For more information, or to buy the DVD, please visit the official Dragon Dynasty site.
Fist of Legend
At first, I couldn't decide if the cover art was nice in its' simplicity or just a product of laziness. I'm leaning towards the latter; most any kid who knows a bit about Photoshop could do much better, and the silver embossing used on the outer cardboard sleeve makes the art look even cheesier.
Sadly, it looks like Dragon Dynasty has gone back to placing several trailers at the beginning of the disc that auto-play. It's not a huge deal, but it is an annoyance to have to skip through them to get to the main menu. Speaking of the menus, there isn't anything radically different here from most of Dragon Dynasty's other releases -- they're nothing flashy, but they get the job done.
Dragon Dynasty has done a tremendous job in remastering the picture. It makes a lot of the other versions (such as PanMedia's, which was released in China) look like VHS tapes. Fist of Legend is a major movie for martial arts fans, and DD obviously took a lot of time and care to make sure the picture is spot-on.
Unlike the previous US version released by Dimension, which only had an English audio track, DD's version has the original Cantonese language track, as well as a Mandarin track. Unfortunately, only the English track is in 5.1, but if you're one of those people who have even been subjected to poor 5.1 remixes (like a lot of Mei Ah's early DVDs) you will agree that it's better to have a quality stereo track versus a half-ass remixed one. The subtitles (which can be displayed in English or Spanish) are done well, featuring a much better translation than previous versions -- no more "Chinglish" here.
Commentary with Bey Logan: This is a favorite movie of Logan's, and it shows in this commentary. It's informative and fast-moving, unlike some of his recent ones, whic have gotten a bit dry. It still would've been nice to have someone else for Logan to bounce off of, since the commentaries he does in conjunction with others always seem to be more entertaining.
Deleted scenes: Five short scenes which were previously only available on a Taiwanese DVD are included here. They don't really add a whole lot to the movie, and they don't look all that great due to the fact that they weren't remastered and still have the dreaded Chinese/English "burnt-in" subtitles on them. But it was good to see them included on here, since the Taiwanese DVD has long been out of print.
Interviews: Gordon Chan, Chin Siu-Ho, and Yasuaki Kurata are the subject of the interviews here, each of which run about a half-hour. Chan's, which is in English, isn't anything too deep, but gives a nice inside look at the making of the film. After watching this, I felt like he really should have worked on the commentary with Bey Logan. Yasuaki Kurata's interview is very interesting, as he gives the perspective of a Japanese actor working in Hong Kong. He comes off as funny and cool, and really made this the best extra on the disc. Chin Siu-Ho's interview is very general and doesn't add too much -- not to mention some of it is recycled from Dragon Dynasty's recently released Tai Chi Master DVD.
Trailers: The original and US trailers are included. Having a subtitled version of the original trailer was a nice touch, and it's something I hope Dragon Dynasty does more often.
School of Hard Knocks: The usual Dragon Dynasty featurette hostess, Kea Wong, heads to Japan to check out Yasuaki Kurata's stunt training school, the Kurata Action Club. These little travel vignettes Dragon Dynasty does are almost always solid, and this one is no exception, especially since this time around the emphasis is given to Kurata, as he drills his students to perfection on even the most simple things like drawing a sword.
A Look at Fist of Legend: As with DD's version of Tai Chi Master, director Brett Ratner and critic/historian Elvis Mitchell discuss the film. As with the review I did with that DVD, I must again ask why Brett Ratner? The guy does seem like a genuine fan, but what the hell does he have to do with the movie, or even martial arts films in general? Along with the recycled Chin Siu-Ho footage, it's getitng a bit disconcerting that Dragon Dynasty seems content to use a cookie-cutter approach to their DVDs, especially when it's a film of such magnitude as this one. Putting that aside, though, it's really great to finally see a quality US DVD version of this movie, and if you're a kung fu fan, this one's a no-brainer to buy.