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The Smart Cavalier begins with the journey of Siu Ping and her grandfather. The pair travel across China with one aim…to marry Siu Ping. This may not sound too strange, but to win Ping’s hand in marriage a wannabe husband must defeat his potential future wife in a fight. An easy take I hear you say and that what most fit young men thought, but they don’t account for her skills in martial arts. Each challenge ends in victory for the granddaughter and it soon becomes apparent that she may never marry. That is until the arrival of Kam Fung Chi, who accidentally stumbles upon a fight with Siu Ping.

Smart Cavalier, The
Kam Fung Chi proves to be too powerful for his opponent, but before he gets the chance to introduce himself to his new wife, he realises that he has made a grave mistake and cannot marry his bride. Therefore he makes a quick escape with his friend. Not to be outdone Sui Ping and her grandfather follow in quick pursuit. Add in a tyrannical Warlord called Lo Lieh and not hard to envisage enough of a storyline to keep most kung fu fans happy.

Unfortunately this movie is unlikely to do just that. Taking into account the film’s age (made in 1977), I wasn’t expecting a movie as fluid as say Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, but I still ended up being disappointed and frankly bored for the duration of the movie. I have not seen many Old Skool King Fu movies, so I was intrigued to see what was on offer with this release. Let’s just say that I wasn’t too impressed. For a start the action is poorly edited with many of the fight scenes clunking along. One minute a person is in mid air, the next he is lying face down with no explanation as to how he got there! There are some humorous moments on offer throughout the movie, but they are few and far between. It may be that I have been spoilt with my previous viewings of Kung Fu movies. I am a huge fan of Bruce Lee and Jackie Chan films, so compared against those films The Same Cavalier is a poor second best. I am sure some people will enjoy this release, but sadly I am not one of them!

Smart Cavalier, The
Video
The Smart Cavalier is presented in widescreen 2.35:1. This transfer is a hard one to judge considering that the movie is over twenty years old. The print is in poor condition with specks appearing more often than not. At times the image can appear quite detailed, but for the majority of the movie it appears washed out and lacking in definition. The colour reproduction is not great either, with far too much aphesis on blues and greens. Grain levels however are kept to a minimum and compressions artefacts were surprisingly missing. This is a reasonable effort and is probably about as good as could have been expected.

Audio
Only a Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack on offer here. As with the visual side of the disc I didn’t really expect anything snazzy, however it is annoying that is no original language soundtrack is included. I hate watching dubbed movies and this is a seriously annoying dubbed version as well, with people’s voices reaching piercing levels. The dialogue is also not as clear as I would have hoped, and is sometimes hard to understand. On the subtitle front there are only English captions on offer which just goes to show that this release is not targeted at a large audience.

Smart Cavalier, The
Extras
If you are a fan of trailers then you will be content with the extras on this disc, otherwise you might as well skip this section. There are three trailers altogether. The first trailer is the original Hong Kong theatrical trailer for The Smart Cavalier which runs for over four and half minutes. The other trailers on offer are also directed by Joseph Kuo and are Unbeaten 8 (running time of two minutes) and Return of the 18 Bronzemen (running time of three minutes). Fans of the film would probably expect a lot more from the extras side of this release, but for my reviewing purpose I am glad there aren’t! Anymore material from this movie would have been just too painful to endure!

Overall
The cover of this DVD promotes the film as ‘Superb Old Skool kung Fu action’. Let’s just say I would hate to see an average or poor version then! The Same Cavalier has its good moments, but you will have to sit through an awful lot of badly edited and tedious action in the meantime. The video side of this disc is adequate and the audio is just about passable, but there is nothing outstanding which will draw the casual DVD buyer to it. Buy at you peril, or if you are mad enough to actually like the movie!  


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