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Shawscope Blu-ray box


So I Married An Axe Murderer


National Lampoon's Vacation


The Last Starfighter

Boxer from Shantung, The

original title: Ma Yong Zhen


  • IVL Blu-ray / Celestial version
  • Arrow Video Blu-ray
Release: Dec 31, 2021 - Author: Muck47 - Translator: Muck47 - external link: IMDB

Comparison between the German Blu-ray from filmArt (identical to the Hongkong Blu-ray by IVL and several DVD releases worldwide) and the 2021 British Blu-ray from 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.

The Boxer from Shantung is included on disc 2 in the set and is certainly one of the most popular Shaw Easterns. The running time difference here is immediately noticeable:

  •  Previous Celestial master. 129:50 min (filmart Blu-ray at 23.976 fps) or 124:35 min (various PAL DVDs at 25fps and Blu-rays in 25i)
  • 2021 restoration from Arrow Video: 134:23 min (Arrow Video Blu-ray at 23.976 fps)

Minus Arrow's missing references to Celestial at the beginning/end, the new restoration is 4:50 minutes longer. At least we can state after a detailed comparison: These are almost without exception irrelevant, classic "framecuts". Almost every shot is a few insignificant frames longer, without there being anything exciting for the viewer to discover.

In the finale, however, a shot of someone falling down a staircase has been neglected during Celestial's remaster. Strictly speaking, all previous DVDs and Blu-rays worldwide would therefore have to be classified as cut. Only the Arrow release contains the complete original cut, as it was presumably available on VHS, at least in some countries, before Celestial "restored" the film. Admittedly, one could still live well with this mini-cut. The much smoother overall impression without choppy shots, see an example at the end of the report, prevails here as an argument for the new Arrow version.

Running time details are arranged according to the scheme
filmart Blu-ray / Arrow Video Blu-ray

The introductory logo of Celestial is consequently missing in the new Blu-ray from Arrow Video.

Note: It plays separately on the disc though, before you can start the movie.

+ 10 sec

103:15 / 106:56-106:58

More than a second of footage is often lost in the course of the film on the old Celestial master, without anything worth mentioning at the beginning/end. At this point, however, there is a tracking shot towards Ma Yung in which a little more than that is withheld at the beginning. The tracking shot only begins when the head of the man in the light blue shirt almost isn't visible anymore on the right side of the screen.

2 sec

112:43 / 116:50-116:52

When Ma Yung kicks an opponent on the top floor and he falls through the staircase towards the ground, one shot is completely missing in the Celestial Master. From diagonally below, you can still see the guy sailing down here. Without this shot, in the widely used Celestial version, the man immediately lands on the ground after touching the railing. So at last we get to watch the stuntman fall down in the Arrow remaster.

The picture freezes briefly in the middle (first screenshot). In the soundtracks of Arrow there is also a brief mute moment. This may have seemed funny to Celestial, so they removed this "halting" shot completely without further ado.

2.2 sec

125:27-125:29 / 130:00-130:03

As an example, one scene suffers particularly from the frame cuts. When Ma Yung has destroyed the pillar and thus the entire stair construction collapses, the shots are all rather quick either way, even in the uncut version. But with 12 frames (= 0.5 sec) each, the falls are still quite noticable. In Celestial, only 5 frames (= 0.2 sec) are left of each shot.

In principle, every single shot is there, so it's not a classic cut here. With such short fractions of a second, however, the fall simply no longer seems fluid. It is a choppy, fast jumble. With such action highlights alone, it is simply much more fun to watch the new Arrow restoration.

Picture for orientation

129:14 / 131:53

The credits start a little earlier in the Celestial version. In the Arrow restoration, the first credit now comes when the train doors are squeezed. The speed and design of the credits also differs a bit. Apparently Celestial recreated then, while Arrow now shows the original credits again. The end credit also differs.

filmArt Blu-rayArrow Video Blu-ray

After the end credit, there are no more references to Celestial, as in the beginning of the film.

+ 7 sec

Packshot of the British Blu-ray box by Arrow Video