Have your choice of four cuts in the Arrow Video restoration of the Sammo Hung-starred/directed action comedy “Millionaires’ Express.”

In the last few years, physical media boutique Arrow Video has restored many martial arts-centric films. These range from two Shaw Brothers collections totaling 22 films, Come Drink with Me (1966), and One-Armed Boxer (1972), to name a few, while Jackie Chan-led films like Knockabout (1979) and Heart of Dragon (1985) are coming soon, all while also releasing their standard cult and sci-fi faire. Before those two films hit shelves, the Sammo Hung-starring and directed action comedy Millionaires’ Express (富貴列車) hits shelves with a limited edition two-disc restoration that includes not only a litany of archived materials, but four different cuts of the film.

Bandit Ching Fong-Tin (Hung) returns to his hometown of Hon Sui with plans to restore it to its former glory, pushed by a promise he made to his late mother and in hopes of providing a new start for his sweetheart/prostitute Siu Hon (Olivia Cheng) and her team of working girls. What Fong-Tin doesn’t realize is that his plan to use the incoming Millionaires’ Express train overlaps with several other bits of intrigue involving a cheating husband; a set of combative master martial arts and their respective young sons; and a plot to steal from a Japanese emissary using a small army of bandits.

Hung’s action comedy is a series of ridiculous sequences that make up a larger story that I would liken to something like Airplane! (1980) or the more recent Bullet Train (2022). There’s a center character with a succession of supporting characters, their storylines intersecting, overlapping, and, inevitably, converging in order to give the audience a hilariously grand conclusion. Fans of the martial arts genre will love seeing Hung (Dragons Forever), Yuen Biao (one of the Three Dragons, alongside Hung and Jackie Chan), Richard Ng (Magnificent Warriors), Cynthia Rockrock (China O’Brien), Richard Norton (Mad Max: Fury Road), Rosamund Kwan (Once Upon a Time in China series), and more as they battle, team up, or just straight up get beat. Fans of Enter the Dragon (1973), Bloodsport (1988), and Double Impact (1991), you better keep your eyes sharp, otherwise you’ll miss a brief and hilarious appearance by actor/martial artist Bolo Yeung. Those unaware of Hung’s prowess as a physical performer (not just a martial artist) will be treated to one ludicrous stunt after another, often accompanied by Hung’s Fong-Tin trying to also talk his way out of something. The mix of verbal and physical comedy is part of what makes Hung so much fun to watch on screen, but watching him fight, seeing the absolute ferocity and agility, never ceases to impress or astound. The scene that captures this the best is Fong-Tin’s fight against the now-notable actor/stuntwoman Cynthia Rothrock as a Mountain Bandit Fong-Tin goes toe-to-toe with. At the time, Rothhrock was early in her career, Yes! Madam with Michelle Yeoh had only released a year prior, so there was little reason to give her such a prominent sequence against the well-established Hung and, yet, it’s staged in such a way that both are given moments to shine, including a slow-motion roundhouse kick delivered by Rothrock. Though her performance is wordless, her and Hung exchange a hilarious hand-delivered back-and-forth that transcends words. Of course, Biao gets several spectacular scenes, many of which beg the question (especially after recently watching Dragons Forever (1988) for the first time) of why Biao isn’t as well known in the U.S. given his charm and charismatic stunt work.

Most impressive is the way Hung, as director, never lowers his craft to satisfy the general audience. A lesser director would make a point to highlight specific actors or familiar faces, finding their film muddled under the weight of needing to give the spotlight to so many individuals. The whole of Express can be described as a film in which the story matters most, not the cast, thereby creating a sense that everyone gets their due, their moment, without reducing anyone else in the process. On the plus side, this means that there’re plenty of moments in which this large central cast get opportunities to showcase themselves either through a traditional performance or a martial arts-related one. On the negative, this does mean that the film as a whole does get a little harder to lock in to regarding its internal rules (the previously mentioned two master martial artists demonstrate their speed and strength against each other but are strangely absent or ill-effective against the bandits in the third act).

