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The Woman Knight of Mirror Lake Blu-ray Review

  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Video Codec: AVC/MPEG-4
  • Resolution: 1080p/24 (24Hz)
  • Audio Codec: Mandarin Dolby TrueHD 5.1 (48kHz/16-bit), English Dolby TrueHD 5.1 (48kHz/16-bit)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Subtitles Color: White
  • Region: A (Region-Locked)
  • Rating: TV-MA
  • Discs: 2 (1 x Blu-ray + 1 x DVD)
  • Run Time: 115 Mins.
  • Studio: Funimation Entertainment
  • Blu-ray Release Date: May 15, 2012
  • List Price: $29.98

Overall
[Rating:3.5/5]
The Film
[Rating:3.5/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:4/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:4/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:2/5]

Click thumbnails for high-resolution 1920X1080p screen captures

(Screen captures are lightly compressed with lossy JPEG  thus are meant as a general representation of the content and do not fully reveal the capabilities of the Blu-ray format)

The Film

[Rating:3.5/5]

In the wake of the 100th anniversary of China’s communist revolution in 1911, there have been, expectantly, many films coming from that country in celebration and memory of historic event, such as the Jackie Chan film 1911 Revolution, to use an obvious example. The Woman Knight of Mirror Lake (竞雄女侠, 秋瑾, Jian hu nu xia Qiu Jin)is another of these films, perhaps less obvious as first to Westerners, but just as relevant.

Of course, the issue at hand with any and all of these films is drilling down through the thinly veiled propaganda to get to the truth. In the case of this particular film, a biopic and docudrama, of sorts, on the late 19th/early 20th century female revolutionary Qiu Jin, played here by the beautiful and talented, though perhaps misused, Huang Yi, there are serious doubts about this film’s historical credibility that come to mind immediately. Qiu Jin, credited and honored in China as a heroine for women’s rights by The People’s Republic of China and, in this film, portrayed almost as a mythological figure in Chinese history, seems a strange idol in a nation where forced sterilizations are the law and reports of forced abortions have been wide. Has the revolution been all good for women or men, for that matter, in China? Hardly likely. But let’s not fool ourselves, Westerners, the revolution hasn’t been all evil either and I write this well aware of the vastly under payed and overworked employees who put together my MacBook Air.

Despite these nagging feelings at the back of my brain as I sat and watched The Knight Woman of Mirror Lake, I couldn’t wholly write it off as a film. It was actually enjoyable, to a degree. The elaborately staged martial arts choreography, the luxuriant costume designs, and Huang Yi’s apparent ability to cry on a dime made it tolerable and at times exciting, even emotionally draining, if too long at its nearly two-hour long running time.

Video Quality

[Rating:4/5]

Shot on Super-35mm Fuji Eterna Vivid 160T 8543, Eterna Vivid 500T 8547 and Eterna 250D 8563 using the Moviecam Compact camera, which seems to be quite favored by Chinese film crews, The Woman Knight of Mirror Lake looks generally pleasing and film-like in this AVC/MPEG-4 1080p/24 transfer from Funimation. Colors are vivid, particularly primaries like red, yellow, and blue, which really stand out. Thin grain is thinly textured and noise jumps just a tad in darker areas. Contras is a little weak overall, with blacks looking a bit greyish and white levels are bright, but not as strong as they could be.

Audio Quality

[Rating:4/5]

A strong Mandarin Dolby TrueHD 5.1 (48kHz/16-bit) soundtrack is offered that provides clean dialogue, a good presence of atmospherics with some occasional discrete effects in the surround channels, and very strong low-frequency extension.

Supplemental Materials

[Rating:2/5]

The brief and average making-of in standard definition can be passed over without fear of missing much.

The supplements:

  • Making of (1.33:1; SD; 00:22:39)
  • Funimation Trailers
  • DVD

The Definitive Word

Overall:

[Rating:3.5/5]

The Woman Knight of Mirror Lake may have its flaws and, historical and factual quibbles aside, the film looks quite beautiful and does have its moments of nicely done martial arts sequences; just take the “biography” part with a grain of salt. Rent it.

Additional Screen Captures

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Overall
[Rating:3.5/5]
The Film
[Rating:3.5/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:4/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:4/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:2/5]


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