The Forbidden Kingdom (Blu-ray +
Picture: A-/B Sound: A*/B
Extras: A- Film: B-
the most, if not the most anticipated
Martial Arts movies to ever arrive is 2008’s The Forbidden Kingdom, and for 2 reasons: Li and Chan. Similar to how horror films had always wanted
Freddy and Jason to collide, Martial Arts fans have long awaited to see these
two larger-than-life Martial Artists to come together in the same film.
finally after a long wait and tons of rumors the project gets the go-ahead and
Jet Li and Jackie Chan pair up for an epic film that at it’s core involves what
else…fighting. Oddly enough Rob Minkoff
gets the directing job and the result is mixed.
While most will appreciate the films attempt to be something more along
the lines of 2004’s House of Flying
Daggers, it ends up being too ‘Americanized’, which is a result of
Minkoff’s directing. Li and Chan light
up the screen though and are able to make the film work predominately because
of their status and their ability to work together so well.
storyline is actual quite good and reminds me of something that Akira Kurosawa
would have put together at some point where two fighters (Li and Chan) are put
in charge of training a 21st century fan, who has been summoned to
fight for the freedom of the ‘Monkey King’ and combat against superior fighting
forces. It is only through their
training that he has any chance at all and the Kingdom is on the line. However, Kurosawa would have been more
focused on the character study and aspects of the storyline, whereas a director
like Minkoff is more interested in the commercial qualities of the film and is
more focused on the fighting, than the actual characters. This is where the film becomes mixed.
has pulled no punches with this film knowing that it’s a great title to bring
forth because of the large draw that it will have for fans. This Blu-ray release is perhaps one of their
best to date and offers great performance as well as a load of extras that will
have fans tickled to death. Let’s begin
with the technical aspects of the Blu-ray.
comparison back and forth between the DVD and the Blu-ray the first impression
is that while both have solid transfers in their respective formats, the
Blu-ray is highly detailed with great depth and dimension that delivers a more
life-like presentation. Both transfers
are framed at 2.40 X 1, while the Blu-ray is in High Definition 1080p it offers
amazing color depth where the DVD quickly shows it’s limitations as the colors
are not able to be fully realized.
Darker scenes make this more evident as the softness is more prominent
in the standard definition disc, where the Blu-ray really excels though is the
fight sequences as greater detail can be seen even in faster passages that the
DVD just can’t compute.
the audio is fantastic on both discs, but again the DVD, which is presented in
a Dolby Digital 5.1 mix is no match for the far superior 7.1 DTS-HD lossless
audio track that the Blu-ray boasts.
This is without a doubt one of the better mixes that we have heard in
7.1 in a long time and demonstrates just how much fidelity that Blu-ray can
offer in up to 8-tracks of information.
Having not seen this film theatrical it’s hard to imagine it getting
much better than this. Fight scenes,
dialogue, the musical score, everything just comes through with such energy,
life, fidelity, and overall richness that the DVD just can’t hold a candle to. If ever there were a way to convert someone
to Blu-ray look no further than this title as it quickly shows how great DVD
can be, but how much superior Blu-ray can be even beyond that point. A must for presentation!
rating is based on the viewer having all 7.1 capability in DTS-HD lossless
As if the
presentation wasn’t reward enough, then comes the extras, which are abundant to
say the least. There are several
featurettes that encompass a large degree of topics, mostly directed as Li and
Chan and pairing them together. There is
a blooper reel, deleted scenes with directors commentary, a directors audio
commentary track, plus a pre-production visualization featurette as well, plus
the films casting, interviews, location featurette, and a really cool feature
called “MOLOG” and this if the very first Blu-ray to use this new technology
that enables the user to go Live online and insert shapes, text, audio and
other graphics into the film along with other online users and create blogs for
other users as well. A very nifty little
feature that surely will get lots of attention as a film like this will have a
large enough fan base around the world to warrant such activity. There is also a second disc, which contains
the digital copy of the film as well.
Whew, that’s a lot of stuff! The
same extras are on the DVD minus the interactive online features.
decent film that might disappoint the biggest Martial Art critics, but
entertaining at the same time and far more enjoyable in the Blu-ray format with
all the bells and whistles to boot!
- Nate Goss