With Dada Chen at NYAFF 2013

With Dada Chen at NYAFF 2013
With Dada Chen at NYAFF 2013

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Zhang Yimou's SHADOW reviewed

Well Go USA
Shadow / Ying
Directed by Zhang Yimou
Starring: Deng Chao, Sun Li, Zheng Kai, Wang Qianyuan,
Wang Jingchun, Hu Jun, Guan Xiaotong, and Leo Wu
China/Hong Kong, 2018, 115 minutes

Director Zhang Yimou's most recent martial arts (wuxia) film Shadow was released on digital on-demand, Blu-ray + DVD combo pack and DVD back on May 03, 2019. It was not until recently, however, that I managed to watch it (on Blu-ray).

Zhang, of course, has had a varied career, both in terms of the type of films he's directed and their reception. (He also has been involved in stage productions and in the 2004 and 2008 Olympics.) He is known for the films he directed featuring Gong Li and later Zhang Ziyi (no relation) early in their careers. His previous martial arts films include Hero (2002) and House of Flying Daggers (2004).

Whereas Hero had sections themed with different vibrant colors, Shadow features "a canvas of inky blacks and greys punctuated with bursts of color from the blood of the defeated" (Well Go USA's spot-on description). Set in an ancient period in which three rival kingdoms competed for power, including control of a great walled city, the film's title comes from the look-alike (i.e., a "shadow") that an injured military commander employs to convince others that he is still alive and healthy.

Shadow has a good story line and terrific action sequences. It also has a fanciful use of umbrellas as deadly weapons! Definitely a "must-see."

Disc Specs:
-- Audio
    -- Mandarin Dolby Atmos in Dolby True HD
    --  English Dolby Digital 5.1
-- Subtitles
    -- English
    -- Traditional Chinese
    -- Simplified Chinese
-- Bonus
    -- Making Of
      -- About the Double
      -- The Director
      -- The Unknown Side of Zhang Yimou
      -- Behind the Scenes
      -- Heroes
      -- Deng Chao
      -- Zheng Kai
  -- International Trailer
  -- U.S. Trailer
-- Previews
    -- Ip Man 4
    -- Legend of the Demon Cat
    -- Better Days
    -- Freaks

AsianCIneFest Rating: 3.5 out of 4 stars; highly recommended

Shadow is available from Amazon Prime (click here), on 4K UHD + Blu-ray, Blu-ray + DVD combo pack, and DVD  

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