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Dragon Blu-ray Review

Dragon Blu-ray

“Dragon” offers up strong acting and compelling action sequences.

The story: Liu Jin-xi seems to live a pleasant and quiet life in the small village of Yunnan. He has a wife and 2 kids and he makes an honest living as a papermaker. When he encounters and fights 2 criminal thugs trashing a store that he works at, however, things begin to fall apart for Liu. You see, one of the criminals that Liu fought (and killed in self defense) was a notorious and skilled baddie. Considering Liu is supposed to be a simple papermaker, a law abiding detective (Xu Bai-jiu) becomes highly suspicious of Liu. Is Liu a former criminal himself? Will Xu capture Liu to uphold the law? Will Liu’s history come back to haunt him? You’ll have to see for yourself because I’m not spoiling the second half of the film for you.

As you can tell from the above plot synopsis, the story is nothing groundbreaking. Thankfully, it’s told in a fashion that makes the material seem fresh and engaging. Instead of starring in another IP Man movie or a silly martial arts adventure, star (and action director) Donnie Yen has chosen a darker and more serious action-drama about past demons, justice, family, and violence. As with most martial arts film these days, there are some over-the-top fight sequences (especially in the climax), but it’s refreshing to see a martial arts film without an overabundance of slapstick humor, wirework, and sloppy lighthearted scripts built around action set pieces.

The real reason “Dragon” succeeds, however, isn’t the action, but the acting. Yes, the action set piece in which Xu examines a crime scene and tries to piece together what happened in the fight is amazingly detailed and intense, but that scene wouldn’t have worked had it not been for the cast. Donnie Yen (Liu) and Takeshi Kaneshiro (Xu) not only shine in their respective fully developed roles, but they drive the film from start to finish. The actors not only play well off one another, but they each have some heavy duty dramatic scenes to carry on their own.


Presentation: 2.35:1 1080p. Verdict: A pristine print filled with stunning location shooting and even more impressive fight choreography.

The Mandarin 5.1 DTSHD-MA audio track (with English subtitles) is a bit soft for a 5.1 track, but the track comes alive when there’s action on the screen.

* Anchor Bay trailers.
* A music video for “Lost In Jianghu.”
* “The Making Of Dragon”- An 8 part making of that covers everything from acupuncture and Jimmy Wang Yu to Wai Ying Hung to Takeshi Kaneshiro.
* “Featurettes With Donnie Yen”- 3 Yen centric featurettes titled “Staging The Action,” “Influences And Inspiration,” and “On Set, On Location.”

Summary: “Dragon” is a perfect rental for martial arts enthusiasts.

May 8, 2013 - Posted by | Blu-Ray review | , , , ,

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