Movie Review: SHADOW (Blu-ray Combo Pack)

SHADOW was directed by Zhang Yimou from a screenplay he co-wrote with Wei Li and stars Deng Chao, Sun Li, Zheng Kai, Wang Qianyuan, Hu Jun, Guan Xiaotong, Leo Wu and Wang Jingchun.

In a kingdom ruled by a young and unpredictable king, the military commander has a secret weapon: a “shadow”, a look-alike who can fool both his enemies and the King himself.  Now he must use this weapon in an intricate plan that will lead his people to victory in a war that the King does not want.

When Commander Ziyu (Deng Chao) challenges Yang Cang (Hu Jun) to a fight over a city his people lost years earlier, it doesn’t set well with the unstable king of Pei (Zheng Kai) who doesn’t want another war but he’s also aware that his best warrior can’t defeat Yang Cang. The thing is, Commander Ziyu isn’t who he appears to be, his real name is Jingzhou, a lookalike who’s been filling in for the real Ziyu who was severely wounded during his duel with Yang Cang. Jingzhou becomes Ziyu’s Shadow and begins his intense training (and abuse) for the rematch. Ziyu puts his student through hell in more ways than one which will ultimately backfire on him.

When the time comes, Jingzou finally comes face-to-face with Yang Cang and they begin to fight. The thing is, they’re not the only ones in battle because the two armies have also started fighting their own epic war filled with an alarming amount of bloodshed. Jingzou finds a way to defeat Yang Cang but when he returns to home, the victory isn’t enough for the unstable king who turns on the hero. This is when Ziyu comes from out of the shadows and exacts his revenge on the king but it’s also the opportunity for Jingzou to pay back Ziyu for the way he treated him earlier.

The packaging comes with a slipcover/o-card. The front features the artwork you see at the top of the page and the back includes movie details, some images and list of special features. Each disc features its own individual artwork. Inserting the disc, the menu screen was simple and easy to navigate. The picture and sound quality for the high-definition disc were crisp and clear. The picture and sound quality for the standard-definition disc were really good. I didn’t have any issues with the video and audio.

Bottom line is, Shadow ended up being an amazing watch with an intense story (almost legendary-like and with a twist) about these two warring sides that have had an uneasy truce that’s forced to come to an end so true peace can ultimately begin. The characters were all fun to follow but the standout here is the way the movie was shot. Shadow is a visually stunning slice of cinema that features some impressive camera work and cinematography. The camera not only captures the grand sets and exotic locations but there’s so much action to go along with it and it’s also captured masterfully. The fight scenes and stunt work were absolutely amazing as you’d expect from a movie like this but some of these exciting battles were so massive in scale it’s impressive how the camera was able to capture it all. The umbrella fights were epic! All in all, I’d have to say that Zhang Yimou has delivered an amazing movie that fans of martial arts and fantasy movies are really going to enjoy. This incredible wuxia action epic will be available on Blu-ray and DVD on August 13th.

Distributor: Well Go USA

Run Time: 116 Minutes

Rated: Not Rated

Blu-ray Video: 1080p High-Definition 16×9 Widescreen (2.39:1)

Blu-ray Audio: Mandarin Dolby Atmos / English (dub) Dolby Digital 5.1

DVD Video: 16×9 Widescreen (2.39:1)

DVD Audio: Mandarin and English (dub) Dolby Digital 5.1

Subtitles: English and Chinese

Special Features: The extras include some Behind-the-Scenes footage and a “Making of” featurette.

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