions), and most of the fighting is sword-play, not chop suey. Sword fighting fanatics take heed!
The subtitles for this really helped, too, in clearing up some points that I didn't understand in the English dub. Ever wondered what was written on Prey's fan? Now you do. You also hear the lyrics of the main theme, and it makes all the more sense when you know what the singer is saying. Besides, a film as grand as this really doesn't deserve being dubbed.
The DVD edition has good picture quality and the sound is excellent, with Dolby Digital (rare for a 20 years old film!).
If you like HK cinema, this is a must for your collection.
The anachronistic speech patterns and occasionally bad humour are not to everybody's taste. However, what it does achieve for the film is a sense of intimacy for the characters missing from Woo's previous films, such as Hand of Death. The use of the Cantonese language brings Last Hurrah for Chivalry down to an earthy level, allowing the actors to loosen up. In the case of Wei Pai and Liu Sung Yen, this is really a good thing, freeing them up to express their characters better.
Woo's signatures begin to emerge very clearly in this film. The characters of Cheung the Third and Green Robe are really precursors to character pairings in later Woo films such as Jeff and Eagle Lee (The Killer), Potcake and Jim (Once a Thief), and most important, Ho and Mark/Ken from the A Better Tomorrow series. Just the interplay between Wei and Liu along is worth the whole film, Wei's earnest naivete and Liu's engrossing mix of drunken clowning and deadly silence making for some of the best character interactions in the Woo oeuvre, rivalling that of Chow Yun-fat and Ti Lung in A Better Tomorrow. The over-the-top sound design and hair-raising fight choreography give the fight sequences a real sense of danger, while the themes of honour, betrayal, despair and fate are lifted intact and incorporated into the Killer, right down the the ending.
In fact, the only fault of this film is its moments of crude humour, usually thanks to bad bit players (eg. the henchmen of the villain Bai Zhong Tang). Still, Last Hurrah for Chivalry is one of Woo's best early films.
Last Hurrah for Chivalry is even better in DVD. This widesrceen production is a "10" in terms of picture quality! The Mandarin dubbed version of the movie is especially good. Excellent color and focus are good adjectives to describe the video portion. I believe the video has been reworked, because for a film that was originally released in 1979 the video still seems fresh.
The audio quality is equal to the task. The producers have spared no expense and have transfer the original soundtrack recording to Dolby Digital 5.1. I assume it was remastered to make the conversion, because it doesn't say so on the box. Not many studios now adays will go to such expense to update a movie over 20 years old.
By the way this DVD has the original Cantonese version with English subtitles, or you can watch the film dubbed in English or Mandarin, with a choice of English, simplified or traditional Chinese subtitles.
I have the original video of the film as well and noticed the English translation is some instances is different than the DVD, but the video quality on the DVD just blows the video away. If you have a DVD player...get the DVD... You won't be disappointed.
This is my favorite John Woo film. It's better than the latest films he has produced here for the US market, including Broken Arrow etc..
Most recent customer reviews
I'm no John Woo Fan, but I never get sick of watching this over & over. Good plot, great costumes, an overly suggestive & touching relationship between 2 attractive guys,... Read morePublished on May 20 2004 by Lika Laruku
Okay: John Woo, Noo big stars, ... dubs. Sound bad? WRONG! With some of the best fight scenes of all time (sleeping sword, the opening battle, and the wax room come to mind), and a... Read morePublished on Aug. 16 2001
Amongst the people I know who like martial arts films, there exist several sub categories. Those who like hand-to-hand, those who like weapon fights, those who like mystical... Read morePublished on May 12 2001 by I Heron
Flying swords, lots of dead people, semi heroics, stylish villian, impossible kicks, fascinating punches, some blood, unhappy mistresses and very little self... Read morePublished on March 2 2001
Last Hurrah for Chivalry is one of the best martial arts movie I've ever seen. We can see John Woo' style in many of the scenes (slow motion action scenes) and themes (friendship... Read morePublished on Jan. 25 2001 by Denis-Steve Giguere
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