Home Video

True Legend - Blu-ray Movie Review

{2jtab: Movie Review}

True Legend - Movie Review

{googleAds}

<div style="float:left">
<script type="text/javascript"><!--
google_ad_client = "pub-9764823118029583";
/* 125x125, created 12/10/07 */
google_ad_slot = "8167036710";
google_ad_width = 125;
google_ad_height = 125;
//-->
</script>
<script type="text/javascript"
src="http://pagead2.googlesyndication.com/pagead/show_ads.js">
</script></div>{/googleAds}

4 stars

Come gather round, children, it is cinematic confession time.  I love me some old-school kung-fu films.  I love them for being so riddled with clichés and candy coated cornball enthusiasm and extreme violence and general goofiness.  Films like The Five Deadly Venoms, Shogun Assassin, and The 36th Chamber of Shaolin are just a few examples of the smattering of kung fu cinema that I celebrate on an almost daily level.  When I first heard talk that master martial arts choreographer Yuen Woo-ping (The Matrix and Kill Bill) was bringing the glory of logic-defying martial arts leaps back circa 1970 into the realm of modern filmmaking, my enthusiasm for the historical epic that is True Legend grew.  Would this be the noodle-infused cinema of my youth?  A true return to the saturation of cheese that once was a singular aspect of kung fu?  Or would it just be a bloated mistake that would leave audiences with bad gas?

So I waited.  I heard the news that it was a 3D disappointment in its originating home and still I waited.

Friends, I am here to tell you that True Legend is every bit the return of the kick-ass Asian cinema that placated our youth Saturday afternoons.  It’s corny, completely over-the-top, and viscous in nature.  It’s also a hell of a lot of drunken master-flavored fun.  Visually assertive, True Legend returns to kung-fu’s roots and delivers a picture worthy of praise and of your time…if you are fortunate to live in or around a big city.

The sage begins with a wicked battle between two opposing forces.  High in the mountains, the battle is waged to rescue a prince and restore order to the ancient lands below.  The hero of the battle, General Su Can (Vincent Zhao), is rewarded for his bravery - much to the dismay of his soon-to-be brother-in-law, Yuan Lie (Andy On).  Lie whisks himself away and studies a very dark art of kung fu – The Five Venom Fists.  One day, after Su has himself a family with Ying (Zhou Xun), Yuan's sister, Lie returns to take revenge and Su, ultimately, comes face-to-face with an opponent that threatens to shake the foundations of his own family, his sanity, and his soul.

It’s an oversimplified summary and it certainly doesn’t do the breadth of the film justice because this gnarly beast – written by To Chi-long - is epic in scope.  It’s finale – dealing more with the effects of colonization than myth – covers the reality that the middle part of the picture – Su’s healing with Wu Shu God (Jay Chou) and an old sage (also Jay Chou) – completely (and rather successfully) avoids.  Guest starring Michelle Yeoh and David Carradine (in his final performance), True Legend also honors its past heroes with roles that inspire a bit of nostalgia while bringing a tear to the eyes of all those who love the genre.

The fights are hardcore with great wire work and gravity-defying summersaults that are every bit as old-fashioned as the film promised.  The quick cuts are edits are legendary and quite in-line with the look of the era it is harkening back to.  True Legend is an experience for lovers of this genre – maybe not for everybody – but it does offer a bit of candy for most…as long as you can roll with the punches and high-flying kicks of a movie that catapults its audience back into the martial arts antics of 1975.

{pgomakase}

{2jtab: Film Details}

True Legend - Movie ReviewMPAA Rating: R for sequences of battle violence and brutal fighting.
Director: Woo-ping Yuen
Writer
: Chi-ling To
Cast:
Man Cheuk Chiu; Michelle Yeoh; Xiaogang Feng; Andy On; Luxia Jiang
Genre: Action | Foreign | History
Memorable Movie Quote: "Show me how you can break this Chinaman's Neck"
Tagline:
Su Qi-Er
Distributor: Indomina Releasing
Official Site:
releasing.indomina.com/true-legend
Release Date: May 27, 2011
Blu-ray Release Date:
September 13, 2011

Plot Synopsis: Yuen Woo Ping brings you True Legend, a heart pounding epic about the timeless battle between good and evil. Su Can’s (Vincent Zhao) respectable life is obliterated when his vengeful brother, Yuan (Andy On), returns from war armed with the deadly Five Venom Fists. Weakened but not destroyed, Su Can learns a never-before-seen form of martial arts: the Drunken Fist. Armed with this new power, he returns home to honor his family through retribution by taking on his brother in a battle to become the ultimate warrior.

{2jtab: Blu-ray Review}

True Legend

Component Grades
Movie

Blu-ray Disc
4 stars

3 stars



Blu-ray Experience
3.5 stars

Blu-ray

Blu-ray Details:

Available on Blu-ray - September 13, 2011
Screen Formats: 2.40:1
Subtitles
: English, French
Audio: Mandarin: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1; English: DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0
Discs: 50GB Blu-ray Disc; Single disc (1 BD)
Playback: Region A

Arriving on blu courtesy of British distributors Optimum Home Entertainment, True Legend’s 1080p transfer is a kung-fu lover’s wet dream.  The trippy visuals are ripped with fine detail and the depth of the color palette is appropriate saturated for the era it seems to emulate.  Speaking of colors, there are lots of greens, browns, blues, and reds and all are strong with an otherworldly clarity that seems to sun-kiss the lens.  Edges and shadows are near-perfect and the effects, while limited, are particularly strong.  Two audio tracks - Mandarin DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 and Mandarin LPCM 2.0 – are encoded onto the disk and supply enough auditory fuel to keep things focused and fired up.

Supplements:

Commentary:

  • None

Special Features:

We’re a little shaken up by the lack of the material here, considering the team responsible for the movie is so well known in certain circles.  The Making-Of featurette is your standard affair and, with the only other featurettes belonging to a handful of storyboard sequences and a trailer, it’s a bit of dull release.

  • The Making of ‘True Legend’ (30 min)
  • ‘Wandering Heart’ Music Video (6 min)
  • Storyboard-To-Screen Comparisons
  • Trailer

{2jtab: Trailer}

{/2jtabs}

Movie Reviews

Our Tweets

 

You are here: Home Home Video True Legend - Blu-ray Movie Review
Follow us on Twitter
Like us on Facebook
Letterboxd
Find us on Rotten Tomatoes