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Category:    Home > Reviews > Martial Arts Cycle > Fantasy > Jade Warrior (2006/Lionsgate DVD)

Jade Warrior (2006/Lionsgate DVD)


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

When an ancient artifact Sampo is un-earthed, the wheels of fate begin to turn in, a down-on-his-luck blacksmith began having visions of a previous life, he was an ancient Chinese warrior in Antti-Jussi Annila’s Jade Warrior (2006).  The Sampo is said to be able to create unending happiness, but it could only be opened when all hope was lost, and the last time it was opened there was a demon seeking to enslave mankind.  With nothing to lose the blacksmith he proceeds to then forge the Sampo, but with each step he begins to remember what happened in his former life...
This film was based on a Finnish legend and set in ancient China with Chinese martial arts combat.  As the modern day blacksmith recalls his past life as a half-Finnish half-Chinese warrior.  As he remembers more of the past, he realizes is not alone, another spirit proceeds to tell him how to forge the relic, but who is this spirit, a friend or foe? Will he get his wish or is the demon just using him?
This film was an interesting blend of two cultures.  It combines Finnish "Kalevala" mythology in a Chinese culture.  The title "Jade Warrior" has more meaning than you might expect.  In Chinese culture, 'Jade' a precious stone often buried with a body, which represents long life and is associated with the idea of reincarnation.  The 'Sampo' comes from the Finnish folklore it is much like the English Grail myth, or the Arabian Magic lamp in bring good fortune, granting one's wish or long/eternal life.  The story is about how a hero fights evil and then returns to his love side, but when tragedy occurs, the hero dies before he is reunited and he becomes trapped in the wheel of karma.  He is then doomed to search for her in each his reincarnations for eternity, but only to never find her.  As the story proceeds, the blacksmith tries to break the cycle of tragic karma.


The anamorphically enhanced 2.35 X 1 image looks good, especially considering this is apparently a 16mm film shoot of some sort.  The Dolby Digital 5.1 mix is not as wide-=ranging as I hoped for and I was disappointed overall.  Extras include trailers and behind the scenes/making of Jade Warrior piece.



-   Ricky Chiang


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