Saturday 1 January 2011

DVD Reviews

Blood of Warriors: Sacred Ground
Starring: Winai Kraibutr, Jaran Ngamdee, Theerayut Pratyabamrung
Director: Thanit Jitnukul

Available from Monday 3rd January - £15.99 (DVD)
Review by Blake Harmer

When the Burmese army start to head through the land, raping and pillaging many villagers and taking them as prisoners to be used as slaves, it is up to a Buddhist monk and his warriors of the Yantric Cloth to liberate the people and strike back against the Burmese army. But with more people joining their number forcing their resources to become stretched, will they succeed in pushing back the Burmese army before it is too late?

As far as weapons-based kung Fu action films go, this is a more plot heavy affair rather than pure all out action. That isn’t to say that action isn’t strong. The battles are bloody with lots of gore splashing out of bodies and onto the camera. The sword play is also quite fast paced and brutal, although individual battles never last too long and normally end up with loss of limbs or being stabbed. This has a more barbaric, hack and slash feel rather than the speedy over-choreographed sword fights that are seen in a lot of Chinese Kung Fu movies.

However, seeing that this is an action film at its heart, there really isn’t anything here that hasn’t been seen before. The choreography on show is nothing really to truly shout about. The special effects are pretty poor but thankfully used sparsely, and the storyline, whilst strong enough to hold your interest throughout, is hardly ground breaking material.

So what we have here at the end of the day is a fairly enjoyable action film that suffers with not really doing anything to separate itself from the hundreds of other kung Fu movies out there.

The Emotionally Fourteen Rating
Plenty of shooting, slicing and stabbing to keep action fans happy, not to mention with plenty of blood as well.
Sex/Nudity: Some references.
Swearing: Not really.
Summary: An enjoyable actioner with some god fight scenes and fairly enjoyable storyline to keep fans of Kung Fu happy. However, with so many Kung Fu movies out there doing what Blood of Warriors does only better. There really isn’t a lot here to recommend it on. Still worth a watch though, just don’t expect to be blown away by it. 6/10.
Naruto Shippudden Season Three
Starring: Kate Higgins, Maile Flanagan & Yuri Lowenthal
Director: Hayato Date
Manga Video
Available Now - £24.99 (DVD)
Review by Rob Wade

After fierce battles with the Akatsuki, Sakura, Granny Chiyo, Kakashi, and Naruto have finally retrieved Gaara from Deidara's clutches. But is it all too late? Back in the Leaf Village, Kakashi's on bed rest for overusing his Mangekyo Sharingan, and Naruto's preparing to recruit some of his friends for Team Kakashi. But the village elders have beat him to it, and their choice of the unfeeling Sai has Naruto spitting mad!

One of the things that you tend to notice when you watch any sort of cartoon or animé for long enough is how the characters age along with the series, in order to effectively age along with the audience as well. Brad will tell you at length how awesome Ben 10 has been going as this trend has continued, and rightly so. Thankfully, it seems that the creators of Naruto Shippudden are following in the same vein. The series opens with one of the main characters suffering slightly from a sword through the abdomen.

In terms of more mature and dark content, this series deals heavily with Naruto being implanted (for lack of a better word) with the spirit of the Nine-Tailed Fox, who begins to make more of an appearance when Naruto himself gets pissed off. This is well implemented, with Naruto himself coming to terms with the fact that he is one of only a few who have this power. The theme throughout the first part of the series is pretty much “you don’t want to see what happens when he gets all nine tails”, and this sense of intrigue makes the series much fresher than previous iterations.

Add to this that the violence has jumped up considerably, and you have yourself one hell of an animé. I’d be very surprised if this wouldn’t appeal to a lot more people than I initially thought when I began my journey with Naruto. The only criticism I really have with this set is the same that I usually have with sets, in that you have to have been invested from earlier on in the canon for any of it to make any sort of logical sense whatsoever.

The Emotionally Fourteen Rating
I watched Naruto punch someone to death. Win.
Sex/Nudity: None still.
Swearing: “Bastard” is a commonly occurring one.
Summary: Not for early adopters, but a really strong entry in the series. 8/10

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