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Raining In The Mountain Blu-ray Review

“Raining In The Mountain” is a top tier martial arts film.

Directed by King Hu, “Raining In The Mountain” is an ensemble film set during the Ming Dynasty. The story begins with a wealthy landowner (Esquire Wen) and his 2 companions (Chin Suo and White Fox) venturing to the mountain Three Treasures Temple to see the Abbot. The Abbot is unwell and is seeking a new successor among his monks including candidates like Brothers Hui Tung, Hui Sssu, and Hui Wen. Wen isn’t the only one visiting the Temple, however, as General Wang and corrupt Officer Lt. Chang and Master Wu Wai have also ventured to the sacred grounds. It seems everyone at the Temple has their own agenda as Esquire Wen and General Wang are coveting a sacred scroll while certain Monks are hoping to become the successor a bit too much. Elsewhere in the story, there is a man who is an accused criminal (Chiu Ming) who is looking to become a Monk. Let’s just say he becomes an integral part of the story.

Although billed as a Chinese martial arts movie, 1979’s “Raining In The Mountain” is much more than that. For the most part, the movie is actually light on action. It isn’t until the final act where the wuxia action explodes on screen. The rest of the movie partially plays like a morality story about greed and possessions, a heist movie, and a story about rising to power. It’s an unusual mix and King Hu directs the film with an unusual pace. It’s a slow build movie that carefully sets up characters and storylines until it all comes together in the end. Granted, some may find the pacing a bit too slow for their liking, but I think it works in the grand scheme of the script (also penned by King Hu). There’s a lot of moving pieces here and seeing them come together is part of the joy of watching this movie. 

The cast is fantastic across the boards with Hsu Feng (White Fox), Tien Feng (General Wang), Sun Yueh (Esquire Wen) and Tung Lin (Chiu Ming) being the stand-outs here. Everyone gets a very complex character to work with and they all take full advantage of their characters. 

Visually this movie is such a treat to look at. Between the long shots, the wide shots and the picturesque natural surroundings, cinematographer Henry Chan does wonders with the camera.

Video/Audio:

Presentation: 2.24:1 1080p. How does it look? Despite being restored in 2K, the print is uneven. Sometimes the image looks picturesque while in other shots the colors appear washed out.

Audio Track: LPCM 2.0. How does it sound? The audio is generally satisfactory but sometimes it sounds scratchy or raw.


Extras:
* A booklet with credits, photos and an essay by NY Asian Film Festival Executive Director Samuel Jamier
* Trailers for “Raining In The Mountain,” “Shanghai Triad,” “Heroes Shed No Tears” and “The Fate Of Lee Khan.”
* “Treasure of the Spirit”- A thoughtful video essay by Chinese film expert Stephen Teo.
* A quality commentary by Asian cinema expert Tony Rayns.

March 30, 2021 - Posted by | Blu-Ray review | , , ,

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