Lost Bladesmen, The (UK - BD RB)
Marcus found the Lost Bladesmen to be a little bit dull but the action was okay...
Telling the legendary tale of Guan Yu (Donnie Yen) the major player in the Battle of the Three Kingdoms and the Slayer of Six Generals, this period action drama features an insight into the politics of the civil war and the sides at war.
The Lost Bladesmen is a long 107 minutes. It’s not that it’s not interesting nor had some fantastic action moments, but I really didn’t find it all that engaging. Not even with Donnie Yen front and centre, who delivers another great performance, could I breach the story's flatness.
The entire run time is very dialogue heavy and following the different factions became a little bit of a chore. There are a handful of times where it feels like some fighting might elevate the stillness yet doesn’t follow through. Of course when it does arrive everything gets a whole lot more exciting and there's some great wire-aided fun to be had along with some fantastically shot fight scenes which have all the desired amount of “cool” moments to make elements memorable. Somehow though, the semi realistic nature of it all doesn’t quite match up with the larger than life choreography and it felt to me, like there should have been some sort of magical element at times to make this all a bit more ‘wow’ but given the historical story that wasn’t going to happen.
This is immediately a very pretty looking transfer, fine details such as the textures of props, costumes and fabrics all look strikingly sharp and beautifully coloured. Skin is incredibly rich in detail with every pore giving an almost 3D effect and then we reach the first open air battle. Colours look absolutely incredible, with soldiers' bright red, blue and gold costumes leaping off the screen even with the softer edges to frame in some of the wider shots. That said the tighter shots are awash with golden yellows, orangey dirt causing a fine layer of dust and a blue sky that makes everything look great below it. The second half of the film gets a little colder with more hazy blue visuals but everything still remains sharp on the detail front, even if some of the blacks lose their depth.
There is an inconsistent amount of grain, especially in the exterior shots but it’s never overbearing and adds a certain realism to some of the battle scenes. Some of the lighting for dramatic or action scenes is absolutely beautiful to look at with a strong sense of colour and the use of red’s and golds never get any less striking. This transfer shines in HD and makes a relatively dull movie look as pretty as a picture.
With the usual out of sync aspect of these movies ignored because it’s a simple fact of life, everything else about this mix is impressive. The battle scenes have so much power in some instances it’s quite daunting especially as the stronger elements usually fall between simple conversation with very little else going on beyond a soft background score or some very simple atmospherics like hoofs or clanking armour and swords.
The smaller moments (which there are a load of) usually just revolve around dialogue and it’s crisp and strong on the track even if it feels a bit flat as the solitary element from time to time. The odd atmospheric broadens the track but it’s usually only fleeting moments that use the rears speakers for the wider effect and again it’s only some score or another character's voice. Nothing really all that impressive.
The disc opens up with trailers for Three Kingdoms: Resurrection of the Dragon and 14 Blades.
The making of (16:19 SD) is the usual mix of clips, on set footage and interviews and the poor picture quality really highlights how good the HD transfer is. It’s a fairly good look at the making of the movie but pretty fleeting in regards to real details and doesn’t spend too much time on specifics. The only other extra is the trailer (01:29 HD).
The Lost Bladesmen is a pretty looking movie but failed to really grab me, due to its long talky scenes and characters I didn’t find myself warming to at all. The disc looks great, sounds great (though is fairly low key for large chunks of time) and offers up a simple making of. Nothing too exciting but a solid release none the less.
* Note: The below images are taken from the Blu-ray release and resized for the page. Full-resolution captures are available by clicking individual images, but due to .jpg compression they are not necessarily representative of the quality of the transfer.
Review by Marcus Doidge
Suitable only for persons of 15 years and over
Release Date: 8th August 2011
Disc Type: Blu-ray Disc
Audio: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 Chinese, Stereo 2.0 Chinese
Extras: Making of, Trailer
Easter Egg: No
Director: Alan Mak, Felix Chong
Cast: Donnie Yen, Jiang Wen, Betty Sun
Genre: Action and Drama
Length: 107 minutes
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