Flashbacks and Kung Fu

Ten Tigers of Kwangtung houses one of Shaw Brothers’ most unique fights. In a restaurant, two characters clash, utilizing benches, stools, umbrellas, bowls, chopsticks, knives, and a sword. It’s wild, creative, theatrical, and eye-catching in all the ways a martial arts battle should play out on screen.

Ten Tigers of Kwangtung maintains a steady pace as to never bore

Of course, the climatic battle lasts some seven minutes of screentime, pitting sword against sword in another gem. Ten Tigers of Kwangtung needed that expressive choreography to satisfy a convoluted, overloaded plot with no less than 15 main characters in two different timelines. Shaw collected their best for this project, a culmination of their work throughout the ‘70s, delivering on a superstar saga, if without the clarity to pull things together.

Regardless of the back-and-forth confusion, the star power keeps the attention. Sheng Fu’s antics cement his legacy even with only a brief life and career, truly a charismatic, funny, and athletic screen presence. Anytime he appears, Ten Tigers of Kwangtun begins to glow.

Between his showmanship, dialog spins a generational saga about the ten legendary masters from the title, battling against the Manchu and their corrupt leadership. Then, a revenge story, playing out in gambling dens for an especially seedy aesthetic. Clumsy as it is when doling out exposition, Ten Tigers of Kwangtung maintains a steady pace as to never bore. Even when the scripts petered out, a consistent slate of choreography helped lift these genre films. That’s arguably the truest when applied to Ten Tigers of Kwangtung.

Video

Clean and beautiful, Arrow delivers a master showing superb detail and definition. Ten Tigers of Kwangtung sports an alluringly authentic grain structure, of which the encode handles flawlessly. Consistency deserves notable credit, maintaining purity from a pristine scan.

Excellent color reproduction keeps the imagery natural. Primaries blossom but in control. A slight fade is expected, and also harmless to the overall look.

Also featuring contrast in droves, brightness sustains an impressive peak throughout. Black levels achieve pure black, a rarity in this set that usually falls to deep grays.

Audio

The typical DTS-HD trio for this set: Mandarin, Cantonese, and and English dub. There’s nothing special about these tracks, each one serviceable in delivering the dialog and a murkier score. Peak treble is an issue, the horn section struggling to keep its integrity. Luckily free from distortion, static, or popping, Ten Tigers of Kwangtung sounds well restored.

Extras

Brandon Bentley jumps in for a commentary track. A featurette borrowed from the paired Magnificent Ruffians called Rivers and Lakes shows up in the bonus menu. An interview with actor Chin Siu-ho dates back to 2003. Arrow includes a text-less title sequence, trailers, and images.

Full disclosure: This Blu-ray was provided to us for review. This has not affected the editorial process. For information on how we handle review material, please visit our about us page to learn more.

Ten Tigers of Kwangtung
  • Video
  • Audio
  • Extras

Movie

While overstuffed with characters to a point of confusion, Ten Tigers of Kwangtung satisfies thanks to an incredible cast from Shaw Brother’s roster.

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The following six screen shots serve as samples for our subscription-exclusive set of 28 full resolution, uncompressed HD screen shots grabbed directly from the Blu-ray: