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Wu Dang Blu-ray Review (1 Viewer)

Cameron Yee

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Cameron Yee
If Indiana Jones knew kung fu, you’d get someone like Professor Tang, the main character of director Patrick Leung’s entertaining mashup “Wu Dang.” The Blu-ray release is a straightforward one, though it does feature respectable high definition image and sound quality.



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Wu Dang


Release Date: December 4, 2012
Studio: Well Go USA
Packaging/Materials: Blu-ray keepcase with slipcover
Year: 2012
Rating: NR
Running Time: 1:40:25
MSRP: $29.98







THE FEATURE

SPECIAL FEATURES



Video

AVC: 1080p high definition 2.35:1

Standard and high definition



Audio

DTS-HD Master Audio: Mandarin 5.1 / Dolby Digital: Mandarin 2.0

Various



Subtitles

English

English





The Feature: 4/5


In 1920s China, the bespectacled and leather jacket clad Professor Tang (Vincent Zhao) and his daughter Ning (Josie Xu) are on the hunt for the seven treasures of the Wu Dang Mountains. Following a map the professor acquired in an antiques appraisal gone awry, they ultimately find themselves at the mountain top temple of the Wu Dang Taoist monks, renowned for their kung fu prowess. The monks are hosting their pentacentennial martial arts competition, and under the auspices of his daughter participating in it, the professor aims to track down the mountains’ legendary treasures.



On a similar trajectory is the mysterious woman warrior Tian Xin (Mini Yang). After a preliminary scuffle with the professor, the two decide to work together to achieve their goals. She’s only interested in a mystical sword, which she claims belongs to her family, and he’s more than content with six of the seven treasures. What he aims to do with them, however, involves more than just acquiring wealth, but ensuring that he’ll get to keep what’s ultimately priceless. But as the two gradually get their hands on each of the treasures, facing little opposition along the way, they begin to suspect some other, more nefarious, interests at work.



Blending an Indiana Jones-inspired treasure hunt (and said character’s derring-do) with the familiar kung fu movie trope of an invitation-only martial arts competition, director Patrick Leung’s “Wu Dang” could easily have folded under the weight of its mashup. But with impressive action choreography by veteran director Corey Yuen, a not-too-complicated plot, and solid performances all around, it pulls off not only the fusion, but even manages to seem inspired doing it. The film’s credibility stretches a bit thin in the finale, where the filmmakers no longer take a measured approach to their low budget CGI and green screen effects, but by then the film has done a lot to win over the viewer. Even if the payoff seems a bit out there, it's still nothing compared to what happened at the end of "Kingdom of the Crystal Skull."


Video Quality: 4/5


Presented in 1080p with the AVC codec, the transfer is accurately framed at 2.35:1 and features nicely saturated color and decent blacks. Contrast can look a bit thin during nighttime scenes, but brighter environments exhibit no such problems. Detail is quite good, especially with the ancient artifacts’ intricate designs and various period costumes, though in wide shots the picture can have an over-crisp quality. This also tends to accentuate the noise in the image, giving it a subtle, gritty veneer. Still, it’s overall a solid looking transfer with only a few distracting elements.


Audio Quality: 4/5


Mandarin dialogue in the 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track is consistently clear and intelligible. Bass and LFE is very robust, engaging with every punch, hit and crash through walls. Surround activity is pretty rote, providing support for the film score and some environmental effects, but things get more dynamic in key action scenes, creating a more immersive experience. Of particular note is the fight 40 minutes in, where the professor faces down a dozen sword-wielding acolytes, whose slashes and hacks create a chorus that rings around the room.


Special Features: 2/5


Pre-Menu Trailers (5:47, HD): For “Tai Chi Zero,” “Kill ‘Em All” and “Painted Skin: The Revolution.”



Behind the Scenes (31:12, SD): The electronic press kit style documentary discusses the film’s various martial arts fighting styles, philosophy behind the choreography, interviews with the cast about their respective characters, and major elements of the story.



Trailer (1:33, HD):


Recap


The Film: 4/5


Video Quality: 4/5


Audio Quality: 4/5


Special Features: 2/5


Overall Score (not an average): 4/5



Well Go USA delivers a solid high definition presentation for the Indiana-Jones-meets-kung-fu mashup, “Wu Dang.” Though the special features don’t provide much added value to the release, the strength of the film makes the title worthy of at least a rental, especially for kung fu movie fans.
 

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