Man of Tai Chi (2013)

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Released 18-Dec-2013

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Action None
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 2013
Running Time 100:32
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Keanu Reeves
Studio
Distributor

Roadshow Home Entertainment
Starring Keanu Reeves
Tiger Hu-Chen
Karen Mok
Simon Yam
Case ?
RPI ? Music None Given


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1
English Descriptive Audio Dolby Digital 2.0
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 (Burned In)
English for the Hearing Impaired
Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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Plot Synopsis

    Keanu Reeves made his directorial debut with this film, Man of Tai Chi, which is very much a martial arts film rather than a film intended for other audiences. Its plot is about martial arts and its combination of yin and yang. The film's running time is dominated by intense fight sequences utilising various martial artists from a wide variety of styles. Readers of this review will either be interested by this topic area or not, there is probably no middle ground. Those who are interested will want to see this film, others will probably get very little from it.

    The story is really a device to hang fight scenes off, however, it follows a young fighter Tiger Chen (played by Tiger Hu-Chen) who is the last disciple of a Tai Chi temple which is falling into disrepair. Some readers may not be aware that Tai Chi is more than an elaborate exercise routine and is actually a martial art. Tiger's master is an old monk who teaches him the importance of control rather than aggressiveness. Tiger has a day job as a delivery man for a courier company, however, when he enters a mixed martial arts tournament he attracts the attention of Donaka Mark (Keanu Reeves) who runs a security company and an underground fighting ring. Donaka offers him a lot of money to fight and driven by the threat to the temple from developers, he agrees. As he gets more and more involved he fights many different fighters becoming more ruthless and losing some of the control that his master propounds. Eventually, this leads him to a choice, his master's way or Donaka's way. Meanwhile, the police are trying to crack Donaka's illegal fighting ring, led by Inspector Sun Jingshi (Karen Mok) despite the reservations of her boss Superintendent Wong (Simon Yam).

    First and foremost, this is a martial arts film rather than a film which includes some martial arts but contains a bigger and more involved plot. If you enjoy fight scenes of hand to hand martial arts then you will certainly enjoy this film, especially if you are also interested in the mysticism and beliefs that form part of martial arts. The story of a temple or martial arts school under threat from external forces is one that has been used many times before in martial arts films. The fight scenes are very well staged and shot, choreographed by the master of such things Yuen Wo-Ping. Keanu as a director does quite a good job in terms of the way the material is presented but his choice to include himself as the baddie was perhaps misguided. He comes across as very stiff rather than scary from an acting perspective and looks slow when he fights the obviously much more accomplished Tiger Hu-Chen.

    Fans of hand to hand combat martial arts will certainly enjoy this film but it will probably not appeal to those with a broader interest in Asian action films.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    The video quality is excellent for DVD.

    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 sharp and clear for DVD. Shadow detail was very good.

    The colour is also very good for DVD.

    There were no noticeable artefacts.

    There are subtitles available in English for the Hearing Impaired which are clear and easy to read. There are also burned in English subtitles for the significant amount of Chinese dialogue.

    There is no obvious layer change.

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 an English soundtrack in Dolby Digital 5.1 plus an Audio Descriptive track in Dolby Digital 2.0.

    Dialogue was clear and easy to understand.

    The music was decent but sometimes quite incongruous.

    The surround speakers were well used for atmosphere, surround effects, music and action scenes.

    The subwoofer supported the music and action scenes.

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

Extras

    No extras

Menu

    The menu is good featuring animation and audio.

R4 vs R1

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

    This DVD is available in other regions however I cannot find any details of its contents. It is also available on Blu-ray here and overseas.

Summary

    A well made hand to hand martial arts film which doesn't really aspire to be anything more.

    The video quality is excellent.

    The audio quality is very good.

    The extras died in an underground fight.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Daniel Bruce (Do you need a bio break?)
Tuesday, March 11, 2014
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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