Teenage martial art film enthusiast Jason Tripitkas (Angarano) has just purchased the lastest bootlegged kung-fu film at Old Hop's (Chan) pawn shop, when he is confronted by bullies who force him to help rob the old shopkeeper. Jason escapes the thugs with one of Old Hop's mysterious weapons, a golden staff, which inexplicably transports the American teenager back in time to ancient China. Once in China, Jason is aided by a drunken traveler, Lu Yan (Chan), who aids Jason on his quest to find "The Forbidden Kingdom" and return the golden staff to its righful owner, the immortal Monkey King (Li). (Stacey Pendry)
Special features include a commentary track by Director Rob Minkoff and Writer John Fusco; the following featurettes: The Kung-Fu Dream Team (11 minutes), Dangerous Beauty (six minutes), Discovering China (eight minutes), Filming In Chinawood (eight minutes), and Monkey King And The Eight Immortals (nine minutes); a complete storyboard; eight minutes of bloopers; six deleted scenes; previews; and a digital copy of the film to download to your Mac or PC; a picture-in-picture feature; and MOLOG—a network connected to an interactive movie blog.
With sharp resolution and nicely saturated colors, the anamorphically enhanced 2.40:1 DVD can look very impressive. Black levels are slightly elevated, though, but shadow detail is captured well. Fleshtones appear natural, and source element artifacts are not problematic. Edge enhancement is rather minor, but can be recognized on occasion. The H.264 AVC-encoded Blu-ray Disc shows very good resolution, with even the finest details delivered well to the screen. Colors are bold and vibrant, with a natural saturation. Fleshtones also appear natural. Black levels are deep and shadow delineation is good. There is an enjoyable sense of dimension in the image as well. (Danny Richelieu)
The Dolby® Digital Surround EX™ 5.1-channel encoding with a matrix-derived center surround channel features an impressive mix that uses each of the channels effectively. The split surrounds engage the listening space well, and while phantom imaging is not a big part of the mix, it is audible at times. The center surround channel provides a more stable surround stage. Dialogue sounds natural and is always intelligible, and the worst artifacts are minor clipping. Fidelity is nice, with good articulation and wide dynamic range. The 7.1-channel lossless DTS-HD Master Audio™ encoding delivers a new level of articulation to the soundtrack, with more precise, natural dialogue and good integration of the bass. The dialogue is somewhat forward at times. The very good mix is even better with the increased resolution of the lossless codec. The discrete center surround channel doesn't add much over the matrix channel on the DVD, but both increase the believability of the rear stage. This is a very enjoyable release. (Danny Richelieu)