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Arrow's The One-Armed Boxer Entertains with One Arm Tied Behind Its Back

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The One-Armed Boxer

Arrow Video presents the first film from former Shaw Brothers executive, Raymond Chow. Chow founded rival studio, Golden Harvest, in 1970 with The One-Armed Boxer or (as it was originally released in the United States) The Chinese Professionals.

The film is written, directed, and starring former Shaw Brothers superstar “Jimmy” Wang Yu, who takes the helm and kicks off his version of martial art films with this first (and some may say best) film that came from the studio.

Overly campy and comical at times, Yu crafts this as not just a martial arts Kung Fu film, but more as a comic book film (before it was a genre) and just so happens to have the main character be a one-armed Kung Fu master. Yu (who has both arms in real life) takes the character through all the tropes one would expect in a film like this. Martial arts students fighting rival gangs, mercenaries hired to protect the prostitution rings and opium trade, and one man with one arm is the only person that can stop them.

Arrow video used both hands when packing this release with special features:

  • 2K restoration from the original elements by Fortune Star
  • High Definition (1080p) Blu-ray presentation
  • Original lossless Mandarin mono audio, alternate Mandarin soundtrack and original English dubbed audio
  • Optional English subtitles, plus hard-of-hearing subtitles for the English dub
  • Commentary by Frank Djeng from the NY Asian Film Festival
  • Career retrospective interview with Wang Yu, filmed in Nantes in 2001 and never released before, courtesy of the Frédéric Ambroisine Video Archive
  • Trailer gallery, featuring the original Hong Kong theatrical trailer, a US TV spot (as The Chinese Professionals) and over half an hour of trailers for other Wang Yu classics including One-Armed Swordsman and Master of the Flying Guillotine
  • Image gallery
  • Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Ilan Sheady
  • FIRST PRESSING ONLY: Illustrated collector's booklet featuring new writing on the film by Simon Abrams

This is a very enjoyable film from start to finish. Even if martial art Kung-Fu films are not right for you, this one is bound to have something in it that you will enjoy -- even if it is only pointing out every time you can spot Wang Yu’s arm strapped to his back.

Grade: 
4.0 / 5.0