Three Hong Kong Film Blu-rays, Including Horror-Comedy ‘Blue Jean Monster,’ Available in December From MVD and 88 Films

Three Hong Kong film Blu-ray Disc releases — The Blue Jean Monster, The Inspector Wears Skirts and the Long Arm of the Law 1 & 2 double feature box set — are available in December from MVD Entertainment Group and 88 films.

Due Dec. 26 is The Blue Jean Monster, a 1991 Hong Kong horror-comedy directed by Ivan Lai. It follows a police officer named Joe who has a happy life with his pregnant wife. One day he gets a tip that a bank is about to be robbed and rushes to it but is killed. Then the strangest thing happens, Joe becomes a vampire when a black cat jumps on his body and is hit by lightning. Can Joe take revenge on his killers? The limited edition includes a slipcase with new artwork from James Neal. Available in 2.0 Cantonese dual mono with English subtitles, the release also includes the extras “Man Made Monster,” an interview with assistant director Sam Leong, and the original Hong Kong trailer.

In The Inspector Wears Skirts (1988), also due Dec. 26, Madame Wu (Sibelle Hu) has been assigned to the Hong Kong Police Academy to train female Banshee Squad Members, right next door to the all-male Tiger Squad lead by Inspector Kan (Shui-Fan Fung). After internal conflicts and courting mishaps, the squad members are ordered to band together to round up a gang of thieves, but nothing goes as planned. From executive producer, Raymond Chow (Enter the Dragon) comes this action comedy that was produced and choreographed by Jackie Chan and lensed by Andy Lau. The film, remastered from the original camera negative, put in motion a successful franchise, launched the career of international action star Cynthia Rothrock and helped to establish the viability of female-driven action films in Hong Kong and worldwide. The limited edition features a slipcase with new artwork from Sean Longmore. Available in 2.0 Cantonese dual mono with English subtitles and 2.0 English dual mono, the film’s extras include audio commentary by Frank Djeng; “Shooting Her Shot,” an interview with Cynthia Rothrock; “The Director Wears Pants,” an interview with director Wellson Chin; “Top Squad” English opening and closing titles; the Hong Kong trailer; the English trailer; and a stills gallery.

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Available now is the double feature box set of The Long Arm of the Law (1984) and The Long Arm of the Law Part 2. Directed by Johnny Mak (To Be Number One) and his brother Michael Mak (Sex and Zen, Butterfly and Sword), respectively, the two movies are packed with Hong Kong-style action sequences; pioneered the two gun style popularized later by films like Hard Boiled, Face Off and The Matrix; and provide a prelude to what would eventually become a quadrilogy of martial arts thrillers. Extras include reversible sleeves featuring original artwork; new artwork by Sean Longmore; new 2K restorations of both films in the 1:85:1 aspect ratio; audio commentaries by Hong Kong film expert Frank Djeng; new interviews with actor Philip Chan; and new interviews with director Michael Mak.

Roku Channel to Stream Documentary Series ‘Fight Inc. — Inside the UFC’

Streaming platform Roku and martial arts organization UFC Nov. 9 announced plans to bring a three-part Roku original documentary series titled “Fight Inc. — Inside the UFC” to The Roku Channel.

“Fight Inc. — Inside the UFC” will celebrate three decades of the UFC and give viewers an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at pivotal moments at the UFC during the organization’s 30th anniversary year. The UFC officially celebrates its 30th anniversary Nov. 11, with UFC 295: Prochazka vs. Pereira live from Madison Square Garden in New York City.
 
“Fight Inc. — Inside the UFC” will provide fans with unprecedented access to UFC CEO Dana White and his team as they peel back the curtain for a look at the daily grind and endless problem-solving in the fight business, including rebuilding fight cards on the fly for major events, according to Roku. The series will also chronicle key storylines featuring the biggest stars in UFC, highlighted by:

  • former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Jon Jones, as he prepares to return after a three-year hiatus to face the weight of expectations and the demons of doubt;
  • the emergence of Sean O’Malley, who’s fighting for the bantamweight title and the chance to become the next UFC superstar;
  • Israel Adesanya and Alexander Volkanovski, both teammates and champions who dare to be great, with mixed results; and
  • female fighter Amanda Nunes as she headlines an event fraught with challenges for the UFC team.

