Long Arm of the Law was a popular series of violent Hong Kong action films, all four of them released between 1984 and 1990. Other than the titles and some of the people behind the camera, there’s no narrative connection between them. Each features different characters and a stand-alone story. This nicely packaged Blu-ray set serves up the first two.
The first film, Long Arm of the Law, is about a close-knit band of thieves who plan a huge heist from a high-end Hong Kong jewelry store. The task is made more arduous by trusting a conniving local gangster who’s actually a police informant. The heist itself is exciting, as is the brilliantly edited climactic shootout. Until then, the story moves in fits & starts. These are unapologetically bad guys, but not all that interesting when they aren’t bashing faces and shooting people. The scenes involving personal drama or quests to get laid are pretty meandering. Still, the film was influential and remains highly revered.
|Cheetos can be quite sensual in the right hands.
I’m not sure why the other two films in the series weren’t included. Maybe it’s a rights issue, maybe there’s another boxed set in the pipeline, or maybe they simply suck by comparison (I haven’t seen them, though Part III does feature the great Andy Lau, so it’s on my list). Whatever the case, these two films are brutal, blood-soaked fun for fans of classic Hong Kong action cinema. The set also comes with interesting bonus features for each film, which offer a lot of historical context.
TWO VERSIONS OF EACH MOVIE - Hong Kong & Export Cuts
SUPPLEMENTAL BOOKLET - Features a lengthy retrospective essay by film scholar Tom Cunliffe; cast, crew & Blu-ray credits.
REVERSIBLE COVERS - Featuring new and original artwork.
2-SIDED MINI POSTER - Featuring original Hong Kong artwork.
AUDIO COMMENTARIES - Frank Djeng provides commentaries for the Hong Kong cuts of each film.
LONG ARM OF THE LAW
NEW INTERVIEWS - Individual Q&A interviews with producer Michael Mak (brother of director Johnny Mak) & screenwriter Philip Chan.
VINTAGE INTERVIEWS - 1) with director Johnny Mak; 2) with screenwriter Philip Chan & action director Billy Chan.
LONG ARM OF THE LAW: SAGA II
NEW INTERVIEWS - Individual Q&A interviews with producer Michael Mak (who comes across as pretty impressed with himself), co-star Ben Lam, stuntman Stephen Chan & screenwriter Philip Chan.
HONG KONG & ENGLISH TRAILERS