88 Films Blu-ray release from a stunning restoration of Director Ronny Yu’s (“Legacy of Rage”, “The Bride With White Hair“, “Bride of Chucky”, “Fearless”), stylish take on a classic period martial arts movie! (AKA “Postman Strikes Back” in some territories.)
Bryan “Beardy” Leung Kar Yan stars as “Courier Ma/The Postman”. A regular star of 1970’s and 80’s kung fu films, Beardy is probably best known for his roles in “Odd Couple”, “The Victim”, “Knockabout” and “Legend of a Fighter“. He also appeared in Donnie Yen’s “Ip Man 3“.
One of Asia’s biggest stars Chow Yun Fat co-stars as “Fu Jun”. Chow Yun Fat is best known for his collaborations with acclaimed director John Woo in films such as “A Better Tomorrow”, “Hard Boiled” and “The Killer”. He found international success in “The Replacement Killers”, “The Corruptor” and the Oscar-winning “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon“.
Former Miss Hong Kong runner up, actress Cherie Chung Cho-Hung plays “Guifa”. Discovered by film director Johnnie To she debuted in his first film “The Enigmatic Case”. Chung would go onto feature in classics such as “Dead and the Deadly“, “Winners & Sinners“, “Peking Opera Blues”, “An Autumn’s Tale”, and “Once a Thief”.
Action director and stuntman Yuen Yat-chor plays “Yao Jin”. A member of the legendary Yuen clan of stunt performers and directors, he has appeared in films such as “Legend of a Fighter“, “The Miracle Fighters”, “Shaolin Drunkard”, “Drunken Tai Chi“, and “In the Line of Duty 4”.
Popular Shaw Brothers and TVB actor Eddy Ko Hung stars as the ruthless villain, “Hsiu”. In a career stretching back to the 1960s, Ko has starred in films such as “The Invincible Iron Palm”, “The Thundering Mantis”, “The Bride With White Hair”, “The Miracle Fighters”, “Shaolin Drunkard”, “The Peacock King”, “Heroes Shed No Tears”, and many more.
He became popular with Chinese television audiences playing Master Huo Yuanjia in the 1995 TV version of “Fist of Fury”, which starred Donnie Yen as Chen Zhen. He will be familiar to worldwide film fans for his role as Grandpa Hong in “Lethal Weapon 4”, and his cameo as a potential buyer in Jackie Chan’s “Rumble in the Bronx”.
A prolific martial arts actor since the 1960s, Fan Mei-Sheng appears as “Bu”. Fan has appeared in dozens of classic martial arts movies including “One Armed Swordsman”, “The Water Margin”, “Sentimental Swordsman”, “Magnificent Butcher”, “Dreadnaught“, “Hitman in the Hand of Buddha“, “Millionaires Express“, and many more. He is also the father of “Riki-Oh: The Story of Ricky” star Louis Fan Siu Wong.
When Courier Ma, alongside three other mismatched allies, is sent on a mission to deliver a secret cargo to a rebel leader, he soon finds himself on a patriotic quest to save the country and himself.
The fighting action kicks off right away with Yuen Yat-Chor being attacked by sword-wielding bandits in a forest before Bryan Leung is dragged into the brawl.
A very youthful looking Chow Yun Fat flexes his fists in a brief introduction fight. Even though this was an early film role for him, you can see the genesis of the cool, tough guy persona that would help him become one of Hong Kong’s biggest stars. Often with a cigarette hanging from the corner of his mouth, he casually flicks his scarf over his shoulder after dispatching his foes, he is Hong Kong cinema’s answer to Clint Eastwood in the Sergio Leone Westerns.
Appropriately enough, director Ronny Yu tries, and succeeds, in making this feel like a classic Western film. A campfire scene that could have come straight out of The Wild Bunch ends in a torch-lit brawl, albeit with some classic kung fu fighting.
Chow Yun Fat has an intricately choreographed fight as two would-be assassins link up as one eight-limbed attacker.
A unique set piece is a fight on a frozen lake with our heroes being attacked by ice skaters armed with spears! The ice hockey style of attack is perhaps a little out of place in a period piece, but makes for an innovative set piece nonetheless.
Fan Siu Wong initiates an explosive and vengeful finale, whilst both Bryan Leung and Chow Yun Fat get to go toe-to-toe against Eddie Ko. Leung and Ko’s final fight in particular is a highlight of the film.
“The Postman Fights Back” is a unique Hong Kong action film that plays like a Hollywood western and features some interesting plot twists.
Although this is essentially a period kung fu film, Ronny Yu directs with a much more modern-day, western style. It makes for a very slick-looking film unlike any of its peers from the same period.
What makes this even more remarkable is hearing Ronny Yu in the audio commentary discuss the various problems, of which there were many, that plagued the making of this movie.
Extra features include a fascinating, and often amusing audio commentary with Frank Djeng and Director Ronny Yu, a supplementary audio commentary by Frank Djeng for the Hong Kong cut, an audio commentary with Stephan Hammond for the export cut, archival interviews with stars Chow Yun-Fat
and Leung Kar-Yan and director Ronny Yu, plus an up-to-date interview from YouTube star ‘That Phat Samurai Guy’ with Ronny Yu and Frank Djeng.
The Postman Strikes Back is a stylish presentation of classic kung fu and cowboy film tropes, packed with entertaining fight scenes. Well worth a look or a revisit!
- Filmed on location in Korea and Hong Kong.
- Director Ronny Yu asked the local military to supply TNT to make the explosions more realistic!
- The machine gun used in the finale was supplied by a British film armourer and shipped over to the production.
- Ronny Yu would go on to direct Brandon Lee’s “Legacy of Rage”, “Warriors of Virtue”, Jet Li’s “Fearless”, the acclaimed “The Bride With White Hair”, and the Hollywood hits “Bride of Chucky”, “The 51st State” and “Freddie vs Jason”.