I have had this DVD sitting on my shelf for years and I have never watched it. In truth I had forgotten I had it. I bought it originally because my local Virgin Megastore had it on sale, the DVD case was apparently smashed so it was in a plain case, and on sale for 99p. What could I do but buy it 😀 But it just went on my shelf at home and was forgotten about. I found it earlier today looking for another DVD and decided to watch it on a whim.
Actors: Ekin Cheng, Qi Shu, Kristy Yang, Nicholas Tse, Biao Yuen
Director: Wai-keung Lau
Producer: Manfred Wong, Barbie Tung
Studio: Golden Harvest
Publisher: M.I.A Video Entertainment Ltd
Format: Dubbed, Full Screen, Widescreen, Subtitled
Language: Cantonese Chinese, English
DVD Count: 2
I loved this movie, there’s no other word for it other than awesome. The concept behind the series is actually a manhua series of the same name, which has been released by DrMaster (though the version they released was heavily edited and altered to cover the anti-western elements).
The movie starts off nice and softly, and you think your in for an easy ride, then wham, it hits you over the head.
The story does have it’s flaws, naturally when you try to cram a large manga series into a single movie it’s going to suffer. In this case Hero (our lead) goes through some rather insane power ups over the course of the movie, none of which really make any sense since we never get to see him practicing martial arts. In fact the only time we get to see anything like practice is right at the beginning when he’s displaying his stuff for his new teacher, Pride. After this we never see him practice, which is a bit disappointing.
The fight scenes in this movie are awesome, and only beaten by the high cheese factor. We get rolling rain, exploding earth, and finally a destroyed Liberty Tower. Yet I have to admit despite the cheese I really liked the fight scenes, they were fun and uncomplicated. Though admittedly the big fight of the movie on the Liberty Tower has some issues. They used green screen for it and a few times we see them standing in mid air.
The way the movie unfolds is a bit confusing, since it tries to mix present day telling with the past. At times it works well, and at others it feels forced and not done well.
What I found surprising however was that I really liked the english dub of this movie. As I was watching it I did wince a few times, but I generally found the actors doing the voices to be doing a great job. It was clear they were not only liking the roles they were playing, but also were trying their hardest to bring them to life with their dub.
This works really well at key times, such as the deaths, meetings and farewells in the movie. I got a genuine sense of grief, loss, and reunion from the actors. Something that’s lacking in dubs these days.
The one bit it does fail on is that it does not build up on the story. At the end of the movie you get this big impression of things to come, as Hero has defeated one enemy, but has still yet to find his missing kidnapped daughter.
Given the build-up the movie gives his daughter I was expecting a sequel movie to tie it up, but as far as I know there has never been one (guess I will have to buy the manhua to find out the end!!)
The version I have comes on two discs, the first disc has two versions of the movie on it. One being the full screen english dubbed version, the other being the original wide screen Cantonese version with optional english subs.
I actually had some issues with the Cantonese version, the subs tended to go out of synch quite frequently which I found annoying, but since I liked the dub it was not such a big issue for me.
I also found the subs were a bit different from the english dub, they made more sense, compared with what the dub was saying. The dub wasn’t wrong, it just feels like the subs had a better flow to it.
The second DVD contains all the extras, and wow what a lot of extras. Two separate trailers for the movie. The US and Hong Kong theatrical trailer (did this even go to the movies in the US??), the music video, making of featurette, cast biographies and filmographies, and finally a production stills gallery. Here is the US trailer :
The music video is the cream of the crop for me. I love the music of the movie and the song in the video is amazing. It plays out using elements from the movie, which frankly make it sound all the better.
I found a copy of the original Cantonese version of the music video, but this is slightly different from the one on the english release, but almost as good. Note the quality is a bit bad hehe.
The making of featurette, is well a featurette 😀 it’s a good watch but it does spoil the cheesy special effects and make you laugh hehe
I really regret taking so long to watch this movie now, and wish I had been able to get the proper DVD releases, rather than simply the discs that I have. Now it’s a rather hard movie to find since the distributor M.I.A seems to have died.