Best Blu-ray Deals
Best Blu-ray Deals, See All the Deals »
Top deals |
In early Republican China, rumors were going around about the treasure in Wudang Mountain. An American conspirator took his well-trained kung fu daughter to Wudang by sponsoring a Taoist martial arts competition, to steal the treasure.
For more about Wu Dang and the Wu Dang Blu-ray release, see Wu Dang Blu-ray Review published by Jeffrey Kauffman on November 27, 2012 where this Blu-ray release scored 3.0 out of 5.
Starring: Vincent Zhao, Mini Yang
Director: Patrick Leung
» See full cast & crew
Wu Dang Blu-ray Review
Reviewed by Jeffrey Kauffman, November 27, 2012
There's one of those unwritten rules of Screenwriting 101 that insists when a character states something like, "I'll never leave you again, I'll be right back", it's a virtual cinch that that character will disappear sooner rather than later. So you have to give a certain amount of props to Wu Dang that in an opening scene when a nattily dressed professor named Tang Yunlong (Vincent Zhao) tells his daughter Tang Ning (Josie Xu) more or less exactly that, the professor does indeed manage to return, albeit only after having dispatched several goons with guns and flying fists who don't like the fact that he informs them a supposedly priceless magically endowed sword is a fake, but then ups the ante by purloining a real treasure map he finds in the sword's packing box. Wu Dang gets off to a fun and furious start, coming across as a kind of Eastern Indiana Jones entry, but things tend to start stumbling rather quickly, kind of like the weirdly slo-mo wire work that becomes a hallmark of this film's martial arts elements. In fact one of the stumbling blocks is the fact that the film doesn't seem to know quite what it wants to be: a straight ahead martial arts fantasy, or more of an Indiana Jones adventure yarn. The often uncomfortable melding of these two ideas leads to some occasionally effective sequences, but the ultimate result is kind of like a dim sum experiment where the audience is given little snippets of various tasty treats without ever actually being handed a three course meal.
The archeological mystery element of Wu Dang involves both a legendary sword which supposedly has been crafted out of a meteor which provides it with rare electromagnetic capabilities, as well as several other legendary artifacts which are all supposedly harbored in the sacred mountains of Wu Dang. It just so happens (not so very coincidentally, of course) that there's a once every 500 years kung fu tournament being held in a monastery near Wu Dang, a tournament which the Professor is sponsoring and in which his daughter hopes to compete. We also meet an enigmatic princess named Tian Xin (Mini Yang), who proves on a flight to Wu Dang that she's not just another pretty face, and in fact packs quite a kung fu wallop if push comes to shove (and/or kick). Tian Xin "requisitions" an invitation to the tournament, but it turns out that she, like the Professor, is actually more interested in retrieving the legendary sword than she is in pummeling her opponents (though she's not averse to doing that, either).
Also in the mix is hapless local man Shui He Yi (Louis Fan), a kind of bumbling guy who "meets cute" with Tang Ning early in the film, and then meets even cuter a bit later when Tang Ning, who is chasing a cloaked individual she believes is her father, is startled, falls off a cliff and just drops right through the thatched roof of Shui's hut. That leads Shui's paralyzed mother to believe that her prayers have been answered and that a wife has suddenly appeared out of the sky to marry Shui. In the meantime, the head monk has also elected Shui, against Shui's will, to be the local contestant in the kung fu tournament.
If this brief recap already seems like a hodgepodge, that's because it undeniably is, which is not to say there aren't elements in Wu Dang that prove fitfully entertaining, at least if taken on their own individual merits and kept divorced from an assessment of the film as a cohesive whole (which it most definitely isn't). This is supposedly the first film to feature Wu Dang Kung Fu (which is actually described in one of the supplementary featurettes as Wu Dang Tai Chi), though one would be hard pressed to describe exactly what it is about this particular technique that sets it apart from other martial arts. But as should be expected from director Patrick Leung and fight choreographer Corey Yuen, the action sequences are invariably well staged and feature some knockout (no pun intended) sequences, including one great high flying battle that takes place on a cliffside where the combatants dangle midair without falling precipitously to their demise.
