Written by: Michael Den Boer on March 6th, 2012
Theatrical Release Date: Hong Kong, 2004
Directors: Patrick Leung, Corey Yuen
Writer: Han-min Kim
Cast: Edison Chen, Donnie Yen, Charlene Choi, Gillian Chung, Bingbing Fan, Daniel Wu, Ying Qu, Jaycee Chan, Jackie Chan
BluRay released: March 6th, 2012
Approximate running time: 106 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Widescreen / 1080 Progressive
Sound: DTS-HD 5.1 Cantonese, Dolby Digital Stereo Cantonese, DTS-HD 5.1 English, Dolby Digital Stereo English
BluRay Release: Well Go USA
Region Coding: Region A
Retail Price: $29.98
Blade of Kings was co-directed by Corey Yuen, who’s other notable films’ include Yes Madam!, Above the Law and So Close. Corey Yuen also served as the action director on Blade of Kings. Visuals play an integral part in Blade of Kings, as the film relies more on style, then substance and Chi Ying Chan lush cinematography (Tokyo Raiders, The Lost Bladesman) makes sure that there is never a shortage of eye candy on display. Though this film is being released under the title Blade of Kings, this film is more known under this alternative title The Twins Effect 2.
The plot does a good job setting who everyone is and what their motivations are? With that being said, there are many things is this film’s plot that requires the audience to take a leap of faith in. Most notably how all the men have become subservient to the women population. And how the only way that things can ever go back to way they once were, is if the chosen one embraces his destiny by finding a mythical sword. One would have thought that there could have countless other ways in which the men population could have exerted their power. But alas in this world there can only be one person, who can overthrow the evil queen and return society back to the an era in which men are one again masculine.
Problems with the plot aside, the films action set pieces far much better. In fact they are the only thing saving this film from being a total waste of celluloid. And while these aforementioned action sequences serves as this film’s back bone, they lack the inventiveness that has become synonymous with Hong Kong action cinema. The film’s most memorable moment it a action sequence in which Jackie Chan (1911) and Donnie Yen (Legend of the Fist: The Return of Chen Zhen) square off against each other.
Without a doubt the most disappoint aspect of this film are the performances from the entire cast, who give lifeless performances that are in line with bland story at hand. For many fans of Hong Kong cinema, the main reason to watch this film is its two leading ladies Charlene Choi (Kung Fu Dunk) and Gillian Chung (The Twins Effect). Unfortunately, this is easily their most forgettable collaboration. And while their performances are rather lackluster, there are other performances that are far worse, Jaycee Chan (Invisible Target) in the role of the ‘Chosen One’. Ultimately Blade of Kings is a mediocre action extravaganza, that even the most diehard Hong Kong aficionados will shake their heads in disbelief at what is unfolding onscreen.
Blade of Kings comes on a 25 GB single layer BluRay. The film is presented in a 1080 progressive anamorphic widescreen. Colors look vibrant, black levels look very good and details look sharp throughout. There are no problems with compression and DNR has been kept in check.
This release comes with four audio options, a DTS-HD 5.1 mix in Cantonese, a Dolby Digital Stereo mix in Cantonese, a DTS-HD 5.1 mix in English and a Dolby Digital Stereo mix in English. All four audio mixes in in very good shape as dialog is always clear and everything sounds balanced. The best of these four audio mixes is the DTS-HD 5.1 mix in Cantonese. Range wise this audio mixes does a superb job with the more ambient aspects of the soundtrack and another area in which this mix stands out is how robust the fight sequences sound. Also included with this release are removable English subtitles.
Extras for this release include a music video, 2 trailers for the film and a ‘Behind the Scenes’ segment (12 minutes 2 seconds – 4:3 full frame, in Chinese with English subtitles) that includes comments from the cast, who discusses the characters which they portray in this film. Rounding out the extras included with this release are trailers for other titles also available from Well Go USA. Overall Blade of Kings gets a strong audio / video presentation from Well Go USA.
Note: Also included with this combo release is a DVD copy that has all the contents that are included on the BluRay counterpart.