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Tai Chi Hero

Tai Chi Hero

On Blu-Ray: 
Tuesday, July 2, 2013
Running Time: 
1 Hour, 46 Minutes

There had been a lot of hype leading up to the release of Tai Chi Zero. I posted the trailer, mentioned it probably too many times to friends and family, and then when it came out I made sure to see it and pass the fact that it was streaming on Netflix to just about everyone, again. I mean, come on, a steam punk martial arts film. How awesome is that, not to mention the unconventional way in which the film unfolds. Like a modernization of the classic kung fu film, made so by unconventional music, special effects, and the use of many different facets of film categories from the supernatural to science fiction all rolled into a martial arts action comedy. 

Now to be honest. I loved Tai Chi Zero. It was an awesome concept film that built itself up and left you wondering what was going to come next. Over the months after its release though I discovered I wasn’t apt to return to it as often as I would a film like Iron Monkey or Legend of Drunken Master. It was cool, but because it’s a trilogy of films, well, we’ll see how often it's revisited once the final chapter is written. Of course when Tai Chi Hero came out I was quick to see it. Unfortunately, like its predecessor, it stumbled a bit trying to be its own film as well as build itself up as another chapter in a trilogy of films.

The main let down of Tai Chi Hero is that Lu Chan (Jayden Yuan), whose both gifted and cursed to wear a thorn on his crown that when pushed turns him into an unstoppable martial arts monster, is still kind of left on the backburner. By this second chapter its obvious this supernatural element is not an integral part of his overall story, and if it is, you could have fooled me. I was really looking forward to something awesome in that area.

The story unfolds rather nicely, Chan is no more then comedic relief, his beautiful wife Chen (Angelababy; Love In Space) a surface story that’s glossed over, even when it’s a major plot point, and Chen’s father (Tony Leung Kai Fa; Detective Dee) and his relationship with one of his sons taking pretty much top billing.

The martial arts action is pretty good, but even there it gets glossed over. Chan, who must face off against several masters, a point in the film where I got giddy, is reduced to not much. The real saving grace for the film is that in the end it still stands as a pretty good comedy, and while the martial arts feels a bit watered down, it does have its moments, but in another moment of honesty I can’t really say that the finale of this chapter really left much to look forward to as far as an end chapter is concerned. I’m a completionist so of course I’ll be looking forward to the end chapter, but the hype for this trilogy has been steadily declining for me. One and done in any case.

Like the film, the picture quality does tend to stumble about. For the most part the picture looks great until we come to the special effects laden parts where aliasing comes into key, exterior night scenes have some halo issues in the cosmos, and picture looks a bit soft in wide out low lit scenes, though not very many.

When the picture is on it looks fantastic. One scene in particular, where a character is having their picture taken and the scene begins with the image of them in the camera lens, masterful. One scene where we find a record player spinning out a tune, high definition goodness. Lots of these little picturesque gems, just surprising the film wasn’t as awesome looking as I would have expected it to be.

~From Zero To Hero - Making Of
~English Dub

AJ Garcia
Review by AJ Garcia
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