 

“For 30 years, the UFC has enthralled millions of fans around the world with an athletic competition unlike any other,” Brian Tannenbaum, head of originals at Roku Media said in a statement. “Roku Original series ‘Fight Inc. — Inside the UFC’ commemorates three decades of this iconic organization, while also giving audiences an exclusive look into the UFC of today.”

“’Fight Inc. — Inside the UFC’ gives our audience a front row seat and unprecedented access into one the world’s most exciting sports,” Joe Franzetta, head of sports at Roku Media, said in a statement. “As we expand our Roku Sports offering, we look forward to bringing millions of viewers the opportunity to discover unique and exclusive programming from their favorite professional sports teams and leagues both within The Roku Channel and through the integrated viewing experiences only available on the Roku platform.”

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“We’re excited to team up with Roku to give UFC fans a rare look at this sport and this organization as we plan for our biggest events during a year filled with huge moments,” Craig Borsari, chief content officer and executive producer at UFC, said in a statement. “The storylines happening outside of the Octagon — the ones fans don’t often see or hear about — are compelling in their own right. We’re very proud of this project and we’re looking forward to debuting it on The Roku Channel next year.”

Martial Arts Action Film ‘The Postman Fights Back’ Due on Blu-ray Sept. 12 From MVD and 88 Films

The 1982 martial arts actioner The Postman Fights Back will be released on Blu-ray Disc Sept. 12 from 88 Films and MVD Entertainment Group.

In the film, when a courier (Ka-Yan Leung), 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 film also stars Chow Yun-Fat (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon), is directed by Ronny Yu (Bride of Chucky, Freddy vs. Jason) and comes from legendary Hong Kong studio Golden Harvest.

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Special features on the release, which contains both the Hong Kong and export cuts, include audio commentary with Frank Djeng and Ronny Yu; archival audio commentary with Stephan Hammond; an interview with Chow Yun-Fat; an interview with Leung Kar-Yan; a second interview with Leung Kar-Yan; an interview with Ronny Yu; and the original Hong Kong trailer.

Hong Kong Actioners ‘Magic Cop’ and ‘The Last Blood’ Due on Blu-ray From MVD and 88 Films

The Hong Kong actioners Magic Cop and The Last Blood are being released on Blu-ray Disc by 88 Films and MVD Entertainment Group.

Due July 25 is Magic Cop (1990). Mixing comedy, action and esoteric lore, the restored film from the golden age of Hong Kong cinema is making its Blu-ray debut. In the film, after seeing off hopping corpses in Mr. Vampire, Lam Ching-ying (Enter the Dragon, Eastern Condors) faces a new supernatural challenge: someone is using the living dead to smuggle drugs into modern day Hong Kong and only Lam’s Officer Feng — policeman and Taoist master — can stop them, proving the power of traditional Chinese magic in the process.  At age 17, star Lam Ching-ying became a stuntman and martial arts coach at the Shaw Brothers Studio, working on classics The Big Boss, Fists of Fury and Enter the Dragon. The film also stars Michael Miu (Black Ransom), Wu Ma (Police Story 2) and Billy Chow (Fist of Legend). Special features include audio commentary by Frank Djeng.