As is typically the case, the restoration from Arrow Video is an overall strong one. Since this is my first time watching the film, I opted to view the Hong Kong Cut so as to get a sense of what the film is like as it would’ve been released originally. When one puts aside the period-specific poor CG (something which admittedly adds to the charm now), the picture is crisp and clear, with colors looking naturally vibrant. The restoration is standard high definition 1080p. I watched the film via an Xbox One X and displayed on a 4K UHD LG television, so there may be a certain amount of up-conversion occurring. Where there is an issue is that the audio track, which is the original lossless Cantonese mono audio, often clips, implying that it either wasn’t mixed properly originally or there’s been some degradation that the restoration couldn’t address. Unfortunately, I can’t speak on the restoration process to get a sense of what may have occurred as the review copy provided by MVD Entertainment Group is a proof copy, not a final retail copy. As such, I have none of the typical information at my fingertips to determine who supervised, what materials for the restoration were used, and the technique utilized to create this edition. Similarly, I cannot speak on what’s included with the two-disc limited edition such as the art, the poster, the slipcover, or anything else that’s not included on-disc.

So what can be discussed among such limited options? The on-disc materials.

Disc One includes both the Hong Kong and extended International Cut, as well as two feature-length commentary tracks, selected scene commentary with Rothrock, three interviews with Rothrock, two archive interviews with Hung, an archived interview with Biao, an archived interview with Yukari Ôshima (Supercop 2), who played the only female Japanese samurai, and alternate opening/closing credits. Disc Two only includes the English-language and the Hybrid cuts with no additional bonus features. The Hybrid is a combination of the Theatrical and International cuts to create the most complete version of the film, as well as the longest. In combination, this limited edition set is the most comprehensive version of the film collected in one place. A someone who is still slowly diving deeper into martial arts films released prior to 1990 (I was born in 1980), this release offers an opportunity to learn not just about the making of the film, but to receive insight into the mentality of the industry at the time and the ways things have/haven’t changed for performers.

Before wrapping, as much as the film is worth a recommendation either for those still exploring the Golden Harvest era of martial arts films or those who have been longing for a restoration, there are definitely aspects of the film which don’t age as well. Surprisingly, the film is pretty sex positive for the period and doesn’t demean the women *for being women* at any point in the film. There are, however, several moments of cheap laughs created when a character pretends to have a form of mental disability, which other characters mimic as a means of hoping to avoid trouble. That the year prior Hung portrayed a similarly character opposite Chan in the Hung-directed Heart of Dragon (1985), of which one of the Express co-writers Barry Wong (Hard Boiled) also wrote, is a little disquieting in our current understanding of disability as something that shouldn’t be punched down on in comedy. It was a different era and this is a good example of something that should remain in the past.

What is legitimately great about watching a film from the past, whether two years, five years, 10, or in the case of Express, nearly 40 years ago, is that we can see how things have evolved, for the better and for the worse. Rather than send Express into a vault never to be seen again, audiences are given a chance to see on-screen stunt work that American films are rarely so bold to attempt, even now, while they’re also given an opportunity to investigate the norms of the era and why those norms needed to change. The idea of censoring art well after its publishing walks a fine line between providing comfort to those who might be offended and removing the control of art from the artist. Hung’s Millionaire’s Express may have a misstep or two, but it otherwise holds up, offering a lot of bang for your buck.

Millionaires’ Express Two-Disc Limited Edition Special Features:

  • NEW 2K restorations by Fortune Star
  • Four different versions of the film, including a recently-assembled ‘hybrid’ edit
  • Double-sided fold-out poster featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Sam Gilbey
  • Illustrated collectors’ booklet featuring new writing on the film by Jonathan Clements and David West
  • Reversible sleeve featuring original and new artwork by Sam Gilbey


  • High Definition (1080p) presentations of the original Hong Kong Theatrical Cut and the Extended “International” Cut
  • Original lossless Cantonese mono audio on both cuts, plus English mono audio for the Extended Cut
  • Optional English subtitles for both versions
  • Commentary on the Theatrical Cut by Frank Djeng
  • Commentary on the Extended Cut by Mike Leeder & Arne Venema
  • Select scene commentary by star Cynthia Rothrock, moderated by Frank Djeng
  • Three video interviews with Cynthia Rothrock
  • A New Frontier and Express Delivery, two archive interviews with Sammo Hung
  • Way Out West, an archive interview with Yuen Biao
  • On the Cutting Edge, an archive interview with star Yukari Oshima
  • Alternate English opening and closing credits
  • Trailer gallery


  • High Definition (1080p) presentations of the English Export Cut and the recent Hybrid Cut (combining footage from the Theatrical and Extended Cuts for the longest possible version)
  • Original lossless English audio for the Export Cut, and lossless Cantonese mono for the Hybrid Cut
  • Optional English subtitles for the Hybrid Cut

Available on Blu-ray from Arrow Video February 28th, 2023.

For more information or to purchase, head to MVD Entertainment Group.

Millionaires' Express cover art

Categories: Home Release, Home Video, Recommendation, Reviews

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