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Yamada: Way of the Samurai [UK Release] Blu-ray Review

  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Video Codec: AVC/MPEG-4
  • Resolution: 1080p/24 (23.976Hz)
  • Audio Codec: Thai DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (48kHz/16-bit); Dolby Digital 2.0
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: B (Region-Locked)
  • Certification: 15
  • Discs: 1 (1 x Blu-ray)
  • Studio: Cine-Asia
  • Run Time: 90 Mins.
  • Blu-ray Release Date: January 30, 2012
  • RRP: £24.99

[amazon-product region=”uk” tracking_id=”bluraydefinit-21″]B0067LGH1C[/amazon-product]

Shop for more Blu-ray titles at Amazon.co.uk

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Overall
[Rating:3.5/5]
The Film
[Rating:3.5/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:3/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:4/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:2.5/5]

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:3.5/5]

Yamada: Way of the Samurai or The Samurai of Ayothaya is based on true events from Thai history. It portends to be about the historical figure Yamada (Seigi Ozeki), a highly skilled Japanese samurai who leaves, or rather, is forced to leave his homeland and become a champion of the Thai people and defend them in their stand for autonomy against his own countrymen who seek to destroy relationships between the two countries. Betrayed by his own countrymen and left for dead, Yamada is rescued by the Thai people and finds refuge in the remote village of Ayothaya. There, he becomes one with the people of his adopted land, learns the art of Muay Boran (Thai kick boxing), and eventually becomes an elite bodyguard for King Naresuan the Great. It all leads to an inevitable showdown with his native countrymen that were once his colleagues and friends.

This cross-cultural martial arts film will be a must for fans of the genre, mixing elements of chambara, ninja films, and straight muy thai, it ends in a brutal and bloody finale of well choreographed and tightly executed fighting that is full-on, without any fancy wirework or CG effects.

Video Quality

[Rating:3/5]

I wish I could say that Yamada: Way of the Samurai looked great, but, unfortunately, like most of these Thai martial arts films, it doesn’t. There is an overwhelming graininess and softness throughout the film as well as some obvious video noise and slight banding. Colors are also at times a bit askew in this AVC/MPEG-4 encodement.

Audio Quality

[Rating:4/5]

At least the main audio track is a step up on this release. The Thai DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (48kHz/16-bit) mix is pretty dynamic with big bass and wide spatial separation. The surround channels are active straight through with ambience, music, and discrete sounds, but never to distracting. Dialogue seems clear enough, although I don’t speak Japanese or Thai.

Supplemental Materials

[Rating:2.5/5]

There’s a good array of extras included on the disc, including an HD exclusive about professional Muy Thai kick boxers that’s worth a gander.

The supplements:

  • Audio Commentary by Bey Logan
  • Masters of the Ring – Cine Asia Exclusive (1.78:1; 1080p/24; 00:38:16) – A look at professional Muy Thai fighters.
  • Deleted Scenes (1.85:1; 1080p/24):
    • Bitter Medicine by Any Other Name
    • Betel Nuts
    • Tasty Oishi/Acceptance & Friendship
    • Destiny
  • Trailers:
    • UK Trailer (1.85:1; 1080p/24)
    • Original Trailer (1.85;1; 1080p/24)

The Definitive Word

Overall:

[Rating:3.5/5]

Yamada: Way of the Samurai is a hard hitting martial arts film with lots of fight scenes, swordplay, and god choreography. The story is on the thin side, but something like this is all about the action, and on that it delivers. If that is what is up your alley, then this film will please.

Additional Screen Captures


[amazon-product region=”uk” tracking_id=”bluraydefinit-21″]B0067LGH1C[/amazon-product]

Shop for more Blu-ray titles at Amazon.co.uk

Shop for more Blu-ray titles at Amazon.com

Overall
[Rating:3.5/5]
The Film
[Rating:3.5/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:3/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:4/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:2.5/5]

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