• Knight Of Shadows (Well Go USA) Blu-ray Review

    Released by: Well Go USA
    Released on: January 21st, 2010.
    Director: Vasg
    Cast: Jackie Chan, Zhong Chuxi,
    Lin Bohong, Qiao Shan, Ruan Jingtian
    Year: 2019
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    Knight Of Shadows – Movie Review:

    Pu Songling (Jackie Chan) narrates an animated sequence that begins this 2019 comedic martial arts fantasy picture, telling us of a demon hunter like himself is able to capture various beasts that manage to make it to the Earth’s surface inside his book. From here, we see Pu Songling in action as he does battle with a massive demon fish. He wins the day, and we move from this fantasy world into the ‘real world’ where Pu Songling is seen telling his story to a group of kids he’s hoping to score some cash from.

    Elsewhere, a policeman named Liu Quanzhen (Qiao Shan) is getting acquainted with Yan Fei (Lin Bohong), the newest addition to the force – and it’s a bit awkward for the older man, what with the younger being a bit of a hot shot and all. After solving a jewelry bust, the cops come face to face with a group of women upset that Pu Songling has been messing with their kids using his storytelling tactics. Apparently, the weird little monster buddy that hangs around with Pu Songling has been spooking the kids. Liu asks Yan Fei to take care of the issue for him, and wouldn’t you know it, they hit it off. Pu Songling uses his magical abilities to allow Yan Fei to see the demons that he can see, and soon enough the younger cop has been kicked off the force and partners up with Pu Songling. While this is going on, a beautiful demoness named Nie Xiaoqian (Zhong Chuxi) falls in love with a man named Yan Chixia (Ruan Jingtian) and eventually these subplots start to intertwine as the movie moves towards the finish line.

    We’ve seen a lot of this before in other recent Chinese fantasy films but Chan’s charisma carries this one. Yeah, fine, he’s not doing anything here we haven’t seen him do before, he’s playing the rascal type that he’s played plenty of times before, but he does it so well that you can’t help but love him. He’s just fun to watch here, even if seeing him interact with weird little CGI goblins is kind of odd. Qiao Shan and Lin Bohong are fine in their roles as well, while Ruan Jingtian is also decent here – their characters aren’t always written with all that much depth, but they do fine with the material that they’ve been given. Zhong Chuxi is quite stunning here, decked out in red gowns and looking genuinely beautiful in pretty much every frame she’s in. She’s got an interesting screen presence here and the movie makes the most of it.

    The effects are done pretty much entirely within the digital realm. There’s very little here that carries matter or feels tangible, but to be fair, the design work and the digital animation is done on a better than average level. Yes, it does feel very much like a cartoon in spots, and there are sequences that are pretty much straight up pure animation, but the film earns points for style even if there isn’t substance to match, and the sequences in which an oil painting is ‘brought to life’ are very nicely done.

    It’s worth noting that when this film played Chinese theaters in played in 3-D, but only the 2-D version is offered on this domestic release. As such, expect lots of things to fly towards the screen while watching the picture, things that probably looked really cool in 3-D but which don’t have quite the same effect in this flat presentation.

    Knight Of Shadows – Blu-ray Review:

    The AVC encoded 2.35.1 widescreen 1080p high definition picture on this disc is excellent. Detail is strong, colors are reproduced beautifully and generally the transfer excels in areas of both detail and texture. 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. There is, however, some noticeable banding in spots and a few scenes where you can’t help but notice some compression artifacts. Otherwise, this is a nice-looking picture and the colors really do look amazing here.

    The main audio option on the disc is a Mandarin language track provided in DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio with removable subtitles available in English only. The lossless track here is a good one, with plenty of aggressive surround sound noticeable throughout. The score is spread around perfectly with some nice pans thrown in for dramatic effect while bass response is consistent tight and strong. All in all, this is a nice, well directed mix that does a fine job with the movie. An alternate DTS-HD 2.0 Stereo track is provided in Mandarin alongside English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 and 2.0 tracks but unless you’re not down with subtitles, the lossless Mandarin track is the way to go.

    Extras include a few different trailers and teaser trailers for the feature and a few bonus trailers for other Well Go USA properties that play before the main menu loads.

    Knight Of Shadows – The Final Word:

    Knight Of Shadows is an entertaining mix of action, fantasy and comedy that works as family friendly entertainment (more or less). Chan’s charisma and talent for physical comedy helps this one stand out, and while it’s unlikely this will ever rise to the top of his filmography, those with an appreciation for the genre should enjoy it. Well Go USA’s transfer isn’t perfect but it’s more than decent and while the extras here are slim, the audio is impressive.

    Click on the images below for full sized Knight Of Shadows Blu-ray screen caps!