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New Momentum Asia label unveiled

Last night a new label from Momentum was officially unveiled, Momentum Asia. Nat Tunbridge was in attendance for DVDTimes and brings you the following report...

Momentum Asia is a new DVD label from Momentum that will "...release the very best from both the Golden Age of Hong Kong cinema and the current New Wave of Asian film on DVD."

There will essentially be two 'strands' to the label, at least at the beginning: one will be 'The Shaw Brothers Collection', which will feature 30 classic SB films, "...all fully restored from their original masters and appearing on DVD in the UK for the first time." The other strand will contain a wide selection of contemporary Asian film including action, comedies, sci-fi epics, horror and so on. Both strands launch next year, February 21st, with three Shaw Brothers films; 'The Heroic Ones', 'Heroes Two' and 'Spiritual Boxer' and, in the 'contemporary' strand, Oxide Pang Chun's film of Alex Garland's book 'The Tesseract'. Future releases for this latter strand will include Casshern, Scent of the Night Flower, Born to Fight, Silver Hawk and The Bodyguard.

Richard Larcombe, MD of the PR Company The Associates, introduced a showreel of some of the films from the collection. Most amazing-looking film was, predictably 'Casshern', most outrageous was 'Born to Fight', a quite jaw-droppingly violent and nationalistic Thai action movie, the trailer of which had some of the most terrifying stunts I've ever seen, and of course 'The Heroic Ones'. If the picture quality of the Shaw Brothers stuff from the showreel is any indication of how the final product is going to look, there's going to be a lot of very happy HK action fans out there in 2005; it looked beautiful.

An official press release has also been issued, which reads like so...

MOMENTUM ASIA is a brand new DVD label from Momentum Pictures, a name that has fast become synonymous with the highest quality cinema and home entertainment. Launching on 24th November 2004, MOMENTUM ASIA will be dedicated to releasing the very best from both the Golden Age of Hong Kong cinema and the current New Wave of Asian film on DVD. The excitement will begin in earnest on 21st February 2005 with the release of THE TESSERACT, a dazzling adaptation of Alex Garland's bestselling novel by the acclaimed director of "The Eye", Oxide Pang Chun. This release will be accompanied by three UK premiere DVD releases from the legendary Shaw Brothers catalogue – THE HEROIC ONES, HEROES TWO and THE SPIRITUAL BOXER.
Representing the last of the great and rarely seen classics of Hong Kong cinema, Momentum Asia's THE SHAW BROTHERS COLLECTION will feature no less than 30 films, all fully restored from their original masters and appearing on DVD in the UK for the first time ever. In many cases, this represents the first opportunity that many UK viewers will have had to experience some of the greatest action films ever made. The reputation of the Shaw Brothers as the Kings of Asian Cinema remains undisputed to this day. Their legacy virtually defined Hong Kong cinema as we now know it and has had an undeniable influence on modern-day Hollywood blockbusters.

Future titles in The Shaw Brothers Collection will include DEATH DUEL, HUMAN LANTERNS and THE MAGNIFICENT TRIO in April 2005, while June 2005 sees the release of THE TRAIL OF THE BROKEN BLADE, THE MASTER and THE WATER MARGIN, followed by ALL MEN ARE BROTHERS, TWO CHAMPIONS OF SHAOLIN and INVINCIBLE SHAOLIN in August 2005.

In addition to The Shaw Brothers Collection, Momentum Asia will also be releasing the cream of the New Wave of Asian cinema on DVD, including Kazuaki Kiriya's epic sci-fi fantasy CASSHERN, the macabre and surreal horror-comedy SCENT OF THE NIGHT FLOWER (aka BUPPAH RAHTREE), the jaw-dropping action-thriller BORN TO FIGHT, directed by Panna Rittikrai, fight choreographer and co-writer of the critically acclaimed "Ong-Bak", the futuristic SILVER HAWK, starring Michelle Yeoh as the eponymous crime-fighting heroine, and the action-comedy, THE BODYGUARD, the highly anticipated directorial debut of "Ong-Bak" star, Petchai Wongkamlao.

Announcing the launch of the Momentum Asia label, Jon Sadler, Head of Marketing for Momentum Pictures said, "Acknowledging the tremendous build up of interest in modern and vintage Asian cinema in the UK, Momentum Pictures has made a corporate decision to enter this market with the Momentum Asia label. It is not something we have done half-heartedly or simply to cash in on a trend. We have acquired, in the Shaw Brothers catalogue, some of the greatest, as yet unreleased, classic Hong Kong movies ever made. In addition we have sought out and continue to seek out new, cutting edge productions from throughout the whole of Asia for theatrical and DVD release in the future. With Momentum Asia, we have committed ourselves to this area of the market and aim to be a driving force in introducing UK audiences to the best in Asian cinema for some time to come."

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