(Sammo Hung, Biao Yuen, et al / DVD / PG-13 / (1986) 2007 / Weinstein Company)
Overview: 'Shanghai Express' is a fun train heist adventure, featuring a cast of martial arts all-stars, about multiple cutthroat gangs plotting to rob the ultimate luxury locomotive and its wealthy passengers.
DVD Verdict: The Hong Kong tradition of releasing big, sometimes goofy, star-laden movies with semi (at the time) and now huge lead stars (think Jackie Chan) is shown here as no better example than 1986's aforementioned 'Shanghai Express.' Also known as 'Millionaires Express,' this wacky, over the top movie may not be essential viewing for the genre, but if you’re in the mood to turn off your brain and watch some slapstick comedy, impressive stunts, and a moderate amount of martial arts action, well, you've picked the right movie!
Although not completely a martial arts movie, 'SE' features a large cast of veteran actors – familiar to those who are aficionados – having a good time with a completely ridiculous storyline! Written, directed and co-starring Sammo Hung, this movie seems mainly to be a premise to throw in everything short of the kitchen sink. It’s a comedy, a western, a martial arts movie, a crime film, and an action flick. It moves at a frenetic pace, focusing on a gang of bank robbers aiming to make their get-away, a different gang of train robbers preparing for a big heist – on the same train the bank robbers intend to use for their escape, a third dastardly group that intends to blow up the rail line in order to strand passengers to the benefit of the economically depressed small-town nearby – and a bunch more goofy characters up to various flavors of no good!
Oh yeah, and there’s also a band of Japanese samurai somehow mixed up in all this! Not to mention a high-kicking martial arts practising American woman (Cynthia Rothrock) and Australian man (Richard Norton)!
There are some great stunts here, with people jumping, falling of being pushed into multi-storey falls from buildings, leaping from high in trees to fight, and even a few special effects (circa 1986, so don’t have overly high expectations) that are good for a laugh. This is a Widescreen Presentation (2.35:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:
Full-Length Audio Commentary by Bey Logan
Sammo Hung Featurette
Interview with actor Yuen Biao
Featurette/ Interview with actor Cynthia Rothrock
4 Deleted Scenes