COLUMN: Aaron’s Backstage Pass: Martial Arts Double Feature: Hapkido/Lady Whirlwind DVD Review

Created: 04/25/2014 12:59 PM By: Aaron Chalich

Photo courtesy of Shout Factory
Photo courtesy of Shout Factory

This past weekend I sat down and watched a review copy of Shout Factory’s "Martial Arts Double Feature Hapkido/Lady Whirlwind" on DVD, and it was awesome. 

I am a huge fan of marital arts films, and both of these films are packed full of nonstop action and fighting.  It seems like every five minutes or so there is a huge fight taking place in both films, and I think it’s great.  The whole reason we watch martial arts films is for the amazing and exciting fight scenes.

The thing that really makes "Hapkido/Lady Whirlwind" very unique is that the main character in both films is a woman, and she is the hero. The actress’ name is Angela Mao Ying, and she is amazing. I really don’t know of too many martial arts films that have a female as the hero.  I’m sure there is a bunch, but I can’t think of any.

"Hapkido" and "Lady Whirlwind" were both released in 1972, and for the first time, they are together on one DVD.

I really thought that stories for each film were pretty good, and like I said earlier, are filled with fast-paced and exciting fight scenes.

"Hapkido," was directed by Huang Feng and stars Angela Mao Ying, Carter Huang, Pai Ying, Whang In Sik, Yamane Teruo, and Wei Ping. 

Three students are expelled from Korea, and they move to China to start a new Hapkido martial arts school.  When they arrive in town and open their school, a rival martial arts school tries to shut them down.  Now the three must try and stop the other school’s attacks so they can peacefully teach their art of Hapkido.

"Lady Whirlwind" was directed by Huang Fend and stars Angela Mao Ying and Pai Ying.

It’s about a woman named Tien played by Angela Mao Ying, who is searching for a man, named Ling who caused her sister’s death.  Ling was supposed to have been killed and Tien’s sister committed suicide because she was in love with him and was heartbroken when she learned of his death.  Tien finds Ling who tells her that he needs to take down a leader of a gambling and opium organization, and he needs her help.  She agrees to help him, but tells Ling that when they are done she will get her revenge on him.

Both films look and sound great.  The quality of both films is amazing.  Everything is sharp and crystal clear and is in anamorphic widescreen (2.35:1).

One really cool thing is that both films have two audio tracks. One of the tacks is in English, and the other track is in the original Mandarin.  You can also choose to have subtitles on the screen.  I chose to watch both films in Mandarin with the subtitles and that was really cool.

There are some really cool features.  First of all, when you first start "Hapkido/Lady Whirlwind,” you can choose which film you want to watch.  Then at any time, you can come back to the selection menu and watch the other film.

The special features were really fun to watch and very interesting and they include:
Hapkido – Theatrical Trailers & English opening titles.
Lady Whirlwind – Theatrical Trailers, English opening titles, and interview with Angela Mao Ying, Carter Wong, Sammo Hung, and Yuen Biao.

Overall, I really enjoyed Shout Factory’s "Martial Arts Double Feature: Hapkido/Lady Whirlwind" a lot.  I enjoyed all of the martial arts and action, and I think the stories were pretty good.  The quality of films, look and sound amazing, and the special features were really entertaining to watch. 

If you are a fan of martial arts films, then I would highly recommend that you check out "Hapkido/Lady Whirlwind."

"Hapkido" and "Lady Whirlwind" are not rated.

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Aaron Chalich is a entertainment columnist.