Written by: Michael Den Boer on October 7th, 2012
Theatrical Release Date: China, 2011
Director: Frankie Chan
Cast: Cecilia Cheung, Xiaoqing Liu, Richie Ren, Pei-pei Cheng, Xiao Ming Yu, Na Yu, Kathy Chow, Yukari Ôshima, Qiao-qiao Jin, Chun-yan Ge, Zhou Xiao-fei, Zhao Qian-yu, Dong Liu, Zihan Chen, Katy Wang, Yang Zi-Tong, Ma Wu, Wai Lam
BluRay released: October 16th, 2012
Approximate running time: 108 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 Widescreen / 1080 Progressive
Sound: DTS-HD 5.1 Mandarin, Dolby Digital Stereo Mandarin, DTS-HD 5.1 English, Dolby Digital Stereo English
BluRay Release: Well Go USA
Region Coding: Region A
Retail Price: $29.98
Content wise, Legendary Amazons follows the blue print laid out by countless other ‘historical’ epics which have been coming out of China over the last decade. The plot is fast moving and there is the requisite amount of back-story interjected throughout the story at hand, but the end result is far from a smooth ride.
First off, the leap of faith that this film requires is so monumental that many viewers will check out long before the predictable ending. Secondly, the film struggles with its over the top action set pieces that will leave you shaking your head in frustration and bewilderment. One grandiose moment is a scene in which soldiers lay out their bodies and construct a bridge. But even more implausible is how the novice warriors, the women of the Yang clan, overcome great odds to escape defeat. Such an act could happen once, maybe a twice, but after a few times it quickly becomes old-hat.
Legendary Amazons was directed by Frankie Chan, a veteran of the Hong Kong film industry, who is more known for the film scores that he composed for Kar Wai Wong’s Chungking Express, Ashes of Time and Fallen Angels. Though Legendary Amazons is the nineteenth film that he has directed, it is the first in eleven years.
On paper Legendary Amazons should have been so much more than what appeared on screen, but there are just so many things that don’t quite gel. The resulting feature is a tough sale, even to the most diehard fan of Chinese action cinema.
Legendary Amazons comes on a 25 GB single layer BluRay. The film is presented in a 1080 progressive anamorphic widescreen. The transfer looks very good as colors and flesh tones look accurate, details look crisp and black levels look consistently good throughout. There are no problems with compression and DNR is kept in check.
This release comes with four audio options, a DTS-HD 5.1 mix in Mandarin, a Dolby Digital Stereo mix in Mandarin, a DTS-HD 5.1 mix in English and a Dolby Digital Stereo mix in English. All for audio options are clean and clear throughout. With this film strongest audio option being the DTS-HD 5.1 mix in Mandarin. This audio mix is by far and away the most impressive one included with this release. Just compare it with the DTS-HD 5.1 mix in English and you will quickly see the differences in range between these two audio mixes. The DTS-HD 5.1 mix in Mandarin offers a dynamic audio experience that is completely satisfying. Also included with this release are removable English subtitles.
Extras for this release include a trailer for the film (1 minutes 29 seconds – anamorphic widescreen, in English) and a ‘Making of’ featurette (54 minutes 55 seconds – anamorphic widescreen, in Chinese with English subtitles). The ‘Making of’ featurette is your standard PR look into a production. It is heavy on clips from the film and on-set footage, which is interspersed with comments from those involved with this production. Before the ‘Making of’ featurette there is a disclaimer stating the audio / video for this extra in not in the greatest of shape. Also included with this release are trailers for other titles also available from Well Go USA. Overall Legendary Amazons gets a strong release from Well Go USA
Note: This film is also being released by Well Go USA on DVD.