7.2 C
New York
Saturday, December 5, 2020
Advertisement

Tai Chi Zero Blu-ray Review


Click thumbnails for high-resolution 1920X1080p screen captures

(All TheaterByte screen captures are lightly compressed with lossy JPEG at 100% quality setting and are meant as a general representation of the content. They do not fully reveal the capabilities of the Blu-ray format)

The Film

[Rating:4/5]

Director Stephen Fung and screenwriter Kuo-fu Chen reach back to the over-the-top grindhouse kung fu classics of the ’70s and add in a little steampunk cool and comedy hip to bring the genre into the present for this wild ride. Mixing genres that borrow everything from the sci-fi films of the West to a re-importation of the Tarantino, interpretations of Hong Kong Cinema, Ta Chi Zero is bold, refreshing, and most of all, satisfyingly entertaining.

Lu Chan (2008 Olympic Gold Medalist Xiaochao Yuan) was born with an unusual birth defect – a fleshy horn on his forehead. This once in a generation occurrence also means that he is meant to be a great martial arts warrior. Before that, however, he is scorned by his father and the children he grows up with. When his mother dies tragically, Lu Chan is taken in by a ruthless martial arts master who abuses the power of his “horn” to concur others. When he is once again left alone as a young man, Lu Chan goes to seek out the martial arts master Chen in the reclusive Chen Village. It’s a matter of life and death – he must learn their style of inner martial arts to save his own life. He is burning out the power he was born with, and the horn on his head is turning black; when it does, he will die. Furthermore, it was his late mother’s wish that he become great in martial arts. Once arriving at the village, Lu Chan is met with nothing but hostility. The Chen style is not to be taught to outsiders, only those in the Chen family. And they let him know it by dishing out a series of beat downs, despite his persistence. One of the greatest comes from the unbelievably gorgeous Yuniang (Angelababy). Lu Chan then finds himself in the aid of an old man (Tony Leung Kar-fai) who cleans him up and secretly offers him some advice on how to fight back against the Chen style. Little does Lu Chan know, that he is in the company of Master Chen himself. This will come to prove crucial, when Yuniang’s spurned fiancé, the Western-educated “wimpy” Fang Zijing (Eddie Peng) returns to Chen Village atop a steam-powered iron monster threatening to raze the village in order to run a unwanted railway through. Lu Chan and Yuniang find themselves unexpectedly teaming up to destroy the leviathan.

Tai Chi Zero is an exhilarating experience from the very opening scene’s epic battle and unexpected introduction of the “freak.” Fung is playful right from the get go, using comic-styled pop-up credits to introduce the actors and their illustrious background credits in their roles. Plus he pulls no punches (no pun intended) when it comes to shaking up this staid genre offering us something we can laugh at, with, and about. The cast of great actors, including Xiaochao, who is surprisingly charismatic and enjoyable in the lead, is top notch.

The story for Tai Chi Zero may in fact be its biggest weakness, however. We’re not getting the greatest amount of depth and character development throughout. It may in fact be a case of style over substance, but that just may be the penalty for a film that is the first entry in a planned trilogy. The ending leaves things wide open, so who knows where things will lead? Personally, I’m looking forward to following this motley group of characters all the way through.

Video Quality

[Rating:4.5/5]

Tai Chi Zero was shot in high definition with the Red Epic and Red One cameras. Well Go USA has brought it to Blu-ray with a fine, reference quality AVC/MPEG-4 1080p encodement that is richly saturated, finely detailed, clean, and endowed with strong contrast and inky black levels. Textural qualities on clothing and skin is strong while the nuance of shadow details is quite impressive.

Audio Quality

[Rating:4.5/5]

The Mandarin DTS-HD Maser Audio 5.1 (48kHz/16-bit) soundtrack is also a good one. The balance of sounds throughout the soundstage is effective, dynamic range is rather wide, and a healthy amount of low frequencies bolster the action. Dialogue is clear and remains above the fray of activity throughout the film.

