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Shawscope Blu-ray box





The Covenant


Shaolin Temple


  • Blu-ray (Arrow Video)
  • SD Version (Arrow Bonus)
Release: Jan 17, 2022 - Author: Muck47 - Translator: Mike Lowrey - external link: IMDB

Comparison between the main HD version by Celestial and the SD bonus version, both included on the British Blu-ray by Arrow Video.

Available in the UK since 20th December 2021 and US since 28th December 2021 from aficionado label Arrow Video, the box set entitled "Shawscope Vol. 1" is a must-have for any fan of Asian action cinema. Included are 12 films from the legendary Shaw Brothers studio, plus lots of newly produced bonus material and a 60-page book. Version-wise, the original cut of Chinatown Kid, finally restored for the first time, is a special feature. This one's even a bit longer than previously available on VHS. There are also 6 other films (so including Chinatown Kid it's 7 titles) available for the first time in new restorations from Arrow Video. The other 5 films are the same as Celestial's versions, already released on other Blu-rays worldwide.

Those who are somewhat familiar with the Shaw films should know that the versions on DVD and Blu-ray, which have been in common use worldwide since the mid-2000s, often have "framecuts". The Asian rights holder Celestial messed this up during the restoration: frames around the splices between individual shots or fractions damaged for whatever reasons were rigorously cut instead of carefully reconstructing the moments or simply leaving them as they were. Depending on the length of the film, this resulted in a loss of up to 5 minutes of running time, which is hardly noticeable during normal viewing. Fights in particular, however, often seem a bit jerky due to the quick shots being cut further for a few frames each. Annoyingly, some shots were also completely lost from time to time. That's why it was so exciting to see what the 7 new Arrow restorations might finally reveal in comparison to previous versions.

Shaolin Temple is included on disc 3 along with Five Shaolin Masters. Both films are only available in the familiar Celestial versions with framecuts. However, while you can discover additional footage in the US pre-credits sequence as a bonus for Five Shaolin Masters, the older SD version of Shaolin Temple without framecuts is included in its entirety as a bonus on the Arrow Blu-ray. Runtime difference:

  • Celestial master: 119:58 min (Arrow Video Blu-ray at 23.976 fps)
  • Old SD version: 121:55 min (bonus material of the Arrow Video Blu-ray at 23.976 fps)

Minus Celestial references and shorter credits, the old SD version is 01:49 min longer. As expected, this is almost entirely distributed among irrelevant "framecuts" at the beginning and end of shots that are barely noticeable during normal viewing.

A closer look reveals that the differences that are actually somehow "relevant" are even smaller than in Challenge of the Masters, which we had only mentioned as an appendix in the report on Dirty Ho due to minor deviations. Nevertheless: curiously enough, there is a short alternate shot to be discovered towards the end. Also, the identical Blu-ray from Germany is considered "censored", so it's helpful to reveal the (basically non-existent) cuts again. And after all, the old SD version comes back into focus for Arrow buyers anyway, as it's additionally filed as a bonus with this film.

Runtimes are ordered as follows: Arrow main version / Arrow bonus version

The Celestial logo is once again missing from the main film on the UK Blu-ray.

10 sec

In the HD master by Celestial, the credits are white. The old SD version had them in yellow.

British Blu-ray - Main versionBritish Blu-ray - SD bonus version

35:40 / 36:22-36:24

Lin turns left while still jumping on the bed of nails here at the end of the shot.

1,4 sec

100:42 / 102:19

Not really worth mentioning, but because of a fight scene: Another attack in the first frames of a shot.

0,5 sec

104:57-104:58 / 106:40-106:41

When a short B&W flashback to Chai's training comes in the middle of the fight, you interestingly see a different shot.

No time difference

British Blu-ray - Main versionBritish Blu-ray - SD bonus version

116:26 / 118:21-118:22

The two walk away through the flames for a moment longer.

1,2 sec

119:34 / 121:33-121:39

Before the end fade-in appears, the image freezes much longer in the old version. Then white vs yellow text again.

Bonusfassung 5,5 sec lšnger

British Blu-ray - Main versionBritish Blu-ray - SD bonus version

Then again, the end fade-in is noticeably longer on the Celestial version above the frozen image. There is also only the Celestial logo to be seen there.