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Category:    Home > Reviews > Martial Arts Cycle > Action > Archery > Crime > China > Judge Archer (2012/Lionsgate DVD)

Judge Archer (2012/Lionsgate DVD)

Picture: B- Sound: B- Extras: D Film: B

If you're a fan of martial arts and kung-fu cinema, then I would highly recommend checking out the 2012 film (and new to DVD in US Markets) Judge Archer. Filled with breathtaking fight choreography, amazing cinematography, and badass archery - Song Yang (who plays the title character) could easily take on Hawkeye from Marvel's The Avengers or Katniss Everdeen from The Hunger Games on in a bow and arrow match. Judge Archer is directed by Haofeng Xu (The Grandmaster) who nails expert performances and visual storytelling down to minimal locations and also tackles the difficult task of making a period piece effectively.

The film also stars Yu Chenghui, Chengyuan Li, and Yenny Martin to name a few.

To Judge Archer - there is no compassion, just martial arts - as he proves himself to be the only man worthy of the title. Set in 1920s China, the Judge has the dangerous duty of settling feuds between rival martial arts schools. Soon, a woman named Yue Yahong (Li), also a talented warrior, is sent to stop him from assassinating a man who claims to be more talented than the Judge Archer himself.

The film has several impressive fight sequences including hand to hand combat, spear battles, knife battles, and even historic fighting methods that have never been seen on film before, which I found to be pretty stunning. My favorite sequence is a scene where Judge Archer takes on Yue with two broken hands and ends up beating her by fighting just with his elbows!

Presented in standard definition with a widescreen aspect ratio of 2.40:1, the film looks fine for the DVD format but lacks some definition which would be more pronounced on Blu-ray. The sound mix is a lossy, Mandarin 5.1 Dolby Digital track that also sounds fine for the format.

No extras - which the exception of trailers for other films available from Lionsgate. Which is a shame, because I would love to know some details on the production.

Fast paced and sure to please fans of martial arts, I would highly suggest this movie for fans of the genre.

- James Lockhart



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