Supplemental Materials

[Rating:2/5]

Nothing on offer here is really worth sitting through, but the “behind the ‘zenes’ (sic)” featurette does include some interviews with the cast and crew.

The supplements:

  • Behind the Zenes (1.78:1; SD; 00:05:43)
  • Music Videoz (2.35:1; SD; 00:03:52)
  • Trailerz:
    • Ultimate US Trailer (2.35:1; 1080p)
    • Online Trailer (2.35:1; 1080p)
    • Teaser (2.35:1; 1080p)

The Definitive Word

Overall:

[Rating:4/5]

I haven’t been this entertained by a modern martial arts film in a long while. Tai Chi Zero teases you with its period style, but then offers up an action laced comedy with steam punk fantasy elements. It all gels quite perfectly, even though, when broken down to its individual elements, it doesn’t seem like it should. Recommended, and can’t wait to see parts two and three.

Additional Screen Captures

[amazon-product]B009VL29Y4[/amazon-product]

BestBuy.com:
Tai Chi 0 - Blu-ray Disc

Purchase Tai Chi Zero on Blu-ray at CD Universe

Shop for more Blu-ray titles at Amazon.com

 

[amazon-product]B009VL29Y4[/amazon-product]

BestBuy.com:
Tai Chi 0 - Blu-ray Disc

Purchase Tai Chi Zero on Blu-ray at CD Universe

Shop for more Blu-ray titles at Amazon.com


 


Advertisement

Related Articles

Netflix Original: Hillbilly Elegy (Movie Review)

A young man's cross-generational journey from poor to successful lawyer in a world that his grandparents and parents had never known is successfully realized by a strong cast and deft direction.

Blade (4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Review)

Vampire actioner with Wesley Snipes in his prime as a day-walking half-vampire/half-human self-appointed protector of humanity gets a stunning 4K Ultra HD release from Warner Bros.

HBO Original: The Undoing (TV Series Review)

David E. Kelley gives us an open-and-shut murder case that will be unlikely to fool most of its viewers with The Undoing.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Stay Connected

301FansLike
0FollowersFollow
723FollowersFollow
- Advertisement -

Notice of Compliance with FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION 16 CFR Part 255

In accordance with the Federal Trade Commission 16 CFR part 255 guidelines, this website hereby states that it receives free discs and other theatrical or home entertainment “screeners” and access to screening links from studios and/or PR firms, and is provided with consumer electronics devices on loan from hardware manufacturers and/or PR firms respectively for the purposes of evaluating the products and its content for editorial reviews. We receive no compensation from these companies for our opinions or for the writing of reviews or editorials.
Permission is sometimes granted to companies to quote our work and editorial reviews free of charge. Our website may contain affiliate marketing links, which means we may get paid commission on sales of those products or the services we write about. Our editorial content is not influenced by advertisers or affiliate partnerships. This disclosure is provided in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR § 255.5: Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

Latest Articles

Netflix Original: Hillbilly Elegy (Movie Review)

A young man's cross-generational journey from poor to successful lawyer in a world that his grandparents and parents had never known is successfully realized by a strong cast and deft direction.

Blade (4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Review)

Vampire actioner with Wesley Snipes in his prime as a day-walking half-vampire/half-human self-appointed protector of humanity gets a stunning 4K Ultra HD release from Warner Bros.

HBO Original: The Undoing (TV Series Review)

David E. Kelley gives us an open-and-shut murder case that will be unlikely to fool most of its viewers with The Undoing.

FX Original Black Narcissus (TV Series Review)

A buttoned-up remake of the classic 'Black Narcissus' in the form of a 3-episode series that portrays the physical and emotional struggle of English nuns to establish a school in a remote palace in the Himalayas.

Perry Mason: The Complete First Season (Blu-ray Review)

A complex neo-noir origin story for the famous criminal defense attorney gets a gorgeous Blu-ray release from Warner Bros.
%d bloggers like this: