Well Go USA // 2004 // 106 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Roman Martel (Retired) // March 6th, 2012
When Cantonese pop actresses attack, next on DVD Verdict.
Don't let the cover of Blade of Kings deceive you. This is not an action-packed fantasy adventure featuring a battle royale between Donnie Yen (Hero) and Jackie Chan (Kung Fu Panda 2). This is a comedic fantasy adventure featuring the Cantonese pop group Twins, namely Charlene Choi (Vampire Effect) and Gillian Chung (Twins Mission).
In a mystical land ruled by an evil queen, women are in charge. Men are reduced to being slaves known as dumbbells, because of the metal collars with bells they must wear. Because this is a fantasy, there is a prophecy that says a young man will free the land from the queen's tyranny and restore balance between the sexes.
Could that young man be the kind-hearted but naive Charcoal Head (Jaycee Chan, 1911), or the handsome but dimwitted Block Head (Chen Po Lin, Kung Fu Dunk)? It's up to a mysterious man named Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (I'm not kidding) -- played by Donnie Yen -- to figure it out. But he better hurry because one of the queen's assassins, Blue Bird (Chung), is out to kill this would-be savior. Along for the ride is the business savvy 13th Young Master (Choi) who wants to sell Block Head and Charcoal Head as her latest set of dumbbells.
In between wire fu battles, our heros: confront deranged cavemen, explore haunted ruins, battle magic falcons, tell corny jokes, fall in and out of love, and make sure a bunch of women run around in pink armor. Folks, Blade of Kings will cause your goofy meter to explode.
Wow, what a bizarre movie this turned out to be. Sure, it was made to showcase how cute and fun Choi and Chung could be, and does a really good job at it. But Blade of Kings also manages to cram in a whole host of oddities. So much so, it's hard to figure out where to start.
The acting is solid. The four young leads play off each other well, providing a dash of romantic intrigue along with the laughs. The supporting cast does a good job, having quite a bit of fun with such a silly script.
That spirit of fun pervades the entire film, rarely taking itself seriously. While I can't say all the jokes landed, I did find myself chuckling quite a bit. Besides Choi is so darn cute, how can you not like her?
Visually there's plenty going on. Some of the CG looks a little iffy, but it adds to the colorful campiness. The action relies heavily on wires and special effects, giving it a fantasy flair while diluting the thrills. There is at least one exception, namely when Donnie Yen squares off against Jackie Chan.
Well Go USA doesn't do anything special with Blade of Kings (Blu-ray). The 1.78:1/1080p high definition transfer looks good, but DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio didn't knock my socks off it. The only bonus features are a single EPK-style featurette and a standard def DVD copy of the film.
In an attempt to add a little weight to the goofiness, Blade of Kings spends way too much time setting up why the wicked queen is so darn wicked. Combine this with a convoluted prophecy and you've got too many exposition scenes that slow the picture down.
If bad puns and overly choreographed fight scenes make you physically ill, stay away from this movie. Donnie Yen isn't in it enough for action fans, while Jackie Chan shows up for his fight scene and vanishes. Blade of Kings is all about how cute and funny these pop stars are.
Too silly to be guilty.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Well Go USA
* 1.78:1 Non-Anamorphic (1080p)
* TrueHD 7.1 Master Lossless Audio (English)
* DTS HD 5.1 Master Audio (Cantonese)
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (Cantonese)
* English (SDH)
Running Time: 106 Minutes
Release Year: 2004
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* DVD Copy
* Canto Pop Group Twins