• Legendary Amazons



    Released by: Well Go USA
    Released on: October 16, 2012.
    Director: Frankie Chan
    Cast: Cecilia Cheung, Xiaoquing Liu, Richie Ren, Pep-pei Cheng, Xiao Ming Yu
    Year: 2011
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    The Movie:

    Produce by Jackie Chan and directed by Frankie Chan, Legendary Amazons doesn’t reinvent the wheel but it does manage to conjure up a warm nostalgic feeling for those who remember the colorful and chaotic Shaw Brothers style martial arts films of the seventies.

    A period film, the story is set in China and beings during a war between the Song Dynasty and the Western Xia Dynasty where the Song’s General Yang Zongbao (Ritchie Jen) and his troops are about to meet certain death at the hands of their opponents. Before they’re slaughtered, Yang sends a courier pigeon with a lock of his hair to his wife, Mu Guiying (Cecilia Cheung), which she receives and somehow takes as an indicator that her husband and his men are all dead.

    With all of the Yang men basically dead, except for Mu’s song eighteen year old son, Yang Wenguang (Xiao Mingyu), she decides to rally the ladies to head out and avenge the deaths of their husbands and to take out the Xia crew before they themselves are overtaken. The make the strange decision of appointing Wenguang their leader and then leave their village, armed to the teeth, to exact their revenge. Of course, missions of this ilk are never easy…

    Pretty much every second of every minute of Legendary Amazons is so hyperbolically melodramatic and over the top that you can’t help but have a good time with it. The script is a bit of a mess – characters disappear and then reappear and some may even be invulnerable – but the film doesn’t want for ridiculous action scenes. Though they’re done almost entirely using (some very obvious) green screen technology, they have an appropriately flamboyant comic book style to them that, if realism isn’t required, make them enjoyable enough.

    As far as the performances go, they’re suitably boisterous. There’s no such thing as subtlety here, the script doesn’t call for it so no one bothers with it. Cecilia Cheung (she of the Edison Chen photo scandal fame!) looks fantastic here and sure is pretty and resplendent in the various colorful outfits she sports throughout the movie but doesn’t quite convince they way, say, Michelle Yeoh might have during her heyday. As the leader of the group, she’s not particularly convincing but again, nobody involved in this picture cared about realism, and evidently that applied to the casting just as much as anything else. The film features fantastic use of color throughout and is chock full of interesting camera movements, great sets and wonderful looking costumes. The movie chews through cast members far too quickly for us to care about anyone but if superficial action and style over substance is the name of the game (and it frequently is), this is a fun way to kill some time if far from a modern classic or the ‘genre breakthrough’ that the quote on the cover art claims it is.

    Video/Audio/Extras:

    The AVC encoded 2.35.1 widescreen 1080p high definition picture on this disc is excellent. Detail is strong, colors are reproduced naturally and without having been artificially pumped up and black levels are nice and deep throughout the presentation. Some questionable use of CGI looks a little off, but that’s an issue with the effect itself and not the transfer. There are no issues at all with dirt, debris or visual detriments of any kind and the disc is well authored, showing no noise reduction or heavy edge enhancement. Outside of some slight shimmer here and there, the movie looks excellent in high definition.

    Chinese language audio options are provided in DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio and Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo with removable subtitles available in English only. An optional English language dubbed track is also provided, but really, the only way to watch this movie is the lossless option, as it’s an impressive one from start to finish that does a remarkable job of putting you right in the middle of the action. The score is spread around perfectly with some nice pans thrown in for dramatic effect while bass response is consistent in its power but never to the point where it buries anything that it shouldn’t. It’s hard to think of anything negative to say here, this is pretty much a reference quality mix.

    Extras include a trailer for the feature and a fifty-five minute long behind the scenes featurette that is made up of a load of fly-on-the-wall footage. A warning tells us ahead of time that the A/V quality is a bit rough, and it is, but there are some interesting bits and pieces here that make it worth skimming through.

    The Final Word:

    Legendary Amazons is an entertaining slice of style over substance. It isn’t deep, it isn’t revolutionary, and it isn’t as intense or delirious as some might have hoped for but it is fun, beautiful to look at, and decent entertainment through and through. Well Go USA’s Blu-ray has one solid extra of note and features near perfect audio and video quality.