Less successful are the ostensible dramatic elements, which include the real reasons that the Professor and Tian Xin are seeking the sword (both noble, but completely different), an unexpected life threatening illness affecting one of the characters, and the two too obvious love stories developing between the Professor and Tian Xin and Tang Ning and Shui He Yi. Wang Du would have been a manifestly more exciting film had it simply concentrated on one element, rather than trying to be so many different types of movies rolled into one. A lot of martial arts outings suffer from having absolutely no ambitions whatsoever, but there's an opposite, perhaps ironic, problem with Wu Dang: it tries much to hard to inject needless melodrama and even philosophy into a story that would have been better served as a straight ahead Indiana Jones adventure tale.
Wu Dang Blu-ray, Video Quality
Wu Dang is presented on Blu-ray courtesy of Well Go USA with an AVC encoded 1080p transfer in 2.35:1. This is another Red One shot film, but in this case the results are perhaps a bit more traditionally filmic in appearance, at least if one discounts the often less than stellar CGI work that adds an air of unreality to much of the proceedings, as well as casts several shots in a rather gauzy, soft ambience. Colors here are accurate looking if not especially well saturated, and fine detail is quite good throughout the presentation. In fact it's so good at times that it reveals the absolutely fake looking "rocks" that constitute the cave where the characters find the magical sword as well as other artifacts. But in some of the less artificial outdoor sequences, things look very good, and there's also some exceptional depth of field in several wide shots. Shadow detail is also consistent and there is no egregious artifacting to report in this high definition presentation.
Wu Dang Blu-ray, Audio Quality
Wu Dang features a very well realized lossless DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 mix which offers some extremely potent sound effects. There were several occasions throughout the film in the many blistering action set pieces where I actually instinctively flinched when things like giant spears suddenly flew into the frame, accompanied by impressive pans and then decisive "thunks" as they hit their target. The mix here is awash in discrete channelization in the fight sequences, with very effective foley effects populating the surrounds. Fidelity is extremely strong, especially in the action sequences. Dialogue is cleanly and clearly presented, and unlike a lot of Chinese films, there doesn't appear to have been a ton of dubbing or post looping. Dynamic range is also very wide throughout the film.
Wu Dang Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Wu Dang Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
Wu Dang is one of those fitfully entertaining enterprises that reminds me of that old punchline from Get Smart, "Missed it by that much". There's actually a lot to like in the film, including a nice mystical subtext and some very effective fight sequences. But the whole thing smacks of having been written by committee, where the right hand (and/or hands) didn't know what the left was doing. This is a very strange collage built out of disparate ideas that don't really hang together all that well, and once some of the more melodramatic aspects come to the forefront, like the illness of one of the major characters, things start to fall apart in a big hurry. But if you're not too demanding, there's enough action here to at least warrant a rental. The Blu-ray looks fine and sounds fantastic, so fans of this genre may well want to check it out, while leaving their critical faculties checked at the door.
Use the thumbs up and thumbs down icons to agree or disagree that the title is similar to Wu Dang. You can also suggest completely new similar titles to Wu Dang in the search box below.
Similar titles suggested by members
Wu Dang Blu-ray, News and Updates
• Exclusive Giveaway: Well Go USA Prize Package - November 28, 2012
Blu-ray.com and Well Go USA are offering three members a chance to win copies of Wu Dang, Kill 'Em All and Doomsday Book. Wu Dang streets on December 4, and Kill 'Em All and Doomsday Book street on December 11.
• Wu Dang Blu-ray - October 16, 2012
Independent distributors Well Go USA have officially announced that they will release on Blu-ray director Patrick Leung's Wu Dang (2012), starring Wenzhuo Zhao (Sacrifice, True Legend), Mi Yang (Painted Skin: The Resurrection) and Siu-Wong Fan (Flying Swords of ...
Wu Dang Blu-ray, Forum Discussions
Wu Dang Blu-ray Screenshots
Back to Wu Dang Blu-ray »
Trending Blu-ray Movies
Trending in Theaters
This web site is not affiliated with the Blu-ray Disc Association.
All trademarks are the property of the respective trademark owners.
© 2002-2014 Blu-ray.com. All rights reserved.