In a young Republic of China, where greedy warlords fuel a period of war and strife, Hou Jie (Lau) arrogantly shows no mercy to his enemies seeking refuge with the benign and compassionate Shaolin monks. After unscrupulously killing a wounded enemy, Hou Jie pays a terrible price for his actions and is forced to seek refuge in the same Shaolin Monastery he blatantly disrespected. Hou Jie's traitorous second-in-command Cao Man (Tse) continues where the once-warlord left off, betraying his country and his own people. Hou Jie must adapt to Shaolin principles to stop the monster he created. (Gary Reber)
Special features include nine deleted scenes (HD 43:53), international trailers, and the theatrical trailer.
The 1080p AVC picture is quite stunning in appearance, with a stylized de-saturated color palette that enhances the ancient Chinese period. While the color palette is subdued, hues are nicely balanced and appear naturally toned. Resolution is excellent, with nuanced detail revealed in facial features, hair, clothing, and object textures. Due to the stylization, black levels do not extend as deep as they otherwise would, but the balance remains in harmony with the other hues. Shadow delineation is excellent throughout. There is also a convincing sense of dimension, which enhances the picture experience. Overall, this is a very pleasing visual experience, with effective cinematic cinematography and action choreography that is incredible! (Gary Reber)
The DTS-HD Master Audio™ 5.1-channel soundtrack is well produced, with an epic sonic quality. The orchestral score (performed by the Bulgarian Symphony Orchestra), punctuated with period Chinese instruments, is nicely recorded, with a wide and expansive soundstage that extends effectively to the surrounds. Atmospherics and sound effects are perfectly synchronized with the on-screen action, as are Foley effects. The sound is dynamic, with subtle low-level nuanced sounds contrasted with bolstered transients. Deep bass is extended in the .1 LFE channel and heightens the more intense action sequences, with dramatic Foley accents to intensify the body blows. While dialogue is largely ADR and is wanting in spatial integration, at times, group voicings are very impressive, especially during training exercises. The soundfield often dramatically expands with an aggressive holosonic® envelopment energy that is engaging. The ending scene is explosive! This is a wonderful sonic experience with tremendous dynamic diversity that is very satisfying. Note: The Chinese soundtrack is the superior experience. (Gary Reber)