Written by: Michael Den Boer on May 25th, 2016
Theatrical Release Date: Hong Kong / China, 2014
Director: Roy Hin Yeung Chow
Writer: Chi-long To
Cast: Sammo Kam-Bo Hung, Eddie Peng, Luodan Wang, Boran Jing, Cho-Lam Wong, Junjie Qin, Byron Mann, Tai-Yu Gao, Tony Ka Fai Leung, Angelababy, Peng Yuyan, Jin Zhang
BluRay released: May 24th, 2016
Approximate running time: 132 Minutes
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 Widescreen / 1080 Progressive / MPEG-4 AVC
Sound: DTS-HD 5.1 Mandarin, DTS-HD 5.1 English, Dolby Digital Stereo Mandarin, Dolby Digital Stereo English
BluRay Release: Well Go USA
Region Coding: Region A
Retail Price: $29.98
Rise of the Legend was directed by Roy Hin Yeung Chow (Murderer, Nightfall). Key collaborators on Rise of the Legend include, cinematographer Man-Ching Ng (Legend of the Fist: The Return of Chen Zhen, Rigor Mortis), composer Shigeru Umebayashi (In the Mood for Love) and screenwriter Chi-long To (Fearless).
Though this film does single out one character, a young man named Wong Fei Hung who is driven by the death of his father at the hands of a crime boss named Master Lui. This narrative does not play outs more like a character ensemble, since there are way too many characters in this film who play a large role in the story at hand. And it would be a great disservice to write them off a merely secondary characters. With that being said, it is ultimately this film’s well defined characters that prove to be its greatest asset.
The film’s features a strong premise, a group of orphans wait for years until the time is write to eliminate Master Lui, the reasonable for killing their loved ones. From there one of them infiltrates Master Lui’s organization by becoming one of his adopted son’s. Then after years of laying in waiting, the orphans are bale to exact their plan. With the film culminating in a final showdown between Fei and Master Lui.
As you can see, structurally this film follows familiar ground in the evolution of Wong Fei Hung character and when it comes to its clear distinction between who is good and who is bad? Fortunately, despite its moments of familiarity, there is an ample amount of things that are unique to this film and help drive its narrative. And when it comes to fight scenes, this film delivers and then some. Also another strength of said fight scenes is how inventive they are. With one of this film’s most exhilarating fight scenes being a scene where Wong Fei Hung who wants to join Master Lui’s gang and to prove his loyalty. He is given the task of bringing Master Lui the head of his rival.
Performance wise the entire cast are great in their respective roles. With this film’s standout performance coming from Eddie Pang (Tai Chi Zero, Tai Chi Hero) in the role of Wong Fei Hung, a character that is well known in Chinese cinema. He delivers an energetic performance that perfectly captures the essence of the character. Other performances of note include, Sammo Kam-Bo Hung (The Magnificent Butcher) in the role of Master Lui and Angelbaby (Young Detective Dee: Rise of the Sea Dragon) in the role of Orchid, a courtesan who has links to Wong Fei Hung’s past.
Rise of the Legend comes on a 50 GB dual layer BluRay. The film is presented in a 1080 progressive widescreen. Colors and flesh tones look accurate, details look crisp, black and contrast level look strong throughout. Also there are no issues with DNR or compression.
This release comes with four audio options, a DTS-HD 5.1 mix in Chinese, a Dolby Digital Stereo mix in Chinese, a DTS-HD 5.1 mix in English and a Dolby Digital Stereo mix in English. The DTS-HD tracks are by far and away the most dynamic of the audio tracks included with this release. With the action set pieces taken full advantage of audio spectrum. Also dialog is always clear and everything sounds balanced throughout. And removable English subtitles have been included with this release.
Extras for this release include, a trailer for the film, a collection of “Making of” segments that is broken done into five categories’ – Characters (2 minutes 11 seconds, in Chinese with English subtitles), Eddie Peng (1 minute 51 seconds, in Chinese with English subtitles), Injuries (2 minutes 9 seconds, in Chinese with English subtitles), Cinematography (2 minutes 19 seconds, in Chinese with English subtitles) and Special Effects (2 minutes 10 seconds, in Chinese with English subtitles).
Other extras include, trailers for other films also available from Well Go USA. Overall Rise of the Legend gets a solid audio / video presentation from Well Go USA.
Note: This film is also being released by Well Go USA on DVD.