Director Lau Kar-Leung trained in martial arts under the strict instruction of his father Lau Cham, who studied Hung Gar under Lam Sai-wing, who was a student of Wong Fei-hung, the man that this movie is all about. After working as an extra and choreographer, Lau Kar-Leung became one of Shaw Brothers’ main choreographers and worked often with director Chang Cheh.
Teenager Wong Fei-hung (Gordon Liu) has been sent to train in the art of hung gar kung fu from his father’s teacher, Luk Ah-choy, after entering — and losing — a tournament on his own and causing his father’s school to be dishonored.
The true beauty of this film is the knowledge that martial arts bring one a centered feeling and can take a brash and angry young man and create a tempered adult. Luk Ah-choy continues to remind the hero that he must give more forgiveness and less aggression. These may seem alien concepts for those that only see these films as poorly dubbed fights, but to those that love the genre and have taken their own fighting journies, it will ring with absolute sincerity.
The Arrow Video Shaw Scope Volume One box set has a brand new 2K restoration of Challenge of the Masters from the original negative by Arrow Films. There’s uncompressed Mandarin, Cantonese mono and English original mono audio, as well as newly translated English subtitles and English hard-of-hearing subtitles for the English dubs.
There’s also alternate textless opening credits, a Hong Kong trailer and interviews with Gordon Liu and Chen Kuan-tai, as well as an appreciation of director Lau Kar-leung by film critic and historian Tony Rayns.
You can get this set from MVD.
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