Legend Of The Black Scorpion – Two Disc Ultimate
Edition (aka The Banquet/Dragon Dynasty DVD Set)
Picture: C+ Sound: B- Extras: C+ Film: C+
based on Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Feng Xiaogang’s Legend Of The Black Scorpion (aka The Banquet/2006) is a lush production that has some fine moments,
but runs on longer than expected and is more melodramatic than many of the
martial arts costume epics we have seen lately is. At least the battle scenes are not depended
on obvious wire work, though there was more slow motion than expected.
it is predictable if you know the story, but the acting is not bad and it was
more open about sexuality and some graphicness than expected. However, the original literary source is
still used as a basic model to build this version on instead of being very
close to the source material. Ziyi Zhang
from Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
is the lead and she is good, but then so is the cast including Daniel Wu and an
ambitious cast and crew all around.
It is one
of the more recent and more upscale titles in then now-numerous Dragon
Dynasty’s short release history of such Asian cinema, but if you like this kind
of film, you’ll want to see it at least once and judge for yourself its
successes and shortcomings. Just don’t
expect a masterwork.
anamorphically enhanced 2.35 X 1 image is colorful as the film is, but has some
softness and detail issues that are minor, but hold back the picture
overall. The DTS 5.1 is the best mix,
but like the Dolby Digital options, you can tell the music is recorded better
than the dialogue suggesting the 5.1 upgrades are pushing it a bit. Extras on DVD 1 include another fine audio
commentary by Bey Logan, while DVD 2 adds two interviews (one with director
Xiaogang, the other with star Wu) and two making-of featurettes.
- Nicholas Sheffo