Cult Kung Fu Classic ‘The Crippled Masters’ Due on Blu-ray and DVD July 23

Cult Kung Fu Classic ‘The Crippled Masters’ Due on Blu-ray and DVD July 23

The Crippled Masters, a cult classic Kung Fu film newly restored from original 35mm archival elements, will be available July 23, during Disability Pride Month, in a special collector’s edition on Blu-ray and DVD from Film Masters.

An unusual Kung Fu film from the grindhouse era, it was originally released internationally in Mandarin in 1979 as Tiān cán dì quē, and later released in the United States in 1982. Known for its inventive fight scenes, the film led to two sequels.

Directed by Chi Lo aka Joe Law (Magic Swords, Hong men xiong di, Hei lung), the film tells the story of two martial arts artists, one who has lost both arms and the other who has lost both legs, as they seek revenge against the villainous master who disabled them. Portrayed by Sung-Chuan Shen aka Jackie Conn and Chao-Ming Kang aka Frankie Shum — who in real-life are martial arts artists with disabilities — they endure rigorous training, forming a deep bond as they rely on resourcefulness and determination to master their unique fighting styles — and to avoid challenges from other martial artists and the master’s henchman. The film also stars Li Chung Keng, Chen Mu Chuan and Ho Chiu.

An early version of the restoration debuted on Turner Classic Movies for their “Disability in the Movies” schedule during Disability Pride Month in July 2023, programmed by disability advocate Lawrence Carter-Long, who also provides liner notes for this release. The print was provided from the collection of author and film curator Jack Stevenson in Copenhagen, Denmark, where it was scanned in 2K. The scan was from a rare theatrical 35mm release print before extensive restoration that included color grading by Marc Wielege.

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Special features include a new documentary from Ballyhoo Motion Pictures, Kings of Kung Fu: Releasing the Legends, narrated by author/researcher Chris Poggiali; an original raw scan of the film (SD); before/after examples of the restoration; liner notes provided by disability advocate Lawrence Carter-Long; commentary by Will Sloan and Justin Decloux of The Important Cinema Club; a compilation of Kung Fu trailers (SD) from Something Weird Video; a recut of the original theatrical trailer from restored elements; an original raw theatrical trailer; and a Mandarin-language track.

The Crippled Masters is presented with an aspect ratio of 2.35:1. Discs are region free and include English SDH, as well as a Mandarin track option. Audio is DTS-HD/Dolby AC3s.

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