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Black & White: The Dawn Of Assault (Blu-ray Review)

Black-and-WhiteThis summer, brace yourself for explosive action and edge-of-your seat thrills with highly anticipated motion picture prequel to the popular overseas action series Black & White.  On August 4, 2015, Shout! Factory will unleash Black & White: The Dawn of Assault on Blu-ray™ and DVD. Delivering blockbuster movie entertainment, Black & White: The Dawn of Assault puts its own spin on the classic buddy cop formula with this outrageous actioner filled to the brim with over-the-top stunts, government conspiracies, and weapons of mass destruction.  A must-have home entertainment collection for action movie fans, collectors and world cinema enthusiasts, Black & White: The Dawn of Assaultis available at Walmart stores and online.

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Film 

They’re the last hope to save Harbour City… if they don’t kill each other first.  When a maverick cop and a gangster headed for retirement team up, sparks will fly and heads will roll in Black & White:The Dawn of Assault!  Suspended detective Wu finds himself back in the thick of things when he crosses paths with Triad member Xu, who’s looking to unload a stash of hot diamonds. When Xu’s deal turns into a shoot-out and the diamonds go missing, the cop and the criminal reluctantly join forces to retrieve them. Before long they find themselves not only to be the hunters, but the hunted as their mission escalates into something bigger and more dangerous than they’d ever expected!

I have to admit I had never see the film that this is apparently a prequel to.  That was something that surprised me upon receiving it, I wanted to make an effort to see the first before tapping into this one for the review.  But, alas, time was not my friend and I wasn’t able to see the original film before this.  However, I didn’t find myself lost here at all.  After all, its a prequel, things should be getting introduced and serve as its own starting point.  That’s what a good prequel would accomplish.

We have a buddy action film where you have someone on the side of law paired on an adventure with a criminal underling.  Some good humor flies around and back and forths work to make this thing have solid character work.  It helps to ramp up the adventure and bring some viewer stakes tot he action sequences.  Most of the characters here too are made pretty distinct and recognizable (and fun) which a lot action movies can forget about doing.

And the action in this film is pretty great.  It has an obsession with explosions and I’m pretty thankful for that.  In addition to watching stuff blow up there are some really terrific shootouts and fist fights.  The choreography here is really solid, if not impressive at many times.  While I think there is some good character work here that helps add some weight to these sequences, they are good enough to impress enough on their own even if the film was mediocre or average, that kick it up a notch.

Now, after seeing this, I definitely want to go back to the original film that apparently follows this chronologically.  This film not only has a decent story to go with the action, its action is very groovy and will keep you thrilled throughout its run time.  This is a recommend, I suppose, from someone who hadn’t seen the previous film.

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Video 

Encoding: MPEG-4 AVC

Resolution: 1o80p

Aspect Ratio: 2.25:1

Clarity/Detail:  Being a recent film, this looks pretty spiffy here on Blu-ray.  Clarity and sharpness are very good.  Detail isn’t quite razor sharp, but it is well above average with good color, and contrast levels.

Depth:  Movement looks nice and cinematic.  Background imagery is pretty clear when focused.

Black Levels: Blacks are rich, with minimal detail hidden among hair color and dark clothing.  No real crushing witnessed.

Color Reproduction:  Colors pop pretty good.  Explosions with their flaring orange look really rich (and there’s plenty of them too).  Blues look really nice and stand out, the others are well represented too.

Flesh Tones:  Natural and consistent.  Detail is rather good when it comes to facial defects, stubble, wrinkles and other sorts of blemishes.

Noise/Artifacts: Clean

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Audio 

Audio Format(s): Mandarin (Chinese) 5.1 DTS-HD MA, Mandarin (Chinese) 2.0 Stereo DTS-HD MA, English 2.0 Stereo DTS-HD MA

Subtitles: English

Dynamics:  This is a pretty explosive track that was rather impressive.  All the sound effects are really pristine sounding and well rounded.  There is a nice loose quality to the track making for a humble balance of dialogue, scoring and sounds.

Low Frequency Extension:  Gunshot get a little pop, explosions rumble, doors slam hard and punches land courtesy of the work put in by the subwoofer on the track.

Surround Sound Presentation:  An incredibly fun mix that finds bullets flying, connecting and smashing through all channels.  Movement of action on screen is expertly tracked in this mix going from speaker to speaker and finding volume accuracy.

Dialogue Reproduction:  Dialogue is clear and clean.

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Extras 

Black & White: The Dawn Of Assault features a promotional image on the reverse side of the cover artwork.

Behind The Scenes (HD, 7:11) – A safe little EPK featuring interviews and on-set footage.

Theatrical Trailer (HD, 2:58)

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Summary 

I had never seen the film that preceded this or came after in terms of chronological storytelling, but I still had a lot of fun and was never really confused.  Its a film that features some terrific action and chase sequences.  The presentation here from Shout! Factory is top notch in both the audio and video departments.  Extras leave a bit to be desired, but do provide at least something to munch on after finishing the film.

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Writer/Reviewer, lifelong obsessive film nerd. As eager to educate in the world of film as I am to learn. An avid lover of horror, schlock and trash, Brandon hosts the Cult Cinema Cavalcade podcast on the Creative Zombie Studios Network (www.cultcinemacavalcade.com) You can also find more essays on his blog Naptown Nerd (naptownnerd.blogspot.com).

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