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Judge Joel Pearce's Blog

Judge Joel Pearce • Location: Waterloo, ON Canada
• Member since: March 2004
• 338 full reviews
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Laughing in the Wind Blog Review
October 9th, 2005 5:47AM

Reviewing TV series is a dangerous thing. Sometimes, it's a way to get a sneak peek at a great series for free. If you get a bad one, though, things aren't so rosy. You still have to watch the whole thing, even if you spend the whole time wishing you could yank the disc from the player and hurling into the closest body of water.

The good news: I know now not to request Laughing in the Wind.

This is the first I've heard of this series, or even been aware of Chinese wuxia series. It plays out like a very complicated soap opera with kung-fu injected, introducing dozens of overacting stock characters in the midst of a hail of high kicks and fencing. The action is good, relatively well filmed and plentiful, but the first few episodes don't bode well for the rest of the production. Now, I've never been a fan of early '70s swordplay films, which Laughing in the Wind closely resembled. The show may appeal more to people who love this kind of thing, who are able to overlook some of its not-so-fine points.

If this disc is any indication, Facets Multimedia isn't so much rolling out the red carpet for the series so much as slipping it in the back door. The sample disc crams six episodes onto a single layered disc, and the compression is so bad that my neighbors across the street probably noticed it. The subtitles are poorly written and burned in, so quite a bit of viewing time is spent doing on-the-fly translation. The screener came with no indication whether the final product will look better than this, but I'm sure they will at least get it onto a dual layer disc and fix the compression a bit.

Maybe Laughing in the Wind gets better once you get engrossed in the labyrinthine plot. Maybe the bad acting isn't as distracting once you get to know the characters better. I don't have the patience to wait it out that long. With the flurry of television series released on DVD the past couple of years, it was only a matter of time before we started getting some foreign television releases. The possibilities for the industry are strong, but I doubt Laughing in the Wind is going to open the floodgates.

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