Kung Fu Jungle (Yi ren de wu lin) (Blu-ray) (2014)

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Released 18-Feb-2015

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Action None
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2014
Running Time 100:04
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Teddy Chan
Studio
Distributor
Gryphon Entertainment Starring Donnie Yen
Charlie Young
Michelle Bai
Wang Baoqiang
Deep Ng



Case Standard Blu-ray
RPI ? Music Peter Kam Pui Tat


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None Cantonese 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
Mandarin
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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Plot Synopsis

     Hahou Mo (Donnie Yen) was a police instructor and martial artist who accidently killed a rival in a contest and is now in goal. But when someone starts murdering the foremost martial arts exponents in Hong Kong, and the police led by Inspector Luk Yuen-sum (Charlie Young) are without a lead, Hahou contacts Luk and offers to help, citing his martial arts background as a way to understanding the killer. Luk is reluctant but when Mahou successfully identifies the next victim he is released into Luk’s custody. But Mahou knows far more than he is letting on and when the woman he loves, fellow martial artist Sinn Ying (Michelle Bai), is put in danger it becomes a race against time to stop the killer.

     Kung Fu Jungle (original title Yi Ge Ren De Wu Lin and known as Kung Fu Killer in the UK) is directed by Teddy Chen who has worked previously with star Donnie Yen in Bodyguards and Assassins (2009). The plot of Kung Fu Jungle is wafer thin; we know from around the 15th minute the identity of the killer (Wang Baoqiang) so the film becomes a succession of martial arts contests. Not that there is anything wrong with that, especially where Asian martial arts royalty Donnie Yen is involved.

     Donnie Yen is a wonderful martial artist who deserves to be better known in the West, certainly by more than just martial arts film fans. He has gone head to head with Jet Li in arguably one of the greatest one-on-one kung fu sequences ever filmed in Once Upon a Time in China 2 (1993), returning to fight Jet Li again in Hero (2002). He remains the most prolific “go to” martial artist in Chinese cinema at the moment with recent credits including Painted Skin (2008), Ip Man (2008), Bodyguards and Assassins, 14 Blades (2010) and Legend of the Fist: The Return of Chen Zhen (2010), to name just a few. In Kung Fu Jungle he again doubles as action director and the fights are energetic and varied, a mixture of slow motion, wire work and sheer athleticism, where, unlike the quick cutting and frenetic editing of many western action films, the fighters can be clearly seen performing their stuff. It is only in the climax, with the inevitable battle between Wang Baoqiang and Donnie Yen on the roadway, where the obvious CGI effects do spoil the action.

     Kung Fu Jungle is first and foremost an action film and it certainly delivers. Before the closing credits the filmmakers pay homage to those who made the classics of Hong Kong action cinema, from the Shaw Bros to Golden Harvest, and a number of those people have bit parts in this film, including master audio commentator on many Hong Kong releases Bey Logan. I think he commentates better than he acts, but it was a delight to see so many names acknowledged.

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Transfer Quality

Video

     Kung Fu Jungle is presented in the original aspect ratio of 2.35:1 in 1080p using the MPEG-4 AVC code.

     Kung Fu Jungle was shot using Red Epic digital cameras and the colours manipulated afterwards. The Hong Kong scenes are generally muted, with a grey / blue palate but when the film moves to the Chinese countryside and a small town it is much brighter, with glossy colours and a yellowish tinge. Close-ups have good detail, blacks are solid, shadow details fine.

     Other than some slight motion blur I did not notice and artefacts or marks.

     Burnt in English and Mandarin white subtitles appeared together within the frame. They were quite small and sometimes difficult to read against light backgrounds. There were a few minor grammatical errors but nothing serious.

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

Audio

     The audio is Cantonese DTS-HD MA 5.1.

     This is a seriously loud and enveloping audio track. Dialogue is easy to hear. The rears and surrounds are full of music, gongs, effects, gunshots, engines and the crash and thump of bodies and furniture during the martial arts sequences. The sub-woofer added appropriate bass to engines, thumps, crashes and the music.

    There were some minor lip synchronisation issues as I suspect that some of the cast were speaking Cantonese and some Mandarin on set.

     The original score by Peter Kam Pui Tat was loud and effective.

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

Extras

     Nothing, not even trailers. The menu offers only Play Film and Chapters.

R4 vs R1

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

     There is no Region A US release of Kung Fu Jungle at this time. The Region A Hong Kong version offers Mandarin and Cantonese DTS-HD MA 7.1 audio and a range of extras including trailers, a making of, location focus and promotions. The feature has English subtitles, but the extras mostly do not. The Region B UK release seems to be without extras. Stick to the local release unless you understand Chinese.

Summary

     Kung Fu Jungle has a slight plot that could have been lifted straight from any number of Shaw Bros films from the golden wuxia era of Hong Kong cinema. Updated to modern times, and staring the very watchable Donnie Yen, the film delivers on the action and will be enjoyed by fans of the genre.

     The video is fine, the audio loud and enveloping. Zilch extras.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Ray Nyland (the bio is the thing)
Thursday, April 02, 2015
Review Equipment
DVDSony BDP-S580, using HDMI output
DisplayLG 55inch HD LCD. This display device has not been calibrated. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderNAD T737. This audio decoder/receiver has not been calibrated.
AmplificationNAD T737
SpeakersStudio Acoustics 5.1

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