Eureka Entertainment presents THE DEAD AND THE DEADLY, the acclaimed kung-fu comedy directed by Wu Ma and starring Sammo Hung.
On home video for the first time ever in the UK as a part of the Eureka Classics range, presented on Blu-ray from a brand new 2K restoration. The first print-run of 2000 copies will feature a Limited-Edition O-card Slipcase & Collector’s Booklet.
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Sammo Hung stars as “Chu Wang-Lee/Fat Boy/Oaf”. In a career spanning six decades, Sammo has worked with some of the best in the business, from Bruce Lee to Jackie Chan. His work as a performer, choreographer and director helped to reshape and evolve modern screen fighting action as we know it.
From his earliest works such as “Iron Fisted Monk”, “Warriors Two”, “Knockabout”, “The Prodigal Son”, to his comedies and collaborations with his fellow “Fortunes” opera brothers, including “The Lucky Stars Trilogy”, “Eastern Condors”, “Wheels on Meals”, “Pedicab Driver”, to modern-day hits such as “SPL/ Kill Zone”, “Call of Heroes”, “Ip Man”, “Paradox” and “The Bodyguard”, there are very few others who have delivered such a variety of action to consistently high quality levels over such a long career.
Martial arts actor and stuntman Lam Ching-ying plays “Uncle Ko/Yee”. He would go on to star as a Taoist Ghostbuster in the subsequent kung fu comedy horror film, “Mr Vampire”. The part would become his defining movie role. A prolific stunt performer, he had made notable appearances as a fan-wielding assassin in “Magnificent Butcher“, and as Wing Chun master “Leung Yee-tai” in “Prodigal Son“, arguably one of his finest performances.
THE DEAD AND THE DEADLY (Eureka Classics) Unboxing Video
A student of Madame Fan Fok Fa’s Peking Opera School, Chung Fat plays “The Priest”. He started off his movie career as an extra on the movie “Enter The Dragon”, and can be seen as one of the fighters who takes on Bolo Yeung. A frequent collaborator with Sammo, he has appeared in “Warriors Two“, “The Prodigal Son”, “Magnificent Butcher”, “Yes Madam/Police Assassins”, “She Shoots Straight”, to name but a few.
Familiar character actor Wu Ma directs and stars as “Ma Lun-Cheung/ Ma Lucho”. Wu Ma appeared in over 240 films and is best known to fans for his roles in “Righting Wrongs”, “Twinkle Twinkle Lucky Stars” and “A Chinese Ghost Story“.
Former Miss Hong Kong runner up, actress Cherie Chung Cho-Hung stars as “Siu Yuen”. Discovered by film director Johnnie To she debuted in his first film “The Enigmatic Case”. Chung would go on to feature in classics such as “Postman Strikes Back”, “Winners & Sinners”, “Peking Opera Blues”, “An Autumn’s Tale”, and “Once a Thief”.
Cunning philanderer Ma Lun-Cheung fakes his own death in order to steal his family’s funeral treasure. When the treasure is instead bequeathed to Ma’s unborn son, his co-conspirators kill him for real.
His friend Chu Wang-Lee, who works at the local undertakers, is not only suspicious about Ma’s death, but also because he knew him to be impotent! Ma’s vengeful spirit joins forces with Chu Wang-Lee and together they seek revenge on his murderers.
THE DEAD AND THE DEADLY “Why Do You Want Me Dead?” Clip
Spectacular and Acrobatic Action Scenes
Mostly played for comic effect, this film features a lot of genuine Chinese superstitions and traditions related to a person’s passing and the rules that must be adhered to for their successful entry into the afterlife.
As a result, there aren’t as many action scenes as “Encounter of the Spooky Kind” or “Mr Vampire”, but it is packed to the gills with some hilarious comic set pieces. There is a particularly funny sequence with Sammo disguised as a life-sized papier-mâché effigy in order to infiltrate the funeral service.
When there are action scenes, they are spectacular and acrobatic. It’s no coincidence considering the vast majority of the performers are former Chinese Opera players. Each sequence is filmed in long, wide-framed takes, often using slow motion so that the audience can really appreciate the incredible physical skills on display.
The finale, featuring three fat spirits that resemble ET: The Extra Terrestrial, is possibly the most bizarre conclusion to a Sammo Hung movie you will ever witness!
THE DEAD AND THE DEADLY Original Hong Kong Trailer
Incredibly, this is the first proper UK home release of “The Dead and the Deadly”. I am sure many old-school fans will have at some point seen the film on a dodgy VHS bootleg or imported VCD. This edition’s 2K restoration is stunning, and a world away from those versions!
Although many fans like the nostalgia of a grainy picture and dodgy subtitles, this high-definition version is most welcome, with so much of the action taking place in dimly lit interiors or at night! The colourful supernatural effects, although very dated, actually look pretty good in this remaster too.
Eureka Entertainment’s Blu-ray edition is packaged with a fascinating and informative booklet. Extra features include a 2016 interview with Sammo Hung in which he reveals a lot about his relationship with Bruce Lee as well as giving an insight into his relationship with his Pedicab Driver co-star Lau Kar Leung.
There is also an hour-long Q&A session with Sammo from the same film festival.
As part of the various audio options, there are new feature length audio commentaries by Asian film experts Frank Djeng, and Michael Worth, and from action cinema experts Mike Leeder & Arne Venema, plus newly-translated English subtitles, and original trailers for the film.
Both the audio commentaries for this release are especially informative, as so much of what is going on onscreen is playing around with genuine traditions that not everyone may be familiar with.
Fans looking for an action-packed kung fu film in the ilk of “Mr Vampire” or “Encounters of the Spooky Kind”, might be disappointed by the lack of fight scenes. However, I urge you to bear with it, as Sammo puts as much precision and effort into his comic performance as he does with any well-choreographed punch up. I would also encourage you to fully watch the extra features with Sammo, particularly the interview.
The Dead and the Deadly is a light-hearted romp that turns Chinese superstitions into a wacky comedy film that will leave you grinning. And like me, you might even learn a little Chinese culture along the way!
- The barn set from Jackie Chan‘s “Dragon Lord” was reused for this movie.
- The burning of paper representations of daily objects is a genuine funeral tradition that endures to this day. The belief is that these items can be carried over into the afterlife. Paper money is most common, but paper models of modern-day paraphernalia such as DVD players and even mobile phones have been proffered at some funerals!