My Kingdom (Blu-ray) (2011)

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Released 14-Mar-2012

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Action Main Menu Audio & Animation
System Test
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2011
Running Time 99:05 (Case: 108)
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Xiaosong Gao
Studio
Distributor
Icon Entertainment Starring Chun Wu
Geng Han
Barbie Hsu
Louis Liu
Biao Yuen
Rongguang Yu
Annie Shizuka Inoh
Case Standard Blu-ray
RPI ? Music Joachim Horsley


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None Mandarin DTS HD Master Audio 5.1
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.35:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 1080p
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English (Burned In) Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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Plot Synopsis

     Asian action historical epics are coming thick and fast to our screens these days, varying in quality but nearly always interesting and worth a watch. This film, My Kingdom or Da Wu Sheng was made in 2011 and has a different setting than any previous one of these films I have seen. It is set in the world of Chinese Opera Warriors who are part martial artists, part actors. The film starts at the turn of the 20th century in Beijing during the last days of the Qing dynasty. The film opens on a scene of mass beheadings as a whole extended family, The Mengs, are led up to have their heads removed. One of the children, Meng Er Kui (played later by Geng Han who is better known as a dancer and singer than actor) decides to sing an opera aria as he is marched to his execution. This touches two members of the assembled crowd, Opera Master Master Yu (Biao Yuen) and his young pupil Guan Yi Long (played later by Chun Wu) who use their influence to save the boy. Yi Long & Er Kui become brothers and grow up together learning the ways of being Opera Warriors from Master Yu.

     Soon after Master Yu takes the boys on as pupils, he is awarded a gold plaque by the Prince Regent which proclaims him to be the greatest exponent of the Opera Warrior arts. This causes enmity between him and the Master of the Shanghai Opera, Master Yue (Rongguang Yu) who challenges Master Yu to a duel. The winner of this duel will own the golden plaque and the loser will have to break his spear and never perform in public again. Master Yue wins the duel and Master Yu breaks his spear and retreats to the country. The boys vow to avenge his humiliation when they grow up. Once they have finished their training, fifteen years later, they head to Shanghai to find Yue and attempt to defeat him. They also meet the female lead of the Shanghai Opera, Xi Mu Lang (Barbie Hsu) who they fall in love with. Can they defeat their Master's enemy and get revenge?

     The set up which I have described above is quite an interesting and different plot due to the Opera Warrior setting, however, this storyline is resolved quite early in what is only a short film and then the story gets complicated and more than a little silly at times. In my opinion, it would have been a much more successful film if it focused on rounding out the main story rather than adding all the various subplots, twists and double-crosses which occur in the second half of the film. It is a real shame as without the melodrama of the second half this would have been quite a worthwhile film whereas the result as it is is interesting but hard to recommend unreservedly. The film certainly looks good, with great costumes and sets, good looking leads and some impressive action sequences (directed by Sammo Hung).

     It is worth noting that the case of this Blu-ray shows the run time as 108 minutes, however this is the standard 99 minute theatrical version.

     Well worth a look for genre fans but disappointing overall.

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Transfer Quality

Video

     The video quality is very good with very little to complain about.

     The feature is presented in a 2.35:1 aspect ratio which is the original aspect ratio. It is 1080p encoded using AVC.

     The picture is excellent, sharp and clear throughout. Shadow detail was excellent.

     The colour is marvellous showing of the magnificent costumes and sets.

     There is some obvious shimmer in some scenes, probably due to being shot digitally.

     There are subtitles available in English which are burned into the print. As they overlap the picture they are a little hard to read at time and sometimes flash by too quickly.

     There are no obvious layer changes during playback.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

     The audio quality is very good, showing off your surround sound system.

     This disc contains a Chinese soundtrack in DTS-HD MA 5.1.

     Dialogue seemed clear and easy to understand.

     The music by Joachim Hornsby is suitably dramatic but strays into the melodramatic at times.

     The surround speakers provide a nice enveloping soundscape and are used to great effect in some scenes such as for the flying spears.

     The subwoofer was also used well supporting the action and music.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

    No real extras.

Menu

    The menu included music, action and allowed for scene selection.

Trailers

DTS HD-MA Soundcheck

    5.1 and 7.1 versions.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    This film does not seem to be available on Blu-ray in either Region A (US) or Region B (UK) at this stage. There is a Region A (HK) version which has English subtitles and also special features including a making of, cast interviews, Behind the Scenes and a music video. There is also a Taiwanese Region All Blu-ray but this doesn't seem to have the extras. So if you are Region B locked, the local version is probably the best option. Otherwise the Hong Kong version might be worth seeking out.

Summary

    An interesting but flawed Chinese historical action epic.

    The video quality is very good.

    The audio quality is very good.

    The extras ran away to join the Opera.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Daniel Bruce (Do you need a bio break?)
Saturday, December 29, 2012
Review Equipment
DVDSONY BDP-S760 Blu-ray, using HDMI output
DisplaySharp LC52LE820X Quattron 52" Full HD LED-LCD TV . Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderBuilt into amplifier. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum.
AmplificationMarantz SR5005
SpeakersMonitor Audio Bronze 2 (Front), Bronze Centre & Bronze FX (Rears) + Sony SAW2500M Subwoofer

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