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Category:    Home > Reviews > Martial Arts Cycle > Literature > Shakespeare > Legend Of The Black Scorpion – Two Disc Ultimate Edition (aka The Banquet/Dragon Dynasty DVD Set)

Legend Of The Black Scorpion – Two Disc Ultimate Edition (aka The Banquet/Dragon Dynasty DVD Set)


Picture: C+     Sound: B-     Extras: C+     Film: C+



Loosely 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.


Some of 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.


The 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


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