Sound & Vision - - ENTERTAINMENT - Bran­don A. Duhamel

The 2014 wuxia film Broth­er­hood of Blades es­tab­lished the story of three mem­bers of an elite palace guard unit dur­ing the Ming Dy­nasty who must aban­don their broth­er­hood and ap­pre­hend one of their own af­ter he goes rogue, only to find them­selves caught up in an even larger con­spir­acy. The In­fer­nal Bat­tle­field con­tin­ues the story of these best-of-the-best guards­men. It brings back much of the cast, but this is a stand­alone film that doesn’t re­quire view­ing the first to be un­der­stood.

Shen Lian (Chang Chen), a cap­tain, finds him­self trapped in a con­spir­acy by rebels fight­ing against the palace, and in or­der to clear his name he must align him­self with the elu­sive—and gor­geous—wanted rebel Bei Zhai (Yang Mi) and her co­horts. Clas­sic el­e­ments of the wuxia genre com­bine with story lines that may seem fa­mil­iar from films like Crouch­ing Tiger, Hid­den Dragon or Hero to ul­ti­mately pro­vide a not wholly orig­i­nal yet still com­pelling film filled with fan­tas­tic chore­og­ra­phy, splen­did wire­work, and edge-of-the-seat ac­tion se­quences. The po­lit­i­cal machi­na­tions tend to slow the film a bit too much, how­ever (we’re not talk­ing Phan­tom Men­ace shut-up-and-get-on-with-it lev­els, but still), and the plot also be­comes a lit­tle too con­vo­luted, but these nit­picks aren’t enough to make BOB II un­sat­is­fy­ing.

Broth­er­hood of Blades II was shot in the anamor­phic for­mat on Arri XT and Arri XT Plus cam­eras at 2.6K res­o­lu­tion, and a 2K DI was used in post-pro­cess­ing. The Blu-ray ar­rives with a beau­ti­ful 2.66:1 AVC 1080p en­code­ment that's clean and free from band­ing and noise while main­tain­ing a filmic ap­pear­ance. It has won­der­fully nu­anced shad­ows free from crush, which is wel­come for a film that spends much of its time in dark­ened streets and forests at night.

Broth­er­hood of Blades II gets a com­pe­tent Man­darin DTS:X mix (com­pat­i­ble with DTS-HD Master Au­dio

7.1). An English dub in DTS-HD Master

Au­dio 5.1 is also in­cluded. While the dy­namic range for the DTS:X mix sounds a bit nar­row even as the low end is oddly overblown, the over­heads are put to good use with fre­quent rain­storms—ap­par­ently, weather dur­ing the Ming Dy­nasty was prone to down­pours—and lots of at­mos­phere for the score. Fo­ley ef­fects are well placed through­out the sound­field as well.

This is a typ­i­cally bare-bones re­lease from Well Go USA that comes to Blu-ray with only a nigh-five-minute be­hind-thescenes fea­turette com­posed of in­ter­views, some B-footage, and the orig­i­nal the­atri­cal trailer. A stan­dard-def­i­ni­tion DVD is also in­cluded.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.