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Also known as Hard Boiled II, Police Protectors and 12 Hours of Terror, The Last Blood (1990) is being released Aug. 8, also for the first time on Blu-ray. A gunplay movie such as only Hong Kong filmmakers could produce and a full-tilt tribute to the heroic bloodshed of John Woo (Hard Boiled), The Last Blood is a pioneering mix of Buddhists and bullets. In the film, star Andy Lau is out for blood — literally. Terrorists have shot two people: their target was a Tibetan religious leader but they also wounded the girlfriend of Bee (Lau, God of Gamblers, Infernal Affairs). Since both victims share the same rare blood group, Bee joins the cops (headed by Alan Tam, Armour of God) racing to find a donor. But the terrorists haven’t finished yet. The film also stars Eric Tsang (The Eye) and Bryan Leung (Iron Monkey). The Last Blood is known in the United Kingdom as Hard Boiled II (most likely to boost video sales). However, the film has nothing to do with the John Woo film, considering it was made two years earlier. Special features include audio commentary by Hong Kong film expert Frank Djeng and the theatrical trailer.

Martial Arts Classic ‘Enter the Dragon’ Headed to 4K Ultra HD Disc and Digital Aug. 8

As part of the year-long celebration of the 100th anniversary of Warner Bros. Studio, Warner Bros. Discovery Home Entertainment will release the classic martial arts film Enter the Dragon for purchase on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Disc and digital Aug. 8.
 
Celebrating the 50th anniversary of its 1973 release, Enter the Dragon is credited with bringing interest in the Asian martial arts genre to mainstream Western cinema. Directed by Robert Clouse, the film stars Bruce Lee in his final completed film role. In addition to Lee, the film also stars John Saxon, Ahna Capri, Bob Wall, Shih Kein and introduces Jim Kelly. It was written by Michael Allin and produced by Fred Weintraub, Paul Heller, and Raymond Chow with a score by honorary Academy Award recipient Lalo Schifrin.

Lee plays a martial arts expert determined to take down the ruthless gang leader Han, who was responsible for the death of his sister. Recruited by an intelligence agency, he poses a student and attends a tournament at a remote island fortress. His goal is to gather evidence that will prove Han’s involvement with drug trafficking and prostitution. With one man focused on crime and the other bent on revenge, the two engage in the now-classic fight-to-the-death finish.

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In 2004, the United States Library of Congress selected the film for preservation in the National Film Registry for being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.” In 1999, Bruce Lee was listed in Time magazine’s “100 most influential people of the century.”
 
The Ultra HD Blu-ray Disc includes both the theatrical version of the film and the special edition of the film, which features three additional minutes of footage, and digital copies of each. Both the disc and digital release include the following legacy special features: an introduction by Linda Lee Cadwell and commentary by Paul Heller and Michael Allin.

‘Berry Gordy’s The Last Dragon’ Due on 4K UHD Steelbook Sept. 19

The music-infused martial arts film Berry Gordy’s The Last Dragon (1985) will be released in a limited edition 4K Ultra HD Steelbook Sept. 19 from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.

In the film, martial arts student Leroy Green (Taimak) is on a quest to obtain the elusive all-powerful force known as “The Glow.” Along the way, he must battle the evil, self-proclaimed “Shogun of Harlem” — a kung fu warrior also known as Sho’nuff (Julius J. Carry III) — and rescue a beautiful singer (Prince protégée Vanity) from an obsessed record promoter.

The film — which has been scanned from the original camera negative and presented in 4K resolution with Dolby Vision approved by director Michael Schultz — features a Motown soundtrack, including music by Stevie Wonder, The Temptations, Vanity and DeBarge performing their smash hit “Rhythm of the Night.”

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Special features on the 4K disc include fan commentary with comedian Amber Ruffin and author Lacey Lamar. Extras on the Blu-ray Disc include commentary with director Michael Schultz; a Return of the Dragon featurette; and the theatrical trailer.

Chinese Martial Arts Adventure ‘Sakra’ Due on Blu-ray and DVD June 13 From Well Go

Action icon Donnie Yen returns to the director’s chair for the first time in nearly two decades, while also playing the lead role, in the Chinese martial arts wuxia adventure Sakra, which debuts on Blu-ray and DVD June 13 from Well Go USA Entertainment.

The film is available now digitally.

