There’s been no shortage of martial arts cinema coming from Eureka Entertainment over the past 18 months, and among the label’s latest titles is the obscure Golden Harvest classic, Slaughter in San Francisco, also known by its original and very dated title of Yellow Faced Tiger – available on Blu-ray from February 19th.
Martial arts and “good old fashioned” American justice join forces in the “Bay City” for this modest action feature which capitalizes both on the success of Bruce Lee, in the wake of his untimely passing, and Dirty Harry (1974). For what is a rather basic genre feature, Slaughter in San Francisco still manages to be a fun and enjoyable experience, mostly attributed to the film’s fast pace and simplistic plot. Corrupt cops and the city’s criminal kingpin, played by Chuk Norris, are the detriment of our hero, Don Wong, an honest patrolman who is literally fighting for justice.
San Francisco’s prominent Asian population and influence serve the bayside city well as the film’s central location. The various fight sequences and Wong’s travels take the audience on a quaint walking tour of the city and its outskirts, with all its beautiful gardens and astoundingly steep streets on full display. If the story isn’t to your liking, the film’s gorgeous on-location photography and 70s aesthetic will at least deliver some chill vibes.
Naturally with this era of foreign filmmaking, the dubbing leaves a lot to be desired, and while the poor syncing is jarring initially, it’s easy to embrace as a fun quirk, and Chuck’s acting has never been better! Whether he’s barking out orders while donning Ray-Ban sunglasses and a fur coat or watching his underlings practicing karate while eating an unnaturally large apple, our ginger antagonist is “all in”, and his epic showdown with Wong does not disappoint.
- Limited Edition O-Card slipcase featuring new artwork by Sam Gilbey [2000 copies]
- Original Mandarin mono audio
- “Classic” English dubbed mono audio
- Optional English Subtitles, newly translated for this release
- Brand new feature length audio commentary by Asian film expert Frank Djeng & Michael Worth (Hong Kong theatrical)
- Brand new feature length audio commentary by Mike Leeder & Arne Venema (US export version)
- New featurette by martial artist and actor Michael Worth
- A Limited-Edition collector’s booklet featuring new writing by James Oliver [2000 copies]
Mike Leeder and Arne Venema deliver the low-down on all things Chuck in the 40+ minute featurette, Karate Cowboy, which takes viewers through a timeline of the legend’s career spanning from the late ‘60s to the modern day. Not only do the lively pair of fans discuss Norris’ film contributions, but they also detail his influences on other action stars, short-lived cartoon show, and action jeans! For those looking for additional information regarding Slaughter in San Francisco, be sure to listen to Leeder and Venema’s commentary which is rife with trivia. If you’re curious about the Mandarin version of this film, but don’t feel like sitting through the action again, a second commentary provided by Frank Djeng and Michael Worth is recommended listening. The pair are very energetic and fun to listen to as they take viewers through the Hong Kong cut of “Slaughter” which includes 18 additional minutes. As Djeng and Worth are local to the San Francisco area, they’re also great resources on the film’s shooting locations, a subject that’s further explored in the featurette Return to Slaughter which includes an interview with actor Don Wong. – by Hannah Lynch
VIDEO AND AUDIO
Chuck Norris may have tried to block the film’s release back in the day, but there was no stopping Eureka from giving this kung fu classic its very first Blu-ray edition. Presented from a pristine 2K restoration of both the Hong Kong theatrical and US export cuts, the 2.39:1 image offers strong colour with nice texture that’s consistent throughout. Both the English and Mandarin Mono 2.0 LPCM tracks are very flat given the film’s limited sound design, but they certainly don’t lack volume.
Slaughter in San Francisco is the perfect movie to put on if you wish to numb the burden of reality. Eureka Entertainment have fully embraced the low-budget classic with a Limited Editon that not only celebrates the genre, but of course a younger Chuck Norris on the cusp of film stardom.
SLAUGHTER IN SAN FRANCISCO
(1974, director: Lo Wei)
direct blu-ray screen captures