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Sometimes when you're going through a bargain rack something catches your eye, like a diamond in sea of cubic zirconium. But it's not every day that you find a 50-pack of pure, unadulterated awesomeness.

There I was, browsing through the racks of castoff DVDs at my local Big Lots franchise. Rummaging through the laughably bad VHS tapes and DVDs is one of my favorite things to do at the store. Almost every time I find something worth buying. Usually it's something unremarkable, like B grade 80s action movies, a forgotten sci-fi cult classic, perhaps mixed episodes from some random anime series. But all that I have ever found pales in comparison to the Martial Arts 50 Movie Pack.

I had stopped by the store while killing some time waiting for Land of the Dead to begin at a neighboring multiplex. I headed almost immediately to the movie racks, noticing that there was something different at the DVD section. There appeared to be some kind of box sets for sale, the first time that I could remember seeing DVD sets at that particular store. Curious, I picked one up. It was a fairly large for a DVD box set, and it was made of cheap cardboard. It had an unusually vague title, "Family Comedy". Above that, by a cheap looking logo, were the words, '50 Movie Pack'. I glanced at the back, and read the full list of movies. Hmm, the kind of stuff UPN wouldn't show on a slow day, the kind of dreck that Ted Turner wouldn't even buy the rights to, compiled together by some company that had scraped the bottom of the barrel of easily obtainable copy rights. Not even the kind of bad that you could get some kind of ironic enjoyment out of. I put it back and glanced at the rest of the titles. "Classics" (Read as "Old and bad"), "Martial Arts", "Drama", WAIT A MINUTE, HOLD THE PHONE, WTFOMGBBQ!!

My eyes shot back to the box. "Martial Arts", the words hanging in space over an open source picture of a man with nunchucks like they were suspended by the angels of cool. I had found a 50 pack of pure, B-Grade, 70s vintage whoop ass!!! I found myself giggling like a schoolgirl as I read the title list on the back. There I saw actors with names like Bruce Li and Bruce Le, 7 movies with Shaolin in the title, Holy Crap, 10 movies with Ninja in the title alone!! The only name that I recognized right away cemented the deal: The entire Streetfighter trilogy starring the immortal Sonny Chiba. (Making this my third DVD copy of his breakout movie)

If the idea of a 50-pack of randomly collected rare 70s Kung Fu films on DVD doesn't get your blood pumping, then I don't like you. If you're my kind of geek, I bet you want to know more about it so you can find your own copy.

The collection is produced by the cool cats over at TreeLine Films. It consists of 12 double sided DVDs, containing 2 or 3 movies per side. They are contained individually in thick paper sleeves with the disc number, titles, and brief summaries printed on each side. The summaries alone are worth the purchase, as they seem to have been written by a 6th grader who had the movie described to him during recess. For example, here is the unaltered summary of the first movie in the collection; a little C-grader called "Kung Fu Arts"

"The movie starts off with two roller-skating ninjas where one carries the cargo of a monkey with superpowers. The two ninjas are rivals, who belong to the Horse and Tiger Clans, who battle for control of the monkey who, if he eats the secret banana will become the ruler of the universe."

That may sound like the plot of the best movie ever made, but unfortunately, its a fabrication by some insane copywriter. All of the summaries seem to come from the Bizzaro universe, making picking a movie to watch an exercise in the surreal. I have a theory that some sneaky Dadaist wrote some of the better ones.

Although most of the films are unrated, the collection as a whole is rated for mature audiences. The content is pretty tame for the most part, but try remember that these are essentially all 70s exploitation films, so expect some occasional nudity and over the top violence.

This box set is a must own. I recommend checking flea markets, clearance stores, and anywhere bad movies are sold for this diamond in the ruff. If your a serious fan of the genre, you'll enjoy seeing Chow Yun Fat, Jackie Chan, and other stars back when they were still unknowns. If you like ninjas with REAL ULTIMATE POWER, then you'll enjoy seeing the scenes where ninjas flip out and kill people. But if you just plain like old, cheesy Kung Fu movies, and you understand the love one can feel for a bad movie, then your sure to get a lot of fun out of this unique collection of films.

For the curious, below is a full list of all 50 movies. Because of the cheap production values of the set and the fluid nature of international copyright laws, the list provided by the manufacture's website does not match the actual content of some editions. This list matches my personal copy of the set, your mileage may vary.

  • Kung Fu Arts
  • Shaolin Deadly Kicks
  • Bruce Lee: The Invincible
  • Killer of Snakes, Fox of Shaolin
  • Chase Step by Step
  • Deadly Duo
  • Ninja Champion
  • Spirits of Bruce Lee
  • City Ninja
  • The Four Shaolin Challengers
  • The Brave Lion
  • The Snake, The Tiger, The Crane
  • Black Fist
  • Head Hunter
  • The Black Godfather
  • Fist of Fear, Touch of Death
  • The Street Fighter
  • Return of the Street Fighter
  • Fighting Mad
  • Return of the Kung Fu Dragon
  • Image of Bruce Lee
  • Death Machines
  • Sister Street Fighter
  • Karate Kids USA
  • Death of a Ninja
  • Ten Fingers of Death
  • Ninja Empire
  • The Real Bruce Lee
  • Hands of Death
  • Shadow Ninja
  • Four Robbers
  • Weapons of Death
  • The Big Fight
  • Ninja Death I
  • Ninja Death II
  • Ninja Death III
  • Tiger Love
  • The Guy with the Secret Kung Fu
  • Kung Fu Kids Break Away
  • The Impossible Kid
  • Ninja Heat
  • Shaolin Invincibles
  • Shaolin Temple
  • Ninja: The Protector
  • Heroes of Shaolin Part 1
  • Heroes of Shaolin Part 2
  • Snake Fist Dynamo
  • The Master: Max
  • The Master: Out of Time Step

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