Based on the classic wuxia novel Demi-Gods and Semi-Devils by Louis Cha (known worldwide by his pen name Jin Yong), Sakra stars Yen as Qiao Feng, respected leader of a roving band of martial artists called the Beggars’ Sect. After he is wrongfully accused of murder and subsequently exiled, Qiao Feng goes on the run in search of answers about his own mysterious origin story — and the unknown enemies working to destroy him from the shadows.

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With action direction by Kenji Tanigaki (Raging Fire, Enter the Fat Dragon, Snake Eyes), Sakra also stars Yuqi Chen, Eddie Cheung and Yase Liu.

Bonus content includes a “making-of” featurette.

 

Chilean Actioner ‘Fist of the Condor’ Due on Digital, Blu-ray and DVD May 23

The Chilean martial arts actioner Fist of the Condor lands on digital, Blu-ray and DVD May 23 from Well Go USA Entertainment.

The film features martial arts star Marko Zaror (John Wick: Chapter 4, Undisputed 3, Machete Kills) supported by a cast including Eyal Meyer (Too Late to Die Young), Gina Aguad (Mirageman), Fernanda Urrejola (Cry Macho) and Man Soo Yoon (Kiltro).

Written, edited and directed by Ernesto Díaz Espinoza (Bring Me the Head of the Machine Gun Woman, Santiago Violenta), Fist of the Condor follows a martial arts master as he battles the world’s greatest assassins to protect a sacred, ancient manual from falling into the wrong hands. In the film, upon the Incan empire’s fall to invading conquistadors, 16th-century Incan martial arts masters quickly hid a sacred manual containing the secrets behind their deadly fighting technique. But after centuries of careful safeguarding, the manual is again at risk of falling into the wrong hands, leaving its rightful guardian to battle the world’s greatest assassins to protect the ancient secrets within.

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Chinese Actioner ‘Young Ip Man’ on Hi-Yah! Streaming Service April 28, Disc and Digital May 16 From Well Go

Well Go USA Entertainment will debut the Chinese wuxia martial arts drama Young Ip Man exclusively on the martial arts streaming service Hi-Yah! on April 28 and for sale digitally and on Blu-ray and DVD May 16.

Directed by Li Liming (Ip Man: Kung Fu Master), the film features Zhao Wenhao (White Vengeance) in the title role, with Mou Fengbin (Dragon Hunter), Li Haoxuan, Shao Xia, Shi Yuqing (The Tattooist), Tong Xiaohu (Ip Man: Kung Fu Master) and Xi Erzhati also starring.

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In the film, after an escaped convict infiltrates his school and holds all the students for ransom, a young Ip Man confronts the kidnappers head on. However, he soon finds himself in the middle of a dangerous conspiracy involving local authorities as well as some of the last people he would ever have expected to be part of the heinous plot.

Q&A: Well Go’s Tony Vandeveerdonk Discusses the Indie’s Genre-Focused Niche

A more-than-34-year veteran of home entertainment industry, Tony Vandeveerdonk is EVP of Well Go USA Entertainment. He joined Well Go USA in 2007 and has helped turn the company into a top independent studio. Well Go USA releases films theatrically, on all digital platforms, and on 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray and DVD. Vandeveerdonk manages the company’s physical business, including working on new acquisitions.

Previously, Vandeveerdonk worked at Pioneer Entertainment for 15 years and managed its physical distribution to mass merchants Walmart, Target, Kmart and Best Buy. He’s credited with shaping and growing the anime business in the United States and has worked on countless anime properties. Franchises and brands he managed included “Pokémon,” the “Dragonball Z” movie, “Sailor Moon,” “Dragonball Z,” “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles,” “Sonic X,” “Dragonball GT” and “Degrassi.” 

Media Play News asked Vandeveerdonk about Well Go’s expanding niche in the international genre-focused content marketplace and what’s next for the company.

MPN: Tell us about the genesis of Well Go USA Entertainment and what the company has been known for over the years. 

