Written by: Michael Den Boer on July 15th, 2013
Theatrical Release Date: China, 2012
Director: Stephen Fung
Writers: Chia-lu Chang, Kuo-fu Chen, Hsiao-tse Cheng
Cast: Yuan Xiaochao, Qi Shu, Tony Leung Ka Fai, Angelababy, Eddie Peng, Daniel Wu, Stephen Fung, Peter Stormare, Yin Tse, Di Wu, Jade Xu, Wei Ai Xuan, Biao Yuen
BluRay released: July 2nd, 2013
Approximate running time: 106 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
Narrative wise Tai Chi Hero picks up right where its predecessor Tai Chi Zero left off.
Now married Yu Niang the daughter of the villages master arts grandmaster. This film’s protagonist Yang Lu Chan still finds himself at odds with the majority of the villagers. With his only hope of learning their legendary fighting style falling squarely on the shoulders of his bride.
Of course that is just the tip of the ice berg as this ends up being a minor threat when once again the village is being threatened by outsiders who are determined to destroy their way of life. Fortunately for the villagers they once again Yang Lu Chan comes to their rescue.
Though one could easily draw many similarities between Tai Chi Hero and its predecessor Tai Chi Zero. It is the way in which Yang Lu Chan gets from A to B that makes Tai Chi Hero the stronger of the two films. Also Tai Chi Hero does a much better job with back-story and establishing everyone’s motivations are? Where the events which unfolded in Tai Chi Zero feel rushed and the resolution all to abrupt.
The steam punk visually style that was such an integral part of Tai Chi Zero is also prevalent throughout and dare I say even more impressively realized. And though the visuals are often striking one must overlook the superbly executed again set pieces. Which where once again choreographed by Sammo Hung (Magnificent Butcher). With this film’s most jaw dropping moment being a fight sequence between Yang Lu Chan (Yuan Xiaochao) and Li Qiankun (Yuen Biao) who gracefully fight a top kitchen panels as people prepare food below them.
The most surprising aspect of this film was how much more I enjoyed the performances then I had been while watching Tai Chi Zero. With that being said, this might be more with me being familiar with the characters this time around. Then the actors performances actually being that drastically different between these two films. Since these two films where shot closely together.
Overall Tai Chi Hero is a solid action film and one of those rare instances where the sequel is superior in every way to its predecessor.
Tai Chi Hero comes on a 25 GB single layer BluRay. The film is presented in a 1080 progressive anamorphic widescreen. Quality wise the transfer for this release is on par with Well Go USA’s transfer for Tai Chi Zero.
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. Range wise all four audio mixes get the job done as dialog always comes through clearly and everything sounds balanced. The fight scenes especially sound great on the DTS-HD 5.1 mixes. Also included with this release are removable English subtitles that are easy to read and follow.
Extras for this release include two trailer for the film and a ‘Making of’ documentary (1 hour and 50 seconds – anamorphic widescreen, Chinese with English subtitles). Topics discussed include stunts / fight choreography, the look of the film and various other production related topics. Other extras include trailers for other titles also available from Well Go USA. Overall Tai Chi Hero gets a first rate release from Well Go USA.
Note: This film is also being released by Well Go USA on DVD.