Return of Kung Fu Trailers of Fury Blu-ray Review: Conceived in Hell, Made in Hong Kong

‘Following on the high-kicking heels of last year’s Kung Fu Trailers of Fury release, the folks at Severin Films have once again sunk their iron fists into the vaults in order to bring us another gathering of jaw-dropping previews from some of the most mind-bending movies never seen by American audiences. And, honestly, this might be the best way to see some of the films advertised in this 134-minute compilation, which brings both disbelieving viewers and diehard fans alike a total of nearly three-dozen trailers for Hong Kong martial arts flicks (or at least movies made in Hong Kong that feature some sort of martial arts action in them, i.e. wretched comedies with pointless fight sequences).

If you were anything like I was as a young lad (and chances are you’re in therapy now too because of it), you may recall the bewildering delight one frequently encountered upon diving into a wild HK film. Bizarre plot twists. Awkward attempts at humor. Outrageously illiterate English subtitles that were burned in (and usually cropped off) and housed directly below the Chinese subs, which sometimes even went so far (or so low) as to ineptly translate dialogue that was being spoken in English. Added up, these consistent inconsistencies made for truly unique experiences ‒ and here you can enjoy the fringe benefits without actually having to burn out any additional brain cells in the process.

Although, it should be stated, you most assuredly will melt a brain circuit or two viewing Return of Kung Fu Trailers of Fury. Fair warning, kids.

Culled from the darkest recesses of tastefully constructed works of celluloid, these 35 original trailers from Hong Kong explore many of the various subgenres bad movie aficionados have grown to love so over the years. Witness Chuck Norris’ shameless high-flying leap into the air for a quick paycheck (and brief vacation) in Yellow Faced Tiger (better known in the US as Slaughter in San Francisco). Or the blatant theft of Ennio Morricone’s timeless spaghetti western music, as heard in several titles, including The Young Avenger ‒ which, I must confess, is one of the few titles out of the entire lot that I have actually had the ambivalent delight of seeing in its entirety.

And wait until you see the preview for the animated wonder The Story of Chinese Gods. You’ll feel like you’ve just dropped the wrong sugar cube in your tea!

Featuring many icons from the golden age of Hong Kong cinema such as Angela Mao, Bruce Li, Bolo Yeung, and Roy Chiao (just to name a few), Return of Kung Fu Trailers of Fury hits Blu-ray and DVD from Severin Films. Each trailer has been masochistically scanned in 2k is presented in what appears to be its proper aspect ratio, with optional English subtitles included to translate the Chinese-only titles that pop up (most of the dialogue is already translated ‒ properly or otherwise ‒ thanks to the burned-in subs I previously mentioned). Some trailers show more wear than others (one even has a bizarre subliminal message scratched into it), but I think judging the overall quality of a heap of previews is just about as silly as taking these movies seriously in the first place.

Just one look at the outlandish antics depicted in the less-than-subtle and completely over-the-top James Bond “homage” Silent Romance ‒ which could very well be the most spectacular trailer in the whole mix, complete with star-throwing, flame-flinging, ninja butt skiing action ‒ and you too will be sold. Or confused, one or the other.

Providing you don’t burn out completely watching this assembling the first time around, Severin has opted to include an interesting extra for this special release: a full-length audio commentary. Hosted by Films of Fury: The Kung Fu Movie Book writer and all-around HK film enthusiast Ric Meyers, the wildly informative and greatly amusing commentary also includes contributions by New York Asian Film Festival’s own Frank Djeng, martial arts instructor Greg Schiller, and Rick Stelow of Drunken Master Video. But if you think these four gents were fully prepared for the onslaught, just wait: there’s a title included here which even they couldn’t handle!

Break out whatever adult beverages or substances you enjoy the most, gather your friends, and find out how many will remain in your loyal service after witnessing all of the pitfalls, pratfalls, perils, and pleasures that await you in Return of Kung Fu Trailers of Fury. You’ll thank me later. Honest.


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Luigi Bastardo

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