Vandeveerdonk: We’re certainly known for releasing top genre films from around the world. In the early years we made a strategic decision to start acquiring some of the best action and martial arts action films from China, Hong Kong and Korea. Well Go made the leap to acquiring 2008’s now-legendary Donnie Yen movie Ip Man, and the rest is pretty much history. Our deep catalog contains some of the best iconic international films across several genres with several films crossing over to mainstream audiences.  

MPN: What’s Well Go up to now? How does Well Go acquire product? 

Vandeveerdonk: While we are still best known for our slate of top-notch Asian action movies, as well as international action and indie gems from around the world, we continue to strategically expand into other genres. Our 2023 slate will include several more English-language, Hollywood and original film productions that align well with our action, horror and other burgeoning genres. In terms of curating our collection of titles, we acquire films through long-term industry relationships we’ve nurtured over the years as well as by attending key film markets, such as Cannes, TIFF and EFM.

MPN: How many titles do you have in your catalog and how many do you generally release each year?

Vandeveerdonk: Currently, we have more than 450 titles in our catalog, which continues to grow in both depth and breadth. We have historically released more than 20 new movies per year, though we actually released more than 30 each of the past two years, due in part to third-party distribution deals that we’ve added to our slate.

MPN: What is Well Go’s footprint in the digital marketplace on streaming services or digital purchase and rental?

Vandeveerdonk: You can find Well Go USA content everywhere, from all standard streaming services and VOD platforms to our very own streaming and FAST (free, ad-supported TV) channel Hi-Yah!, which caters specifically to fans of martial arts and Asian action films across the U.S. and Canada. A particular film may not be available on all streaming services at the same time — such as when a streamer secures exclusive rights for a set time period — but they make the rounds to most streamers eventually, and each film does land on all major digital platforms simultaneously for rent and purchase. 

MPN: What is Well Go’s strategy on physical media (DVD, Blu-ray, 4K) releases?

Vandeveerdonk: Our physical business is still an important part of our total annual sales volume, and the mass-market retailer class of trade is a key component of our annual success on physical. We strive to curate and street exactly the right genre titles for our retail partners and our fans, meaning films that will appeal to not only our core fans and die-hard audiences but also to new customers (or “fans-in-training,” shall we say). In late Q4, we streeted new 4K titles including Train to Busan and the first three “IP Man” movies. We received support and placement in various sets at mass and early the POS numbers were strong.  The Train to Busan 4K release climbed all the way to No. 1 in horror on many of the large ecommerce sites. We’re excited about the level of demonstrated demand as we plan new 4K releases for 2023, the first being The Wailing and The Man From Nowhere.

MPN: What are the plans for 2023?

Vandeveerdonk: We just launched our new website which has been in development since the pandemic. We have several strong theatricals planned for the year starting with The Wandering Earth 2, a huge sci-fi action release hitting theaters including Imax on Jan. 22. Our digital team continues uber focused on growing our Hi-Yah! streaming channel with new movies added every Friday. This year Hi-Yah! will start programming more episodic content to both its SVOD offering, as well as its FAST channel. We understand the future growth and distribution of Hi-Yah! and FAST will be positively impacted by offering more exclusive premieres including special  events. 

Well Go USA is also producing and bringing to market several original film productions in 2023, including Christmas horror-thriller A Creature Was Stirring (starring Chrissy Metz, Annalise Basso, Scout Taylor-Compton and Connor Paolo) and rodeo heist pic Ride (starring C. Thomas Howell, Annabeth Gish and Forrie J. Smith alongside writer-director and lead Jake Allyn), which is currently in production. We are excited to continue our  investment in promising original film productions like these, while simultaneously maintaining our commitment to the growth and expansion of our digital footprint across new release and catalog titles alike. The physical media business — encompassing DVD, Blu-ray and 4K product — remains an integral part of our annual release strategy, and we expect that trend to continue well past 2023.