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Killer Constable (1980) (DVD) (Hong Kong Version) DVD Region 3

Chen Kuan Tai (Actor) | Jason Pai (Actor) | Ku Feng (Actor) | You Cui Ling (Actor)
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Killer Constable (1980) (DVD) (Hong Kong Version)
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Customer Rating: Customer Review Rated Bad 6 - 6 out of 10 (1)
All Editions Rating: Customer Review Rated Bad 8 - 8 out of 10 (2)

YesAsia Editorial Description

Kuei Chih Hung, famous for his contemporary crime films, made one period action drama in his filming career, namely Killer Constable (1981). His 1975 movie The Tea House, starring famous Shaw Brothers actor Chen Kuan Tai, stunned many Hong Kong movie fans with its violence. Killer Constable reunited the two in a uniquely tension-filled action movie. Chen portrays a dedicated ancient court constable, nicknamed "Killer Constable" due to his valiance, who is after the head of a bandit (Guk Fung). Our hero knows too well that a vigorous fight with the villain awaits him in his relentless pursuit...
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Technical Information

Product Title: Killer Constable (1980) (DVD) (Hong Kong Version) 萬人斬 (1980) (DVD) (香港版) 万人斩 (1980) (DVD) (香港版) 萬人斬 (DVD) (香港版) Killer Constable (1980) (DVD) (Hong Kong Version)
Artist Name(s): Chen Kuan Tai (Actor) | Jason Pai (Actor) | Ku Feng (Actor) | You Cui Ling (Actor) 陳觀泰 (Actor) | 白彪 (Actor) | 谷峰 (Actor) | 尤翠玲 (Actor) 陈观泰 (Actor) | 白彪 (Actor) | 谷峰 (Actor) | You Cui Ling (Actor) 陳観泰(チェン・クアンタイ) (Actor) | 白彪(バク・ビウ) (Actor) | 谷峯(クー・ホン) (Actor) | You Cui Ling (Actor) Chen Kuan Tai (Actor) | Jason Pai (Actor) | Ku Feng (Actor) | You Cui Ling (Actor)
Director: Kuei Chih Hung 桂治洪 桂治洪 桂治洪(クイ・チーホン) Kuei Chih Hung
Release Date: 2007-06-07
Language: Mandarin
Subtitles: English, Traditional Chinese
Country of Origin: Hong Kong
Picture Format: NTSC What is it?
Aspect Ratio: 2.35 : 1
Widescreen Anamorphic: Yes
Sound Information: Mono Audio
Disc Format(s): DVD
Region Code: 3 - South East Asia (including Hong Kong, S. Korea and Taiwan) What is it?
Duration: 92 (mins)
Publisher: Intercontinental Video (HK)
Package Weight: 120 (g)
Shipment Unit: 1 What is it?
YesAsia Catalog No.: 1004861805

Product Information

* Screen Format: 2.35:1(Anamorphic Widescreen)
* Sound Mix: MONO
* Special Features:
- 本片預告 Trailer
- 精選猛片預告 Other Releases
- 劇照 Color Stills
- 原裝海報 Original Poster
- 電影簡介 Production Notes
- 演員/導演簡介 Biography & Selected Filmography

導演:桂治洪
Director: Kuei Chin Hung

本片是桂治洪導演生涯中唯一古裝武俠作品,格局精奇,拍出肅殺和深沉的氣氛。故事講述,清朝光緒年間,守衛森嚴的大內金庫,竟遭悍匪劫去黃金二萬兩;外號「萬人斬」的總捕頭冷天鷹(陳觀泰 飾)受命於三個月內,緝捕匪首方逢甲(谷峰 飾)歸案。方逢甲佈署大批匪徒喬裝村民,向冷天鷹施以突擊,冷在猝不及防下終告受傷……

Kuei Chih-hung was famous for his modern day crime thrillers, his horror flicks, and even his comedies, but many feel this was his best kung-fu film. Many also consider this real life martial arts champion Chen Kuan-tai’s best performance. As a deeply, even obsessively, dedicated Chief Court Constable, he illuminates the screen with fighting skill and emotional passion. Award winning actor Ku Feng is his equal, playing an especially homicidal robber-chief who thinks nothing of throwing all his men at their relentless pursuer.
Additional Information may be provided by the manufacturer, supplier, or a third party, and may be in its original language

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YumCha! Asian Entertainment Reviews and Features

Professional Review of "Killer Constable (1980) (DVD) (Hong Kong Version)"

