Knockabout (Za jia xiao zi)
Genre: Action, Comedy, Drama
Year Released: 1979, 2023 Arrow Video Blu-ray
Runtime: 1h 32m
Director(s): Sammo Hung
Writer(s): Sammo Hung
Cast: Yuen Biao, Sammo Hung, Ka-Yan Leung, Kar-Wing Lau, Kuang Yu Wang, Hoi-Sang Lee, Karl Maka, Mars, Fat Chung
Where To Watch: Available March 28, 2023. To preorder now, head to www.arrowvideo.com or www.mvdshop.com
RAVING REVIEW: Get ready for a thrilling ride in martial arts with the 1979 gem, KNOCKABOUT, directed by the renowned Sammo Hung. Alongside Leung Kar-Yan, the duo portrays swindling brothers who encounter a martial arts virtuoso, leading to a life-altering transformation. However, as their training advances, they unravel the sinister motives lurking beneath the surface. Yuen Biao makes a grand entrance in this action-packed extravaganza, displaying his breathtaking martial arts prowess and impeccable comic timing.
KNOCKABOUT serves as a springboard for Yuen Biao's career. His extraordinary physical abilities and comedic panache rival some of the most well-known genre actors of their time, proving he is a true contender in the martial arts arena.
A stellar cast fuels the gripping yet lighthearted plot. Sammo Hung's portrayal of a beggar who imparts a distinctive fighting style to Biao enriches the narrative. The on-screen chemistry between Biao and Leung Kar-Yan results in side-splitting humor and electrifying combat sequences.
Though the storyline may be predictable, and some of the characters could use a little more depth, the funfilled performances of the cast overshadow these minor flaws. The mesmerizing choreography and acrobatics steal the show, albeit with occasional imperfections in the cinematography. In my eyes (someone who used to consider this genre one of their least favorite), this is precisely what is needed; the film is enjoyable throughout. While I’ve seen hundreds of martial arts films, it’s only within the last several months that my tastes have begun to change, and I’ve seen a genuine appreciation for them.
The trio of Hung, Leung, and Biao has undoubtedly left an indelible mark on the kung-fu cinema landscape. The earlier battles showcase the characters' evolution as they sharpen their martial arts expertise. As the movie unfolds, the fight scenes increase in intensity, culminating in a jaw-dropping finale exhibiting Biao's gravity-defying acrobatics.
While KNOCKABOUT might contain some predictable elements and an occasional imbalance between humor and action, it remains a riveting display of martial arts mastery. Yuen Biao, Leung Kar-Yan, and Sammo Hung deliver a show-stopping performance, making this film a pulsating tribute to human physicality that will captivate audiences of all stripes.
The fight choreography is a standout feature, presenting a dazzling array of techniques and combatants. The jump rope scene, in particular, is a breathtaking exhibition of martial arts mastery that will leave viewers astonished.
To sum up, KNOCKABOUT is an unmissable classic in the martial arts genre that will delight action film enthusiasts. This adrenaline-charged spectacle, packed with a phenomenal cast, jaw-dropping fight scenes, and pitch-perfect comic timing, guarantees everyone a fun and action-filled experience.
This experience pumped me up as I should get my copy of Shawscope: Volume Two within the next week to add to my collection; I plan on diving into Volume One & Two in the next few months.
- 2K restorations from the original elements by Fortune Star of both the original HK Theatrical Cut and the shorter Export Cut
- High Definition (1080p) Blu-ray presentation
- Original lossless Cantonese and Mandarin mono audio for the HK Theatrical Cut, plus lossless English mono for both cuts
- Two choices of English dubbed audio for the HK Theatrical Cut: the original export dub mono and the newer 5.1 dub created for international DVD presentations
- Optional English subtitles for the HK Theatrical Cut and English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing on the Export Cut
- Commentary on the HK Theatrical Cut by martial arts cinema experts Frank Djeng & Michael Worth
- Commentary on the Export Cut by action cinema experts Mike Leeder & Arne Venema
- Archival interview with Sammo Hung
- Archival interview with Bryan “Beardy” Leung Kar-Yan
- Archival interview with Grandmaster Chan Sau Chang (aka The Monkey King), a master of Monkey Style kung fu
- Deleted “Red Room” scene, featuring stars Yuen Biao and Sammo Hung in a teaser promo for the film’s Japanese release
- Original theatrical trailer
- Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Ilan Sheady
- FIRST PRESSING ONLY: Illustrated collectors' booklet featuring new writing by Simon Abrams and original press materials
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[film courtesy of ARROW VIDEO/MVD ENTERTAINMENT]
[photo courtesy of KUNGFUKINGDOM.COM]