>> The Lady Hermit (2011)

Title: The Lady Hermit

Genre: Action/Adventure, Classics

Starring: Pei-pei Cheng, Lieh Lo, Szu Shih, Hsieh Wang, Mien Fang

Director: Meng Hua Ho

Studio: Funimation Prod

Runtime: 105 minutes

Release Date: February 15, 2011

Format: DVD

Discs: 1

MPAA Rating: NR

Rating: 3.93 (out of 4.00)

Grade: A-

The Lady Hermit, or Zhong kui niang zi, is a 1971 Shaw Brothers film out of Hong Kong.  It stars Cheng Pei-pei as the Lady Hermit, a mysterious martial arts master who has gone into hiding after suffering defeat at the hands of the Black Demon, and Shih Szu as Chin Tsui-peng, a young fight who seeks out the Lady Hermit to train her.  The story follows both women, Chin Tsui-peng as she seeks out the Lady Hermit, falls for Wu Chang-chun, becomes a student and a master, and sets about bringing down the Black Demon, and Lady Hermit as she struggles with the decision to remain hidden or not, to take on a student, and to finally face the Black Demon herself.  Filled with fantastically choreographed fight scenes, this film doesn not disappoint if what you are after is an old fashion kung fu flick.  It is also a beautiful film to watch for its set pieces and the framing of its shots.  The film is also rare in that it has female leads playing the parts of student and master, roles often left to men.

The movie looks great on this DVD release from Funimation, who seem to be re-releasing many of the Shaw Brothers films, but of course being from a time before such considerations it lacks in extra features.  It has Mandarin and English language tracks, as well as English subtitles, scene selection, and a slew of previews of other Funimation releases, both old and new.  Despite the lack of extras, just getting the movie looking as great as it does is an achievement.  The picture is crisp and clear, as is the audio.  The subtitles, as is often true, are more correct than the English dubbing, though it is interesting to see/hear the changes, such as Black Demon to Black Knight.  But the film is so well made and shot, that you almost don't need the dialogue to follow and enjoy the movie.

Overall, if you love Hong Kong films, this makes a fine addition to your collection, if not a requirement.  If you are looking for an introduction to Hong Kong films, this makes for a great place to start as it is still a masterpiece work of the art of kung fu wuxia.

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