July 20, 2007

Killer Constable is a film where the hero is an unthinking cruel zealot and where his prey turns out to be loving fathers and starving citizens. It completely commits itself to recreating a time of famine and duplicity where the rigid and unfeeling application of law and order, as decided by the wealthy, leaves the people exercising it as simple pawns and stooges. This depth of setting makes the movie surprisingly good and can create many a modern day parallel in the viewer's mind with its dramatic message of a political class which uses the security force/police as its tool for keeping the people oppressed and itself enriched. Such a sense of social resonance is probably why I enjoyed it so, but the film is also brave enough to start affairs with a hero whose brutality is cloaked by chivalry and his uniform and to encourage the audience to accept his actions as the necessary shock and awe to handle the scum he encounters. We are then shaken out of this identification and our education as to what is really going on follows the same path as that of the titular lead character. This is quite a feat for a martial arts adventure and the success of the Killer Constable is doubly rewarding for its ambitiousness. In terms of quality, Killer Constable starts out well and becomes supreme.

The story begins with the rather tubby Empress Dowager of the Manchus turning up her nose at an impressive banquet designed to take her mind off the fact that some unknown men have made it off with ten million taels from the royal treasury. To placate her majesty, her trusted lieutenant Lord Liu suggests that they send their most dedicated crime fighter off to recover the gold and dispatch the villains. We are then introduced to Leng, the aggressive cop of the title, who dispenses with a siege of some escaping bandits, single-handedly ensuring all of his suspects are judged by his sword rather than the courts. His brother witnesses this and remarks to him that he does not want to help in such summary justice. Leng is dispatched to recover the gold and given 10 days to do so. He picks up the trail at the local mill and after torturing the family there, they recover some of the gold and leave the wife a widow. Next they find two more of the gang hiding out in a temple, but the gang get the jump on Leng and his men and crucify one of his underlings. Leng chases them to the seaside where his plans are again complicated by another ambush which kills all but two of his posse but yields some more villains' heads and gold bars. Leng next finds that the gang have hired an assassin and more carnage follows. Ambushed again, Leng is saved by his brother as the rest of his men bite the dust, and he finds himself rescued to the chief of the gang's blind daughter. When the chief returns, Leng learns some truths and understands who his real enemy is.

Killer Constable is never less than enthralling with superb set-piece fights and dramatic intrigue. It's a mistake to write it off as a typical Shaw Brothers wuxia as the film is a real triumph of craft with excellent location shooting, interesting set design, a fine script and impressive direction. The set-pieces in the film between Leng and his assorted enemies never duplicate one another in the respect of location or action and the movement between fights allows the story to breathe and the revelations in the plot to happen naturally. This is essential to the film as it allows the twists and turns to not seem too extraordinary but at the same time to not lessen the novelty of them. For instance, the fight between Leng and the assassin occurs on a giant sundial, and this imaginative setting means that the inevitable fight between the two is given a freshness lacking in other films of the studio's output. The pace of the film is exemplary and the plethora of fights never drag because the action is joined up through the intelligent writing and the resourceful mise-en-scene. The portrayal of Leng as a far from admirable man and the choices to show the suffering of the Han people mean that the audience never loses sight of the milieu of the film despite their enjoyment of the action, and this ensures that when the real villain is revealed, we are given added incentive to support Leng's final actions, even if we were horrified at his barbarity before.

The chief reason for the success of Killer Constable is not the action or the acting: it is the handling of all the elements that make this film such a rich and rewarding entertainment. I can't say that Chen Kuen-Tai is anything other than competent as the lead but the rest of the cast is handled well whether their roles are cameos, supporting or villainous, and this sure touch is extended to the action which is often unremarkable as physical feats, but compelling as an agent of the drama. The orchestration of the lighting, the composition of the frame, the tempo created through the editing, and the mixture of studio and location shooting are all done superbly. As a Shaw Brothers film, this does seem to have benefited from above average production values but it is in the direction that these resources are made to count alongside the novel story. Killer Constable is a bit of a miracle in terms of mise-en-scene and dramatic quality and that is largely the fine work of its director, Kuei Chih-Hung. He even ensures that the final scene has an added impact as vengeance is satisfied even if the vulnerable are left in the rain. This is one of the best films Shaw Brothers ever made, yep that good.

