Written by: Michael Den Boer on August 18th, 2010
Theatrical Release Date: Hong Kong, 2010
Director: Daniel Lee
Writers: Abe Kwong, Daniel Lee
Cast: Donnie Yen, Wei Zhao, Chun Wu, Kate Tsui, Yuwu Qi, Kuan Tai Chen, Hak On Fung, Chen Zhi Hui, Sammo Hung Kam-Bo, Damian Lau, Kar-Ying Law, Ma Wu, Xiang Dong Xu
BluRay released: August 16th, 2010
Approximate running time: 113 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 Widescreen / 1080 Progressive
Rating: 15 (UK)
Sound: DTS-HD Master 5.1 Mandarin, Dolby Digital Stereo Mandarin
BluRay Release: Icon Home Entertainment
Region Coding: Region B
Retail Price: £17.99
Synopsis: A secret service agent becomes a wanted man after he is betrayed by one of his colleagues.
14 Blades was co-written and directed by Daniel Lee (Black Mask, Moonlight Express). The cinematographer on 14 Blades was Tony Cheung, who’s other notable film’s as a cinematographer include Legend of the Drunken Master, Black Mask, Eye in the Sky and Mulan.
From a visual stand point 14 Blades is beautifully photographed film that features many exquisitely composed shots. Another area where this film excels are its action sequences. With the action sequence that introduces Donnie Yen character Qing Long a secret service agent being the film’s most memorable moment. In short all of the action sequences are all very good.
Unfortunately the plot is not as well constructed as the action sequences. Outside of the film’s two main characters Qing Long and a young woman named Qiao Hua, very little time is spent building up any of the other characters. In fact the predictability of the story at hand eliminates virtual any chance of being surprised by what happens next. Even though the film opens and closes with two grandiose action set pieces. The bulk of the film is spent building up a romance between the Qing Long and Qiao Hua characters.
Despite the shortcomings of the plot. The film works as well as it does because of the performance of its cast with the stand out performance coming from Donnie Yen. Who gives a well rounded performance that is emotionally engaging and psychical impressive. Other notable performances include Wei Zhao (So Close) in the role of Qiao Hua and Kate Tsui in the role of Tuo Tuo one of the film’s main villains. Her character has snake like hair (think Medusa) and her weapons are equally venomous. Ultimately when all is said and done, 14 Blades makes up for its lack of substance with its abundance of style.
14 Blades comes on a 50 GB dual layer BluRay. The film is presented in a 1080 progressive anamorphic widescreen. Colors look nicely saturated and accurate. Flesh tones look healthy, black levels are strong and details look sharp throughout. There are no problems with compression or DNR.
This release comes with two audio options, a DTS-HD Master 5.1 audio mix in Mandarin and a Dolby Digital stereo mix in Mandarin. Quality wise both audio mixes sound great. With the stronger of the two being the DTS-HD Master 5.1 Mandarin track that really excels during the actions sequences. English subtitles that are easy to follow and error free have been included. It should be noted that the subtitles are non removable.
Extras for this release include a trailer for the film (2 minutes 36 seconds – anamorphic widescreen, in Mandarin with English subtitles) and a ‘Making of’ segment (20 minutes 48 seconds – anamorphic widescreen, in Mandarin with English subtitles) with comments from director Daniel Lee, actors Donnie Yen, Chun Wu, Yuwu Qi, actresses Wei Zhao, Kate Tsui, director of photography Tony Cheung, producer Susanna Tsang and composer Henry Lai. Also included with this release are previews for other films also released by Icon Home Entertainment. Overall 14 Blades gets a solid BluRay release from Icon Home Entertainment.