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Chan stars as Jack, an intrepid and world-renowned archaeologist who has begun having dreams of a past life as a warrior in ancient China. When a fellow scientist asks for Jack's help in locating the mausoleum of China's first emperor, the past collides violently with the present as he discovers his amazing visions are based in fact. When they discover an ancient sword and a magical gemstone that can defy the laws of gravity, the past collides violently with the present with often comical consequences.
For more about The Myth and The Myth Blu-ray release, see The Myth Blu-ray Review
Starring: Jackie Chan, Hee-seon Kim, Tony Leung Ka Fai, Mallika Sherawat, Ken Lo
Director: Stanley Tong
» See full cast & crew
The Myth Blu-ray Review
Reviewed by Dr. Svet Atanasov, May 22, 2009
Stanley Tong's "The Myth" (2005) arrives on Blu-ray courtesy of British distributors Showbox. The film is yet to be released in North America, but fans of Jackie Chan will be delighted to hear that the disc herein reviewed is Region-Free.
Stanley Tong's The Myth is an ambitious but, ultimately, underwhelming adventure picture starring legendary action star Jackie Chan. In 2006, The Myth received four Hong Kong Film Awards nominations, including Best Picture, Best Action Choreography (Jackie Chan, Stanley Tong, Tak Yuen), Best Visual Effects (Wendy Choi , David Tso) and Best Original Film Song (Jackie Chan, Kim Hee-seon).
Two very different characters are the focus of attention in The Myth - a modern-day archeologist (Jackie Chan, Operation Condor 2: The Armour of the Gods), struggling to rationalize a persistent dream, and a brave Chinese soldier (Jackie Chan) living during the peak of the Qin Dynasty, who has sworn to protect and deliver the beautiful Korean Princess Ok-soo (Kim Hee-seon, Bichunmoo) to his Emperor. As the story progresses, we learn more about the two and, eventually, realize why their deeds are followed simultaneously.
A fascinating theory leads the archeologist and his close friend William (Tony Leung Ka Fai, Zhou Yu's Train) to the great Dasar Kingdom, which looks a lot like India. There, while attempting to understand how a local man has defied the laws of gravity, the two get in a lot of trouble. They also meet the busty Samantha (Mallika Sherawat, Dasavatharam), who shows them around and consequently helps them return to their homeland.
The story of the soldier I mentioned earlier is a bit more complicated. He has been ordered to guard Princess Ok-soo and escort her to the Emperor (I'll let you figure out why). Unfortunately, a group of Korean soldiers dedicated to rescue Princess Ok-soo attack him and he gets seriously wounded. While he recuperates, Princess Ok-soo falls in love with him and begs that they both run away. The soldier is torn between following his heart and completing his mission.
How these two seemingly very different stories are linked I shall not reveal to you. I am certain that many of you would easily guess, but I don't want to spoil the film for those of you who wouldn't.
This being said, there are two ways of assessing The Myth. Technically, the film certaily isn't as convincing as it could and should have been. Its two stories overlap rather ineffectively, thus making it very difficult for us to embrace the main protagonists. The editing is also questionable – portions of The Myth feel like individual episodes from a soap opera where, as expected, a lot is routinely left unresolved.
The above issues, however, could be easily ignored if you decide to see The Myth strictly because of Jackie Chan's contribution - his stunts are still utterly impressive. He has not lost his sense of humor either, though many will likely find his lines banal and instantly forgettable.
The rest of the cast is good, but there are too many issues with the script that are impossible to ignore. Add to the mix the fact that many of the actors were also dubbed, and it really is quite difficult to like what Stanley Tong and his team have accomplished in The Myth. Though, admittedly, there are a few scenes with the busty Mallika Sherawat that will surely force a few of you to vociferously disagree with me.
The Myth Blu-ray, Video Quality
Presented in its original aspect ratio of 2.35:1, encoded with MPEG-4 AVC and granted a 1080p transfer, Stanley Tong's The Myth arrives on Blu-ray courtesy of UK-based distributors Showbox.
