Saturday 19 June 2010

DVD Reviews

Fist of Legend
Starring: Siu-hou Chin, Jet Li, Shinobu Nakayama
Director: Gordon Chan
Showbox Media Group Ltd

Available Now - £17.99 (DVD) and £24.99 (Blu-ray)
Review by Blake Harmer

Some of the best Kung Fu movies have the simplest of storylines, such as Bruce Lee's Enter the Dragon and Jackie Chan’s Drunken Master. This is because the plot must always take a back seat to the main point of the movies: The Kung Fu. The same is present in Jet Li’s Fist of Legend: Jet Li is on a mission to avenge the death of his master who was supposedly murdered by the Japanese Black Dragon Clan and to restore the pride and dignity of his Chinese martial arts dojo. That is probably all you need to know as it is pretty much used as an excuse to link up the Kung Fu awesomeness, whilst keeping the viewer interested as well (if all the broken bones and violence don't).

Unlike other Jet Li films such as The Legend, Li doesn’t really mess about with impressive show boaty martial arts, but instead cuts to the point and breaks about thirty people’s legs, arms and jaws within the first five minutes of the film alone. The action doesn’t really let up from there except for some scenes moving the plot along and before you know it Li has kicked the hell out of an entire Japanese dojo, as well as numerous other people. The action is fast and bone-crunchingly meaty with some excellent martial arts on display here. Each fight scene is expertly choreographed.

My only criticism of this superb Kung Fu spectacle is that it seems slightly sped up, this is probably to make the combat look more impressive, but when I know for a fact that Jet Li is fast, I didn’t see it necessary to make the combat any faster than it probably was.

The Emotionally Fourteen Rating:
Lots of broken bones and realistic looking kung fu. It can be safely said that the action and violence is unrelenting throughout.
Sex/Nudity: Some references to sex but nothing is really shown.
Swearing: Some swear words, but the high certification is probably for the amount of violence.
Summary: An explosive Kung Fu movie that doesn’t muck about when it comes to good Kung Fu and impressive set pieces. I highly recommend this to Kung Fu fans, as well newcomers to the genre. This isn’t the best Jet Li movie ever made, but it is definitely up there. 8/10

Starring: Jennifer Love Hewitt, Val Kilmer, Freddie Pinze Jr.
Director: Marc F. Adler and Jason Maurer
20th Century Fox Home Entertainment

Available Now - £19.99 (DVD)
Review by Blake Harmer

Like my review of Alice in Wonderland, Delgo’s plot is sadly not a very original one:

In an exotic divided land, Delgo, an adventurous dreamer but naive teenager, must rally his group of troubled youths, and some unlikely friends, to protect their world from conflict between the terrestrial Lockni people, who harness the mysteries of the land, and the winged Nohrin people, who rule the skies. They lived on the planet in an uneasy peace until Delgo was framed for a crime he did not commit, sparking conflict between the two nations. After enlisting the help of an unlikely friend to escape a Nohri prison, Delgo discovers Imhoff; the king of the Nohrin people is in danger so he must unite the two races against a common foe, the evil Sedessa.

Again, this is a story of an unlikely hero overcoming adversity and stopping a potential war and saving the world from falling into chaos, which we have seen many times before. It also doesn’t help the fact that the graphics can vary from brilliant, to poor, with characters looking rather flat faced at times whilst the actual animation such as the combat is stunning.

Despite these flaws that would condemn most films, Delgo does feature superb voice over work from a strong cast, including Malcolm Macdowell (Fist of The North Star, Tank Girl) and Eric Idle (Christmas Vacation 2, The Secret of Nimh 2), which suit the characters they play perfectly. Also, credit should go towards the character design of not only the main characters but also the creatures that inhabit Delgo’s world. Also, despite the unoriginality of the story, Delgo does tell it well, and whilst this story may not appeal to adults, I’m sure it will be thoroughly enjoyed by younger audiences.

The Emotionally Fourteen Rating:
Lots of fighting and fireworks when magic is cast but nothing gory or over the top. This is intended for younger audiences after all.
Sex/Nudity: None.
Swearing: None.
Summary: A fun and enjoyable movie, albeit uninspiring with some questionable special effects in places. Younger audiences will enjoy this with it possibly gaining some cult status in the future. However, adults will probably tire of it long before the kids do. 6/10

Shawn Michaels: My Journey
Clear Vision
Available Now - £29.99 (DVD)
Review by Omer Ibrahim

"The Heart Break Kid"
"The Show Stopper"
"Mr Wrestlemania"

However you recognise Shawn Michaels, you will undoubtably know that he is, and has been, an integral part of pro wrestling for over 20 years. Reaching all the way back to his pre-WWF days, January 11th 1985, this 3 disc collection gathers an impressive 21 matches as a tribute to the career of the man born Michael Shawn Hickenbottom.

The layout of the DVD is a nice, simple affair. HBK and Michael Cole sit in a dark room and conduct somewhat of an interview. They talk about a stage in Shawn's career, then we're shown a match. More talky, more wrestley, and loop until 3 discs are full.

I really can't pick too many holes in this release. Anything that I can find a problem with is minor, or easily explainable. Can I realy complain that Shawn's choice of hatwear is ridiculous? No. Can I complain that Cole doesn't ask probing enough questions? Yes, but the fact that Michaels goes into more detail than he is asked for covers this well.

My only real problem: The opening sequence of the DVD made me think that HBK may be dead. Now, I know that he's retired, but WWE have taken it a bit far.

Also, some key matches are missing from the set. However, through this, WWE have shown an amazing amount of restraint and intelligence. For example: HBK's stunning Mind Games match with Mankind is not included. It is included on his Boyhood Dream DVD, and on Mick Foley's compilation. So we aren't made to watch a match that we've seen twice before. Plus we are instead given a match between the two that would otherwise have been omitted. Win-win if you ask me (As well as this, if you do want to see the match, you will buy the other releases! Well done Vince McMoney!).

The sit-down interview is suprisingly candid and honest. Shawn's answers are truthful, and he actualy corrects Cole when he gives some WWE-friendly scripted nonsense. Credit goes to him for his integrity and to WWE for having the grapefruits to release it. They gloss over the Montreal Screwjob, thank Thor.

As good as all this is, the DVD's strength is the matches. Not only do they portray the pure talent that Mr. Hickenbottom has, but the sheer weight of footage here is incredibly valuable to any collector.

If all of this won't sell it to you, think about this; Have you ever seen HBK laugh? No? There's a good reason for this. He sounds like Proffesor Frink.

The Emotionally Fourteen Rating:
Usual wrestley action. Michaels is, as we say in the business, really fucking good at bleeding.
Sex/Nudity: Mild DX-era references.
Swearing: Hells and damns. He's a born again Christian y'no!
Summary: If it seems that I'm a bit of a Shawn fanboy, I'm really not. I've heard stories of the man, from people who would know, that I don't like the sound of. However, this DVD is so incredibly good at what it does, there's only one way to score it: 10/10

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