Written by: Michael Den Boer on January 24th, 2013
Theatrical Release Date: China, 2012
Director: Stephen Fung
Writers: Chia-lu Chang, Kuo-fu Chen, Hsiao-tse Cheng
Cast: Yuan Xiaochao, Angelababy, Tony Leung Ka Fai, Eddie Peng, Qi Shu, Daniel Wu, Jade Xu
BluRay released: January 22nd, 2013
Approximate running time: 95 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
First off, it should be mentioned that Tai Chi Zero is the prequel to a film appropriately titled Tai Chi Hero. And while it is customary that every film series start off with an origins story, the way in which it is done in Tai Chi Zero is a mixed bag.
Narrative wise, Tai Chi Zero gives the viewer just enough back-story to keep things moving along. Unfortunately if you are looking for any fully fleshed out characters, then you have come to the wrong place. In fact, throughout the film it quickly becomes apparent that the action set pieces are the star of the show and the story itself is nothing more then background fodder. And to further hinder the story at hand, this film’s cliff hanger ending feels to abrupt and leaves far too many things unresolved.
As mentioned before this film excels most when it comes to spectacle and nowhere is this more evident than in this film’s strong visual style, often referred to as Steampunk. With this film’s most memorable moment being a flashback sequences, that is told as though the viewer is watching a silent film.
Also besides the well executed action sequences, which where choreographed by Sammo Hung (Magnificent Butcher). Another area in which this film is often enjoyable is the way in which its interjects tongue and cheek humor into the story at hand.
Performance wise don’t expect to be blown away and with that being said, the entire are more then adequate in their respective roles. This film’s strongest performance comes from its leading lady Angelababy, in the role of Chen Yunia, the daughter of the man the protagonist is trying to learn martial arts from. Another performance of note is Shu Qi (So Close) in the role of the protagonists’ mother.
Overall Tai Chi Zero is mildly entertaining film that does a good job retaining the classic martial arts genre staples, while trying to infuse a more modern sensibility to the martial arts genre.
Tai Chi Zero comes on a 25 GB single layer BluRay. The film is presented in a 1080 progressive anamorphic widescreen. Contrast and black levels look great throughout. Colors and flesh tones look accurate and details look sharp throughout. There are no issues with compression or DNR.
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 four audio mixes are in excellent shape, with the two DTS-HD 5.1 doing an exceptional job with every aspect of this film’s soundtrack. Also included with this release are removable English subtitles that are easy to read and follow.
Extras for this release include a three trailers for the film, a music video and a brief ‘Behind the Scenes’ segment (5 minutes 42 seconds – anamorphic widescreen, in Chinese with English subtitles). Overall Tai Chi Zero gets a solid audio / video presentation.
Note: This film is also being released by Well Go USA on DVD.