The transfer for this rather recent film is good. Clarity and detail are mostly pleasing, contrast very good and edge-enhancement not a serious issue of concern (however, I did notice a mild dose of it very early into the film). The color-scheme is also strong. Yellows, blues, reds, greens, grays and blacks (especially during the cave footage) are rich and well saturated, yet also natural looking. A lot of the outdoor scenes from the Dasar Kingdom for example look terrific. This being said, sharpness levels appear slightly boosted, which I believe is something the more sensitive amongst you will immediately recognize. On the other hand, I did not detect any severe examples of noise reduction. I also did not detect any disturbing debris, specks, or stains. To sum it all up, Showbox have provided a good transfer for The Myth, which fans of the film will be pleased with. (Note: Even though this Blu-ray release is marketed as being Region-B, it is in fact Region-Free. Therefore, you will be able to play it on your PS3 or SA regardless of your geographical location).
The Myth Blu-ray, Audio Quality
There are three audio tracks on this Blu-ray release: Cantonese Dolby Digital 5.1, Cantonese Dolby Digital 2.0 and English Dolby Digital 5.1. I opted for the Cantonese Dolby Digital 5.1 track and later on did a few random comparisons with the other two tracks.
It is a bit unfortunate that these stylishly designed Blu-ray discs Showbox are producing aren't getting more elaborate audio tracks. At this point, I must assume that there are contractual limitations of some sort preventing them from offering loseless tracks, which Showbox must respect. That said, the Cantonese Dolby Digital 5.1 track is good, though not overly impressive. There is a decent amount of activity in the rear channels that serves the majority of the action rather well. The bass is also strong, but not as potent as I expected it to be. On the other hand, the high frequencies are certainly not overdone. The dialog is crisp, clean and very easy to follow. Finally, I did not detect any disturbing pops, cracks, or hissings to report in this review.
The English Dolby Digital 5.1 track/dub is ineffective. I understand why it has been offered, but after testing a number of scenes with it, my impressions of it are not favorable. The emotion and intensity heard on the Cantonese Dolby Digital 5.1 track are totally missing on the English Dolby Digital 5.1 track. In fact, often times it feels as if the dubbers are simply reciting their lines. That said, the basics for the English Dolby Digital 5.1 track – surround activity, bass potency, and dialog clarity- are comparable. I did not detect any disturbing pops, cracks, or hissings with it either. For the record, Showbox have provided optional English subtitles for the main feature. When turned on, they appear inside the image frame.
The Myth Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
There are a number of supplemental features on this disc. Please note that only the ones marked below as 1080p and 480/60i are viewable on US TV sets. All other extras are in standard-def PAL, thus you need to have a Blu-ray player that converts PAL-NTSC, or a multi-system TV set in order to view them.
Making of - the featurette offers plenty of raw footage from the shooting of The Myth. There are a number of very hilarious scenes showing Jackie Chan practicing his stunts (with optional English subtitles, PAL).
Trailer & Music Video Gallery – Showbox have provided the original theatrical trailer (1080p), the UK trailer (PAL), an international version of the award-winning music video for the film, subtitled in English (PAL) and a Mandarin version of the music video, also subtitled in English (PAL).
Interview Gallery – Showbox have provided a total of six interviews (with optional English subtitles, PAL) with Jackie Chan, Tony Leung Kai Fai, Kim Hee Seon, Mallika Sherawat, Stanley Tong, Sun Zhou and Choi Min Soo. The cast members and the director share their thoughts on the film and the characters they play.
Deleted Scenes – Two very short deleted scenes – "Troops Passing" and " Searching the Temple" (480/60i).
Lost Scenes – Three lost scenes – "Respect to the ancestors", Archeological dig" and The Temple Tiger" ( with optional English subtitles, PAL).
Behind the Scenes – a collage of thirteen episodes focusing on the production history of the film (with optional English subtitles, PAL).
The Myth Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
I believe it is fair to say that only hardcore Jackie Chan fans will be impressed with Stanley Tong's The Myth. The charismatic HK actor looks a bit older in this film, but his stunts are still utterly impressive. The Blu-ray disc herein reviewed looks quite good, but the fact that there isn't a loseless audio track on it is a bit disappointing.
The Myth Blu-ray, News and Updates
• The Myth Coming to Blu-ray in the UK - March 10, 2009
Cine Asia has announced that they will bring Jackie Chan's multi-period, action-comedy 'The Myth' to Blu-ray on May 4th, day-and-date with the DVD release. Technical specs have not been announced at this time, though you can expect a 1080p video transfer along ...
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