Wu Dang Blu-ray review

  • Actors: Siu-Wong Fan, Wenzhuo Zhao
  • Format: Subtitled
  • Language: Cantonese
  • Subtitles: Cantonese, English
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: Well Go USA
  • Release Date: December 4, 2012
  • Run Time: 94 minutes

  •             Wu Dang is a rather typical martial arts film in many respects, with the right amount of action mixed with sentimentality. The execution of this average martial arts film is what makes it stand apart somewhat, and this is mostly due to action director Corey Yuen, best known for his work choreographing the action in The Transporter. There is a familiar brutality in the hand-to-hand combat of the opening scenes of Wu Dang, which eventually gives way to a more traditional style of Wu Dang Kung Fu.

                Part Indiana Jones and part Crouching Tiger, our hero is an American searching for lost treasures with his daughter during the early days of Republican China. His daughter is a prodigy in kung fu, and it is under the guise of a tournament in a sacred temple that these treasures are stolen. More important than their physical value is a supernatural ability which is said to come from their possession.

                Although I prefer the earlier action which resembles more of a realistic and creative style of fighting to the supernatural martial arts that take over by the end of the film, but Wu Dang is entertaining through and through. Although there is a bit too much forced melodramatic sentimentality, I was never bored or eager for the film to end. This is the sign of good filmmaking; when an average story somehow makes an above average film.

                The Blu-ray release includes a behind-the-scenes featurette and a trailer.  


    Silent Night DVD review

  • Actors: Malcolm McDowell, Jaime King, Donal Logue, Ellen Wong, Brendan Fehr
  • Director: Steven C. Miller
  • Format: Color, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: ANCHOR BAY
  • DVD Release Date: December 4, 2012
  • Run Time: 94 minutes

  •             There have been a number of killer Santa Claus films recently, but none are more significant in the history of horror cinema as the original 1984 slasher film, Silent Night, Deadly Night. This controversial cult classic was banned across America, perhaps due to the fact that the killer dressed as Santa Claus before gruesomely destroying his victims. With several new killer Claus films recently released, a remake of Silent Night, Deadly Night is hardly likely to make the same waves it did in the early 80s.

                In a small Midwestern town which was once a vibrant community, a plant being shut down results in a rise in crime. There is a seedier element to the town, which explains why a serial killer dressed as Santa Claus decides to make an appearance, punishing those he deems naughty. From porn filmmakers in motels to a spoiled child whining about gifts, the killer Claus wreaks havoc on the community while the sheriff (Malcolm McDowell) and his deputy (Jaime King) attempt to hunt him down.

                The killer is mysterious, created from a story of an incident which happened long ago. Where this deviant Claus hides out the rest of the year is a mystery, but he is busy taking down the bad people of a small town during the holidays. These deaths are often gruesome, but not nearly creative enough to standout the way the original did. There are some good moments of suspense, but unfortunately there are just as many moments spoiled by terrible supporting actors.

                The DVD release includes a behind-the-scenes featurette, as well as some deleted scenes.

    Hope Springs DVD review

  • Actors: Meryl Streep, Tommy Lee Jones, Steve Carell
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English, French, Spanish
  • Dubbed: French
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: December 4, 2012
  • Run Time: 100 minutes

  •             Films like Hope Springs are among the rarest to come out of Hollywood. There is an unspoken rule, referred to as “the rule of 40.” It essentially only applies to female actors, and it says that their career ends at 40, and if anything you are resigned to playing the mother in supporting roles. If anyone were to break this rule continuously, it would be Meryl Streep, and nobody is better suited for this rare adult romantic comedy. Not only does it feature older actors in love and romantic (even sexual) situations, but they are a couple who have been married for decades.

                Kay (Streep) and Arnold (Tommy Lee Jones) have a seemingly ordinary and happy life for people of their age, though their relationship has become more routine than romance. In an effort to inspire a change in their rut, Kay spends her own saved money on a retreat to a couples therapist (played by Steve Carell). Although Arnold is reluctant, he goes along with the trip. Stubborn attitudes and a reluctance to let go prevents the couple from immediate success, but each of their sessions is a joy to behold. This is a film in which good acting is paired with a spectacularly thoughtful and eloquent screenplay by Vanessa Taylor.

                The DVD includes a number of great special features, with a gag reel to add even more humor to the package. There is also an informative commentary track by director David Frankel and a featurette about the stars playing the onscreen couple. There are alternate takes in replacement of deleted scenes.