DVD
IVL continue their tradition of restoring these great films, only to couple them with dodgy transfers. Visually this is almost acceptable because of the lack of alternative presentations of this fine film but the transfer is again a bodged PAL-NTSC conversion with motion shake and combing visible. The transfer is also soft, shows saw-toothing effects and the colour has been boosted a little too far. The contrast is at least well done and I suppose once you re-calibrate your TV you will be able to enjoy the movie even if the conversion issues remain.

The audio is the original Mandarin mono and the sound lacks any pops or crackle to distract you. It does sound a little flat and equalised but dialogue is always clear and audible and as a package this is preferable to artificial surround mixes or unrestored audio. The English subtitles are not the best in terms of grammar, clarity of translation or typing but they are generally ok.

The package of extras includes the original poster art and stills from the film included in photo galleries, functional and selective biographies for key cast and the director and a two sentence long section of "Production Notes". The biography for the director reveals that he once worked as assistant to Chang Cheh and the maestro of HK cheese, Ho Meng Hwa. Somewhat better is the inclusion of the original trailer for the film which gives a real sense of how much has been restored here when compared with the re-release trailer. There are also trailers for the DVD releases of Chang Cheh's Men From the Monastery and Shaolin Martial Arts, along with Opium and the Kung Fu Master and Corey Yuen's Hero.

Overall
A gory, dramatic action thriller which mixes secrets, intrigue, and politics with fine swordplay. This release is so-so visually, but about average for these IVL releases, and if you like the more dramatic films of Chang Cheh or the more earthbound films of Chor Yuen, then you will need to own a copy. Personally, I loved it.

by John White - DVD Times

Feature articles that mention "Killer Constable (1980) (DVD) (Hong Kong Version)"

This original content has been created by or licensed to YesAsia.com, and cannot be copied or republished in any medium without the express written permission of YesAsia.com.

Customer Review of "Killer Constable (1980) (DVD) (Hong Kong Version)"

Average Customer Rating for this Edition: Customer Review Rated Bad 6 - 6 out of 10 (1)
Average Customer Rating for All Editions of this Product: Customer Review Rated Bad 8 - 8 out of 10 (2)

Kevin Kennedy
See all my reviews


August 25, 2015

This customer review refers to Killer Constable (1980) (DVD) (Thailand Version)
1 people found this review helpful

Wuxia film noir Customer Review Rated Bad 10 - 10 out of 10
In director Kuei Chih Hung's "Killer Constable", China has become the sick man of Asia under the reclusive Qing regime of the Empress Dowager. Bandits have plundered the government treasury; two million catties of gold are missing. The infuriated Empress Dowager demands that the gold be recovered and the bandits arrested or killed within ten days. There's only one man for the job: Leng Tian Ying (Chen Kuan Tai), the capitol city's top constable, known as the 'killer constable' for his propensity to kill first and ask questions later.

Constable Leng travels the terribly impoverished countryside in pursuit of the thieves. As he nabs (and implacably slaughters) bandit after bandit, he finds that each was paid only a small amount of gold, and learns that their thievery was the only means available to them to provide for their families. Leng is unmoved by their tales of woe and moves on in his relentless, bloody pursuit of the bandits' honcho Fang Feng Jia (Ku Feng).

When he catches up to Fang, he finds that the top bandit, too, has only a small share of the gold, needed to support his blind daughter (Yau Chui Ling). Before Fang dies from wounds inflicted by Leng, he reveals to the constable that his gang of bandits were mere pawns of the rot lying at the heart of the Qing regime. Constable Leng then is impelled to root out this infection in the regime he is sworn to defend.

Chen Kuan Tai is convincingly brutal as the killer constable. The action sequences, with the lone exception of a scene involving an unimpressive ring of fire, are dazzlingly effective. The film derives a surprising depth from the political dimensions of its story, which are never didactic, but instead emerge naturally as the constable traverses the country. Perhaps the most remarkable aspect of the film is the manner in which director Kuei creates moments of great tension through chilling lighting, lensing, and settings -- techniques he mastered in his many horror films. Very highly recommended.

[Please disregard my 2008 review of this movie, which must have been written in a moment of temporary insanity.]
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Kevin Kennedy
See all my reviews


July 12, 2008

A good story mishandled Customer Review Rated Bad 6 - 6 out of 10
"Killer Constable" has a great story to tell: An implacable, ruthless constable on an imperial mission, who plays cop, judge, and executioner for the bad guys he encounters. Chen Kuan Tai's performance is effective, if unnuanced. The story is undermined at almost every turn by inept filmmaking, a big surprise to me considering how much I liked "The Tea House" from the same director.
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