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Batman: Soul Of The Dragon 4K UHD Review

“Batman: Soul Of The Dragon” is a refreshing change of pace.

Set in the 70’s, “Batman: Soul Of The Dragon” follows Bruce, Wayne, Ben Turner, Lady Shiva, and Richard Dragon (all of whom trained together under O-Sensei in the past). The 4 are brought together again when Richard (now a spy) learns that Kobra Cult member Jeffrey Burr has The Gate which, when opened, would bring forth a destructive serpent God known as Naga. In order to open The Gate, a sword dubbed Soulbreaker is needed (which Lady Shiva has in her care). Can the four skilled martial artists stop Jeffrey and his forces and prevent Naga from being released?

For those expecting “Batman: Soul Of The Dragon” to be a pure Batman story, it’s not. This is an original Elseworlds tale directed by Sam Liu and written by Jeremy Adams that is more about a team of heroes comprised of Bruce Wayne/Batman, Ben Turner, Lady Shiva and Richard Dragon. More than that, however, it’s a love letter to the 70’s as this DC animated feature pays homage to martial arts movies (especially Bruce Lee), blaxploitation, James Bond, and lesser known DC characters (like Ben, Shiva and Dragon) who first appeared in 70’s comic books. The result is one of the more memorable (and best) DC animated features as of late. Not only does it feel like a nice change of pace from the normal comic adaptations, but the 70’s flavor and focus on non headlining characters really benefits the movie as a whole. DC has such a massive library of characters that we rarely get to see so it’s nice to see some characters like Ben, Shiva and Dragon kicking butt and sharing the screen with a mainstay like Batman. The character interactions are a real treat to watch (especially for those with a deep knowledge of DC comics).

Speaking of the characters, ‘Soul’ has one of the best DC animated casts to date. Dave Giuntoli of “Grimm” fame plays Bruce/Batman here and does a fine job stepping into the role. The always underrated Kelly Hu shines as the badass Lady Shiva. Mark Decascos is inspired casting for Richard Dragon while Michael Jai White is note perfect as Ben Turner. Last, but not least, James Hong gives perhaps the best performance here as the wise Master O-Sensei. He brings so much to the role both in terms of humor and heart.

The only real downside here is that the Kobra plot isn’t the strongest. It feels like a typical villain with a fiendish plot tale. Luckily, everything surrounding the main story is so involving that you can overlook the familiarity of it all.

Video/Audio:

Presentation: 1.78:1 2160p. How does it look? The animation is an improvement over recent releases here. It’s not on the level of a high budget animated feature but it is stylishly done.

Audio Track: 5.1 DTS-HD MA. How does it sound? From the voice work to the action, this track delivers.


Extras:
* Blu-ray copy and Digital copy
* WB/DC trailers
* 2 episodes from “Batman: The Animated Series”- “Day of the Samurai” and “Night of the Ninja.”
* A sneak peek at the forthcoming “Justice Society: World War 2.”
* “Batman: Raw Groove”- A half-hour featurette about the 70’s and “Batman: Soul of the Dragon.”
* “Producer Jim Krieg’s Far-Out Highlights”- Storyboards, film clips, discussions about the movie, and Krieg’s thoughts.

January 21, 2021 - Posted by | 4K UHD Review | , , , , , , ,

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