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Category:    Home > Reviews > Fantasy > Epic > China > Spy > Thriller > Espionage > Cable TV > War > Korea > Horror > France > Creation Of The Gods I: Kingdom Of Storms (*)/Jack Ryan: The Complete Series 4K (2018 - 2023/Paramount 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Set)/Noryang: Deadly Sea (*both 2023/Well Go USA Blu-rays)/Pandemonium (2023/

Creation Of The Gods I: Kingdom Of Storms (*)/Jack Ryan: The Complete Series 4K (2018 - 2023/Paramount 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Set)/Noryang: Deadly Sea (*both 2023/Well Go USA Blu-rays)/Pandemonium (2023/MVD/Arrow Blu-ray)

4K Ultra HD Picture: B+ Picture: B/X/B-/B- Sound: B Extras: C Main Programs: C+/C+/C+/C

Now for a new group of action releases, including war, fantasy, battles, spying, the supernatural and surrealism...

Wuershan's Creation Of The Gods I: Kingdom Of Storms (2023) is another huge Chinese feature film production in the fantasy and epic genres, but unlike most of them that I have actually managed to see only to forget them on the most part, this is easily one of the best out of any Asian film-producing country and is the closets they have come on their own to competing with a major, similar Hollywood production in a sort of quiet breakthrough.

Monsters, inhumans, humans and much more go to war in an alternate war (Is it the past or maybe the future?; This one is 148 long minutes!) in a fantasy romp worthy of any of the Hollywood genre entries over the last few decades (mostly now bad and played out) with some interesting moments and better energy than most genre entries in recent years. Of course, if this is not your thing (like this viewer) it will wear quickly, but fans should go out of their way to see how this is really done. This may turn out to be a high watermark for Chinese epic films.

Others will be impressed by the cast, costumes, production design and how well this all meshes, so I definitely recommend it to those readers. Otherwise, think and know what to expect if you are not sure, because it is long.

Extras include an Original Theatrical Trailer and four short-but-decent Making Of featurettes.

Jack Ryan: The Complete Series 4K (2018 - 2023) finally happened after five feature films with five name actors playing Tom Clancy's famous CIA hero. This time, John Krasinski takes on the role and not only does a decent job, but gets enough time to do a good job. For your reference, we reviewed the first four movies on Blu-ray a while ago at this link...


Krasinski does a good enough job in the pilot/first episode that you can see this could work, but because this is repeating narratives in and out of the Clancy catalog directly and not, he can only do so much. Paramount figured they blew it on further feature films, which is sad considering how good many of Clancy's books are. Still, overall, this is not up to the best films they made (October and Danger) but is worth a look for those interested.

Deleted Scenes are the only extras, but for the record, here is how I thought each actor did in the role. Alec Baldwin did fine, but turned down the next films surprisingly, so Harrison Ford took over and was fair in the first film, but great in the second. Then came Ben Affleck and Chris Pine, both great choices, but they got two of the most poorly written entries in the series and in the genre, killing their chances to do a few fils each. What a disaster and this series does its

Han-min Kim's Noryang: Deadly Sea (2023) is a Korean epic (at 153 minutes!) concludes a trilogy by the director of Hansan: Rising Dragon in 2022:


...and The Admiral: Roaring Currents in 2014:


So this joins our coverage of those releases, all on Blu-ray, taking place in 1598 as the Japanese try to overtake Korea by sea, but it does not work out as expected. These can all be seen as biopics of sorts (even if the title of this last film refers to a body of water, we learn about plenty of the men involved), but like the others for me (versus my fellow writer who liked them more) just felt they went on and on despite the good acting and money in the production. They are about on par with each other, but if you are going to watch start with the first film.

In a nod to Kim, easily my favorite film of his is War Of The Arrows (2011) which I reviewed here:


Hope it gets a 4K upgrade at some point.

Extras include an Original Theatrical Trailer and Character Profiles.

Quarxx's Pandemonium (2023) is the kind of film we have seen before at first, where people die, but are not necessarily aware they are dead yet. From the best Twilight Zone episodes to the likes of the overrated Sixth Sense with Bruce Willis, this French production leans towards the latter reminiscent in the worst way of the also overrated Wender's Wings Of Desire (which itself inspired the odd remake City Of Angels with Nicolas Cage) where only one person can see the dead, then Peter Falk shows up as Columbo for some reason!

In this case, it starts out mixed, then takes its leads literally into hell and never recovers from being such a mess. Corny, dated, off and destroying any suspension of disbelief, some people liked this one, but I am not part of that audience either. The French cast is not bad, but it also wants to emulate Jeunet's work and that falls flat for me too. This is the kind of narrative Quarxx has been dealign with in almost all his work, but the one title I still want to see of his is an older short (sadly not included here) is his 2012 short Zeropolis. I bet there are a few new reasons that will come up again as we post.

See this one at your own risk.

Extras (per the press release) include:

  • Different Textures, a brand new interview with writer/director Quarxx

  • Tony The Monster, a brand new interview with writer/director Quarxx and special make-up/FX supervisor Olivier Afonso

  • Filming A Real Birth, a brand new interview with writer/director Quarxx sharing a behind-the-scenes look at the filming of a birth

  • Footage from the film's 2023 premiere in Paris

  • Making of featurette

  • Trailer

  • Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Dare Creative

  • Double-sided fold-out poster featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Dare Creative

  • and an Illustrated Collector's Booklet featuring new writing on the film by Anton Bitel, and a director's statement and director Q&A.

Now for playback performance. The 2160p HEVC/H.265, different-each-season various aspect ratios, Dolby Vision/HDR (10; Ultra HD Premium)-enhanced Ultra High Definition image on Jack Ryan 4K have a style dictated by the genre, a little dark, focused on electronics and video screens, but with variation. Cliches notwithstanding, this also has some nice outdoor and indoor work and is the best performer on the list as expected. When it gets very dark, I did not have any issues with that and thought that was actually a welcome development.

[For the record, the 4Ks of the feature films are a mixed bag, with October 4K needing more work, Danger 4K OK, but the first three films (including Patriot Games 4K) having odd color issues and limits, so who knows what happened there, but you have been warned.]

The 1080p 1.85 X 1 digital High Definition image on Creation is the second-best performer with surprisingly good color for the genre and though we get plenty (too much?) digital CGI work, they spend some serious money on sets, costumes and make-up and its shows.

The 1080p 2.35 X 1 High Definition image transfer on Creation is more like the softer, color-challenged/subdued approach we've seen in the genre (no matter the country of origin) and is more challenging to view.

Ditto to the 1080p 2.35 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer on Pandemonium has the same softness issues, despite being a different genre and its not soft just because it deals with spirits and death. Color is subdued here too, but it is not as out of place.

All releases have DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mixes, save the last two seasons of Ryan in lossless Dolby Atmos, which sound good too, but are not that much better than the first two. Guess that's why they did not upgrade the earlier seasons to that sound format? Pandemonium adds a lossless French PCM 2.0 Stereo mix to its DTS 5.1 mix. Creation and Noryang were theatrical Dolby Atmos, but only have their DTS 5.1 mixers here, so they could sound even better and maybe we'll encounter that with any 4K releases of those titles, but the rest sounds as good as it ever will. The sound can have some good moments, but no major standouts across all the releases, but any English dubs offered are not as good.

- Nicholas Sheffo


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