Kung Fu
The Complete Second Season

Starring: David Carradine, Keye Luke and Philip Ahn
Warner Home Video
RRP: $39.98
Certificate: Not Rated
Available 18 January 2005

Set in the American Southwest during the 1870s - and in flashbacks, China - this series follows Kwai Chang Caine, Schooled in the spirit-mind-body Shaolin priesthood by the blind, avuncular Master Po and the stern yet loving Master Kan. Caine fled China on a $10,000 murder bounty, and continues his search in America for his half brother, Danny Caine. He is sought by Chinese assassins and American bounty hunters. He continues to help others to his own detriment, getting himself into difficult situations that he has to diffuse with his verbal and Kung Fu skills. His training at the Shaolin Temple proves he has enough words of wisdom and lightning moves to ensure his quest continues...

Kung Fu is arguably one of the better shows to come out of the '70s. The show, paradoxically, coupled spirituality and Eastern religion with kick-ass action.

Season two kicks off (no pun intended) well with The Well (again, no pun intended). This sees Caine being helped by the family of an ex-slave who secretly have the only wet well during a drought. Okay, it may not sound like the most riveting of storylines, but this is an engaging plot.

Highlights of this season include:

The Chalice: in which Caine promises a dying priest that he will return a chalice that the priest had stolen, but has since fallen into the hands of hooligans. The flashbacks show how a catholic priest helped Caine while he was being hunted by the imperial police after killing the Emperor's nephew.

The Squaman: which tackles issues of race. Caine befriends a man who loves his Indian wife but misses talking to the white men who now shun him because he married a native. In order to make friends the man gets himself into a heap of trouble.

The Solder: in which a soldier identifies Caine as one of the bandileros who attacked and wiped out his troop.

A Dream Within a Dream: Caine is not believed when he claims he saw a man hanging from a tree on the trail, but later he is accused of murdering the same man.

The Nature of Evil: On his way to Eureka, Caine gets a feeling which leads him to his old friend Serenity Johnson and a town called Ninevah that is full of fear.

The Region 1 edition may have been released over two months after the UK version was released, but there are extras on this version. Actor David Carradine provides an audio commentary for a couple of the episodes (The Well and The Chalice) and there is a short featurette entitled Zen and Now: A Dinner with David Carradine and Friends.

This is a fantastic collection and one that is worth buying for nostalgic values alone.

Pete Boomer

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$29.99 (Amazon.com)
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Region 2 Edition

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