Hong Kong Legends

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Hong Kong Legends
The standard Hong Kong Legends DVD border strip. The image is a composite of stills, including Bryan Leung in Legend of a Fighter, Brigitte Lin in New Dragon Gate Inn, Jackie Chan in Drunken Master and Jet Li in Hitman, plus the company logo.
Industry Video production and distribution
Founded 1999
Defunct 2007
Key people
Bey Logan
Brian White
Products DVDs
Website [1]

Hong Kong Legends was a United Kingdom DVD distribution company, based in Hertfordshire and operating from the UK and Australia between 1999 and 2007. Hong Kong Legends was initially part of Medusa Communications,[1] who, along with Soulblade bought up the UK distribution rights for film titles previously owned by Eastern Heroes label.

Hong Kong Legends released 101 Hong Kong classic films, primarily martial arts films and other action films. In preparing the DVDs, they gained access to the vaults of Hong Kong studios such as Golden Harvest, selecting the films with the highest quality prints available. Hong Kong Legends added audio commentaries most notably by Hong Kong cinema expert Bey Logan, conducted interviews with key actors, directors and other film crew, performed new translations for subtitles and cleaned up damage to the films.

Their catalogue of films included releases featuring Hong Kong stars such as Bruce Lee, Jackie Chan, Sammo Hung, Yuen Biao, Jet Li, Chow Yun-fat and Michelle Yeoh.

History[edit]

The Big Boss (Hong Kong Legends) - Left Original Footage and Right Re-mastered Footage.

In 2004, Contender Entertainment Group (the UK branch of Entertainment One) took over Medusa Communications, including both Hong Kong Legends, and their sister brand, Premier Asia.[2]

Brian White, who had been the Brand Manager and prime mover of the label, left Contender. He was also a close personal friend of Bey Logan. Logan decided it was time to leave the company and moved to the US, to begin working in a similar capacity for The Weinstein Company's East Asian DVD distribution company Dragon Dynasty. [3]

Shortly thereafter, Harvey Weinstein brought White on board at Dragon Dynasty as Vice President of Asian Brand Management and Post Production. With the loss of two of its biggest assets (Logan, for his popular commentaries; and White, who had been responsible for many of the exclusive extras), Hong Kong Legends had to cancel many of its planned releases. As no attempt was made to bring in replacement staff to perform audio commentaries, or to create bonus features, the release schedule dropped, ultimately spelling the demise of the company. Subsequent DVDs were released in so-called "Ultra Bit" versions, implying DVDs with improved bitrates or in otherwise "special editions". In fact, the releases were significantly more basic, the company having lost the rights for additional features other than trailers, and the bitrate was no higher than their previous releases.

The directors of Medusa went on to start a new company, Showbox Media Group.[4]

Beginning in September 2005, in co-operation with magazine / partwork publisher De Agostini, a selection of the better known Hong Kong Legends titles were released along with a fortnightly magazine giving facts and backgrounds on the featured film. The titles released included Fist of Fury, Drunken Master, Once Upon a Time in China, The Killer. The series continued for 45 issues.[5]

On November 5, 2007, Hong Kong Legends DVD label was discontinued, after Cine Asia DVD label was formed.

On March 18, 2011, Cine Asia announced a revival of the Hong Kong Legends titles under the banner of Cine Asia Presents Hong Kong Legends. The press release featured new artwork for The Big Boss, Fist of Fury, Game of Death, and Way of the Dragon.[6]

Releases[edit]

Films[edit]

Documentaries[edit]

  • An Introduction To Hong Kong Legends
  • Bruce Lee, The Legend & Bruce Lee: The Man and the Legend
  • Heromakers
  • Jackie Chan: My Story / My Stunts

Box Sets[edit]

  • Bruce Lee 30th Anniversary Commemorative
  • The Donnie Yen Collection
  • The Epic Action Collection
  • The Fantasy Swordplay Collection
  • The Jackie Chan Collection
  • The Jackie Chan Project A Collection
  • The Jet Li Collection
  • The John Woo Collection
  • Manga in Motion
  • The Michelle Yeoh Collection
  • The Police Story Double Disc Set
  • Tsui Hark's Once Upon a Time in China Trilogy

Release information taken from various sources, including the now defunct official Hong Kong Legends website,[7] IMDB [8] and online stores such as HKFlix.[9]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Press Releases > Egovision". Elemental Communications. Retrieved 2010-01-22. 
  2. ^ "Entertainment One - Our Business". Contender Entertainment Group. Retrieved 2008-05-16. 
  3. ^ "THE WEINSTEIN COMPANY BUILDS A "DRAGON DYNASTY"". Press Release. Movie City News. Retrieved 2010-01-22. [dead link]
  4. ^ "Showbox Media Group". About Us. Retrieved 2008-05-16. 
  5. ^ "Deagostini". Hong Kong Legends. Archived from the original on 2008-02-12. Retrieved 2008-05-16. 
  6. ^ "Cine Asia Presents Hong Kong Legends". Press Release. Retrieved 2011-03-18. 
  7. ^ "Hong Kong Legends". Hong Kong Legends. Retrieved 2010-01-22. 
  8. ^ "Hong Kong Legends [gb]". Entry for film distributor. IMDb. Retrieved 2010-01-22. 
  9. ^ "HKFlix". Search results for Hong Kong Legends. HKFlix. Retrieved 2010-01-22.