This week we’re going international for the DVD bin scouring by checking out two tall tales from China that cover everything from the supernatural to the super skilled – martial arts style that is! Not sure if these are worth the money – we got you covered! Scan our DVD Roundup for the critical skinny on Phantom of the Theatre and Judge Archer below! (Again, tech specs provided at the end for those who demand DVD details!)
PHANTOM OF THE THEATRE
(Well Go USA Home Entertainment)
An interesting take on the whole Phantom scenario, Phantom of the Theatre is actually two films – one good, one not needed. On the up side is a story involving intricate diabolical planning and long seeded revenge about a determined filmmaker shooting inside a seemingly haunted movie theater that is oh-so satisfying. On the opposite side is a supernatural tale of ghosts that inhabit said theater and it’s an unneeded story device that distracts. Not only are the apparitions themselves far from scary, but the CGI spectre work borders on laughable. When the film abandons the abnormal for the terrifically tainted human aspects and follows complex character twists is when Phantom of the Theatre gets good.
(Lionsgate Home Entertainment)
Amidst being a way-to-complicated yarn and having a finale that leaves a lot to be desired, Judge Archer nevertheless contains some sensational stuff. First off the cool-as-ice character work by Yang Song as the calm and calculated clan dispute settling lawman of sorts is a wonderful exercise in quiet intensity. Plus the film is filled with some fast-handed action and slight of hand martial arts moves that provide serious cinematic eye candy. Using everything from knives and spears to arrows and even strings, the hand to hand is playfully poignant and visually virile. So thankfully when Judge Archer gets bogged down by too many story beats, there’s an equally powerful sensei smack to bring things back to a rousing ruckus reality.
Encoding: MPEG-2 AVC
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
Audio Formats(s): 5.1 Dolby Digital, 2.0 Stereo
Subtitles: English, Chinese
Phantom of the Theater Trailer (SD, 1:09), and Previews for Cold War 2, Chronicles of the Ghostly Tribe Trailer and Mojin – the Lost Legend (SD, 4:32)
Encoding: MPEG-2 AVC
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
Audio Formats(s): 5.1 Dolby Digital English and Mandarin
Subtitles: English, Spanish
Judge Archer Trailer (SD, 1:30), The Four Warriors Trailer (SD, 1:31), Kingdom of Blood Trailer (SD, 1:54), Pay Back Trailer (SD, 1:10), The Guardsman Trailer (SD, 1:40), The Master Trailer (SD, 1:40)