Movie: **** out of 5
Video: **** 1/2
Audio: **** 1/2
Article first published as Blu-ray Review: ‘Kung Fu Killer’ Starring Donnie Yen on Blogcritics.
Just seeing Donnie Yen’s name grace the cover of any Blu-ray immediately
puts expectations in check. Death defying stunt work, along with
intricate and elaborate fight scenes pitted against decent
characterization, you’re always in for a treat. Even if the story may
fall flat, at least you know it’ll be a feast for the eyes. And Kung Fu Killer
is no exception. Director Teddy Chan invests us with a kung fu film
wrapped around the heart of a police procedural. You could say Donnie
Yen is the Hannibal Lecter of the film, but this is no psychological
thriller. We came to see fists fly and bones break, and that’s exactly
what we get. Kung Fu Killer is available on Blu-ray July 21.
Mo (Yen) has just walked into the Central Police District Headquarters
and confesses to killing someone. Three years later, a car chase leads
to a shootout and a dead body, but Madam Inspector Luk Yuen-Sum (Charlie
Young) is informed that the cause of death was something else. Seeing
the death reported on TV, Hahou demands to talk to Inspector Luk,
because he knows who will die next. Turns out killer Fung Yu-Sau (Wang
Baoqiang) is on the loose, taking out retired martial arts masters.
Hahou wants out of prison in exchange for helping catch the killer,
using his own martial arts expertise, and the help of some friends along
the way. Fung won’t stop until all the masters are gone, with Hahou at
the top of the list.
Well Go USA Blu-ray discs always suffer from the very same anomaly:
banding. While some discs look worse than others, it’s always the one
thing standing in the way of a perfect score. Color, contrast, detail,
black levels — you name it — if it weren’t for the disc being on a 25GB
disc, which would annihilate the problem, this would be a perfect disc.
As for the audio, surrounds are put to great use for ambience, along
with keeping directionality razor sharp. Deep LFE also gives every kick
and punch the proper, well, punch. Dialogue is never drowned out, with
the following audio options: Cantonese 5.1 or English DTS-HD Master
Audio, and Spanish or French 5.1 Dolby Digital. But more than likely
you’ll use one of the included subtitles available in English, Spanish,
special features are short and sweet, showing behind-the-scenes
footage, along with interviews with the cast and crew. The “Making Of”
is broken into four segments: “Fight to the Top” (2:21), “The Spirit of
Kung Fu” (2:30), “The Final Duel” (2:49), and “Legends of Martial Arts
Film” (2:34). The last section is the best as they point out the kung
fu/Chinese filmmaking royalty involved in the production. Something
that’s also explained in an elongated pre-credits scene. To list them
all, and why, would be a whole article in itself. The film’s “Trailer”
(1:55) is also included.
Chan keeps the pace flying, leaving viewers barely enough time to
catch their breath between fight scenes. Which could normally leave one
feeling pulverized themselves if they weren’t so entertaining. With Yen
as the action director, you should know what to expect, and the action
manages to crescendo from scene to scene. The final showdown between
Hahou and Fung is a sight to see and will satiate even the most hardened
kung fu fan. The special features may be on the scant side, but the
audio and video are top notch, making sure we always see and hear every
drop of sweat or breaking bone, ensuring a good time to be had by anyone
who picks up a copy of Kung Fu Killer.