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So Chan was a wealthy man obsessed with kung-fu who fell from grace after he and his family became the victims of conspiracies. Eventually, he rises from his compromised state as a beggar and transforms himself into a martial arts master, patriot and folk hero, honored as the "King of Beggars."
For more about True Legend and the True Legend Blu-ray release, see True Legend Blu-ray Review published by Dr. Svet Atanasov on October 5, 2011 where this Blu-ray release scored 3.0 out of 5.
Director: Woo-ping Yuen
Writer: Chi-long To (Christine To)
Starring: Michelle Yeoh, Andy On, Xiaogang Feng, Jay Chou, Vincent Zhao
» See full cast & crew
True Legend Blu-ray Review
Reviewed by Dr. Svet Atanasov, October 5, 2011
Screened at the Berlin International Film Festival, Yuen Woo-Ping's "True Legend" (2010) arrives on Blu-ray courtesy of Indomina Media/Vivendi Entertainment. The supplemental features on the disc include theatrical trailer; featurettes; storyboard comparisons; and a music video by Shadow Bureau. In Mandarin and English, with optional English or French subtitles for the main feature. Region-Free.
Yuen Woo-Ping's True Legend is formally divided into two halves. The first follows martial arts legend Beggar Su's (Vincent Zhao, Once Upon A Time in China) confrontation with his half brother, Yuan Lie (Andy On, Mad Detective, Bad Blood), who decides to kill him after he retires from the Imperial Army and goes back to his home village.
Some years later. Lie masters the "Five Venom Fist" style of fighting and goes after his brother. The two meet not too far away from Su's home where Lie kills his father and takes his son prisoner. Su's life is spared, but he is thrown unconscious into the nearby river. His wife, Yuan Ying (Xun Zhou, Perhaps Love, Confucius), jumps after him.
Su and his wife are saved by the mysterious Sister Yu (Michelle Yeoh, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Reign of Assassins). She manages to drain Lie's venom from Su's body and he regains his strength. Eventually, he starts training again and vows to defeat Lie, but begins drinking - and possibly even losing his mind. High into the mountains, Su befriends the God of Wushu (Jay Chou, Initial D, The Green Hornet), who encourages him to polish his "Drunken Fist" skills.
Time passes by and Su and Lie meet again. This time around, however, one of them dies.
The second half is titled "A Drunken Fist" and begins in Heilongjiang, along the Chinese-Russian border. Su is a wandering drunk who has lost his desire to live. He is followed by his very young son, who somehow always manages to find food and wine for his father and a place where they could spend the night together.
One day, Su is approached by an old friend who offers to help him get back on his feet. First, however, he manages to get him inside a large venue where people pay to see fighters from all over the world kill each other. There are plenty of Chinese fighters, but the winners are always foreigners (they also happen to be Caucasians who speak English). Su's friend challenges one of the foreigners but rather quickly ends up on his back. Su enters the arena to defend his honor.
There are two serious flaws with this film. The first one pertains to the fact that its tone is wildly inconsistent. Portions of the film feel as if they were scripted to be part of a serious biopic. They offer valuable information about the martial arts legend and the socio-political environment in China during his time. Other parts of the film, however, focus on pointless fights that reveal next to nothing about Su and important characters that enter the story but then quickly disappear without a trace. Yeoh's Sister Yu is a perfect example.
Su's relationship with his brother is also needlessly overdramatized. Lie is transformed into a near superhero whose fighting skills are as unbelievable as is his hatred for his brother. For some strange reason, most of the time he also looks like a junkie who desperately needs a fix.
This being said, the various fights, and especially those from the first half of the film, are impressively choreographed. The special effects are also top-notch. Obviously, this isn't surprising because as a martial arts choreographer Woo-Ping has contributed to such now cult films as the Wachowski Brothers' The Matrix, Gordon Chan's Fist of Legend, Daniel Lee's Black Mask, Ang Lee's Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, and, of course, directed Quentin Tarantino's favorite Iron Monkey.
Note: Last year, True Legend was screened at the Berlin International Film Festival.
True Legend Blu-ray, Video Quality
Presented in an aspect ratio of 2.35:1, encoded with VC-1 and granted a 1080p transfer, Yuen Woo-Ping's True Legend arrives on Blu-ray courtesy of Indomina Media/Vivendi Entertainment.
The high-definition transfer is not identical to the one Optimum Home Entertainment used for the UK Blu-ray release of True Legend, which is MPEG-4 AVC-encoded. However, aside from perhaps some slightly cooler and rawer colors, the two releases actually look identical. Detail is wonderful, especially during close-ups, and the panoramic vistas convey terrific depth and fluidity (see screncapture #3). There are no serious compression issues. I also did not see any traces of overzealous sharpening. However, some of the CGI-heavy footage looks rather flat and lifeless, though the high-definition transfer is more than likely not to be blamed. Finally, there are no serious stability issues to report in this review. (Note: This is a Region-Free Blu-ray disc. Therefore, you will be able to play it on your PS3 or SA regardless of your geographical location).
True Legend Blu-ray, Audio Quality
There are two audio tracks on this Blu-ray disc: Mandarin DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (with portions of English) and English DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0. For the record, Indomina Media/Vivendi Entertainment have provided optional English and French subtitles for the main feature. When turned on, they appear inside the image frame.
The Mandarin DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track is very aggressive and boasting a wide range of nuanced dynamics. The rear channels are also intelligently used (check out the training sessions with the God of Wushu). The dialog is crisp, clean, stable, and easy to follow. Also, there are no pops, cracks, or audio dropouts to report in this review. The English translation is very good.
True Legend Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
True Legend Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
There is plenty of style but very little substance in True Legend. This isn't to say that the film isn't entertaining, but clearly it is not the serious biopic its creators obviously wanted it to be. The Blu-ray disc herein reviewed, courtesy of Indomina Media/Vivendi Entertainment, looks and sounds very good. It is also Region-Free. RENT IT.
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• True Legend Blu-ray - June 24, 2011
The wushu fight film True Legend will arrive on Blu-ray this fall, courtesy of Vivendi Entertainment. Directed by master action choreographer Yuen Woo-Ping (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon), True Legend stars Man Cheuk Chiu ( Sacrifice) as Su Qi-Er, a man who perfects ...
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