Tai Chi 0 (Tai Chi Zero) (2012)

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Released 17-Apr-2013

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Martial Arts None
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2012
Running Time 94:05
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (44:26) Cast & Crew
Start Up Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Stephen Fung
Studio
Distributor
Icon Entertainment Starring Hark-On Fung
Stephen Fung
Tony Leung
Yuan Xiaochao
Qi Shu
Wai-keung Lau
Siu-Lung Leung
Angelababy
Eddie Peng
Case ?
RPI ? Music Katsunori Ishida


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None Mandarin Dolby Digital 5.1
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.35:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

     Tai Chi 0 (Tai Chi Zero) offers something for just about everyone. All mixed up together. This film is certainly entertaining, alternating between comic book style superhero film, martial arts film, steam punk fantasy, Chinese historical action epic, Jackie Chan comedy, Quentin Tarantino mashup and lots more. Stylistic elements include on screen text and graphics, animated sequences, black & white sections, slo-mo plus CGI. I found it a lot of fun to watch, despite its flaws.

     The story is set in China during the Qing Dynasty at a time when the western influence was getting stronger including the development of railways. This is used as a setting only as this is not a 'based on a true story' kind of film. A young man, Lu Chan aka The Freak (Yuan Xiaochao, a martial arts world champion in his first acting role) was born with a strange lump on his head which when punched hard turns him into a martial arts superhero. He ends up fighting for the Divine Truth cult against the dynasty. They are exploiting his powers but are keeping a dangerous truth from him. He is told by the camp doctor that unless he learns a different style of Kung Fu the lump on his head will turn black and eventually kill him. He sets out to learn the Tai Chi style from Master Chen (Tony Leung Ka Fai) who lives in a remote village. The villagers all know the local kung fu style and tell him that they will not teach it to outsiders. Despite this and getting beaten up regularly (even by children) he persists and learns their style by imitation. One of the villagers is Chen's daughter, the beautiful Yu Niang (Angelababy). He falls for her charms but she is still smitten with childhood sweetheart, Fang Zi Jing (Eddie Peng). Fang has been gone from the village for some time, getting a Western education and now has returned as a representative of the railroad who wants to build a track straight through the village. The village rejects his propositions and he decides to return with soldiers to force them into submission. Along with him comes a gigantic metal steam driven tank on rails, operated by his new love, Claire Heathrow (Mandy Lieu). Much action and silliness ensues.

     As I mentioned above this film is a lot of fun and will be enjoyed by fans of Asian action cinema especially if they enjoy a lighter more fun style to their action rather than full on seriousness. Visually, there are all sorts of great ideas here, most of which work creating a marvellous and constantly changing visual aesthetic. The cinematography is inventive and high quality. There are some great action sequences (especially the one involving the soldiers attacking the village) plus some good martial arts action with many champion martial artists in the cast. The action was directed by Hong Kong action cinema legend Sammo Hung. CGI is certainly used but mostly it is not too overt. The acting and dialogue are nothing special but neither are they an embarrassment. Veteran Tony Leung is probably the highlight in the acting department.

     The ending is a little disappointing and somewhat confusing but this is a method of setting up for the next film in this planned trilogy, Tai Chi Hero, due to be released soon on home entertainment formats. The film certainly has style and tries to do something different which is driven by young Hong Kong director Stephen Fung.

     I would recommend this film to genre fans and am looking forward to the next film in the trilogy.

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Transfer Quality

Video

     The video quality is very good.

     The feature is presented in a 2.35:1 aspect ratio which is the original aspect ratio. It is 16x9 enhanced.

     The picture was very clear and sharp throughout for DVD. Shadow detail was very good.

     The colour was decent but seemed quite dull in some scenes, maybe due to intentional colour grading.

     There was some mild motion blur.

     There are automatic subtitles in English which are clear but sometimes flash by too quickly. The subtitles all try to translate much of the onscreen Chinese text.

     There is a layer change at 44:26 which is quite bad, causing a significant pause.

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

Audio

     The audio quality is very good.

     This disc contains a Mandarin/English soundtrack in Dolby Digital 5.1. Most dialogue is in Mandarin however some characters speak in English. Both are subtitled.

     Dialogue seemed clear and easy to hear and understand.

     The music is a strange mixture of classical music, Chinese rap and Heavy Metal which is another reminder of Quentin Tarantino. The score itself is by Katsunori Ishida. It sounds good on this transfer.

     The surround speakers are used for significant amounts of surround effects and for music and atmosphere.

     The subwoofer supports the action sequences and the music.

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

Extras

    No extras unless you count the trailer for the sequel which plays before the menu and during the end credits.

Menu

    The menu included music.

R4 vs R1

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

    From a DVD perspective, the US version includes some minor extras such as a behind the scenes featurette and also an English dub. The film is also available on Blu-ray and Blu-ray 3D both here and in other regions. Region 1 wins the DVD comparison.

Summary

    A fun and entertaining martial arts action comedy, Tarantino homage, fantasy, steam punk, romance, historical action epic set in China.

    The video quality is very good.

    The audio quality is very good.

    The extras are a zero too.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Daniel Bruce (Do you need a bio break?)
Monday, April 08, 2013
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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