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Blu-ray Review

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Burning Paradise (1994)


Starring: Willie Chi and Carman Lee
Distributor: Eureka Entertainment
RRP: £21.99


Certificate: 18
Release Date: 29 May 2023

Eureka Entertainment releases the 1993 Cantonese gothic horror-infused martial arts film, Burning Paradise, directed by Ringo Lam. Presented as part of the Eureka Classics range, the movie debuts in the UK on Blu-ray with a 2K restoration. The first print-run of 2000 copies feature a Limited Edition O-card Slipcase and a Collector’s Booklet with new writing by James Oliver. Burning Paradise is Lam’s only venture into the Wuxia (or Martial Arts Heroes) genre, but is considered to be one of his most noteworthy movies – arguably his best. It appears here for the first time since its release on VHS...

Fok Sai-yuk is travelling with his Buddhist master when they are forced to hide from the formidable army of the Manchu government, led my the sadistic Kung. Here they meet a young woman fleeing from a house of ill repute. When the master is seriously injured, before being heartlessly killed, Fok Sai-yuk fights fearlessly, but surrenders when the woman’s life is threatened. They are taken to a temple which serves more as a prison to countless Shaolin monks. Tortured and forced to fight against a brother monk, he is thrown into a pit of corpses and left for dead. But here he meets another master from his old temple, and they plan not only their own escape but the release of their fellow monks and – against almost insurmountable odds – the downfall of this corrupted temple.

This film has a lot going for it. The characters are well-rounded, the Kung Fu and sword-play is stunning, and there are wry humorous comments amid the horror. The sadistic horror sets the scenes (corpses heaped high in a pit or hanging outside the temple, and skeletal body parts sticking out of the ground as if the dead are rising from their graves), coming increasingly to the fore with decapitations and blades slicing cleanly through bodies during fight scenes – along with countless hidden death traps throughout the temple. The chief villain seems to be something more than human. A demon, perhaps. He adorns the walls with bloodthirsty, macabre paintings, and is seen to be killed, before pulling a lance from his body. This enjoyable film is very well shot, and set at a relentless pace, with no padding. Give it a go, you won’t be disappointed.

Extras include a brand new commentary by Asian film expert Frank Djeng; a new interview with actor Wong Kam Kong; an archival interview with Tsui Hark; Cantonese and English audio options; and newly translated English subtitles.


Ty Power

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