The Prodigal Son
UNIVERSE
 
Starring:
Directed By:
Sammo Hung
Year:
1981
Run Time:
104mins
Producer: Universe
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Languages:
CANTONESE 5.1, Mandarin 5.1
Subtitles:
Removable Chinese (S+T), English, Japanese, Indonesian, Malaysian, Thai, Korean, Vietnamese
W/S Subtitles:
Yes
Ratio:
2.35:1 Non Anamorphic
Region:
NTSC 0
Genre:
Traditional Kung-Fu - II
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MOVIE
10/10

With this being one of my favourite films ever, it was with a strange mix of excitement and trepidation, that I sat down to watch this DVD. If Universe had screwed it up in any way, I would've felt dreadful ... thankfully, they haven't!

Leung Chang (Yuen Biao) is a young fighter with a rather inflated opinion of himself - he believes he's the best fighter in Fat San. In fact, his wealthy parents pay off his opponents behind his back, so their only Son isn't injured. After realizing his skills are well below average, thanks to Leung Yee-Tai (superbly played by Lam Ching-Ying), he decides he must learn Yee-Tai's far superior Wing Chun...

I've given a very brief plot synopsis because there are so many small details which make up this film, that it would spoil it for any first-time viewer by describing them all.
Suffice to say, Sammo Hung's blend of humour, a strong plot, beautifully crafted characters and bone-jarring Kung Fu is perfect, and I've yet to find a film which matches it.

READ THE DVD COMPARISON HERE

PICTURE
9/10

Amazing, considering this was made in 1980. The Peking Opera scenes highlight the strong, well-defined colours and I saw no signs of artifacting in light or dark scenes.
OK, there are a few speckles and minor scratches, but that's got to be expected from a print that's almost 20 years old!
The only element of the transfer which was ever so slighlty disappointing were the black levels, which occasionally appeared dark grey.

SOUND
6/10

Not groundbreaking, but still perfectly clear, containing no distortion or echoes.

SUBTITLES
10/10

Universe obviously pays more attention to the Subs on their DVD's than some other companies, and do a great job here. I can't remember seeing a single grammatical error or problem with syntax, and just in case you were worried - they DO subtitle the Opera scenes - YAY!
Universe seem to be the most reliable DVD company in Hong Kong, at the moment, and have bolstered that image with this release.

EXTRAS
3/10

Personally, I thought it pretty disrespectful that Universe didn't include a Lam Ching-Ying Bio along with Hung and Biao's...
Other than that you get the theatrical trailer and two other trailers for Millionaire's Express and Eastern Condors.

CONCLUSION
9/10

If you think this is "just another Kung Fu film" you'll miss out on one of Hong Kong Cinema's finest offerings, and in the process, miss out on one of Universe's finest offerings - don't be a fool...pick it up today!

MOVIE 10/10
PICTURE
9/10
SOUND
6/10
SUBTITLES
10/10
EXTRAS
3/10
MENUS
6/10
PACKAGING
6/10
OVERALL
9/10