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Saving General Yang (Blu-ray Review)

Saving General Yang - www.whysoblu.comNortheast China, early Northern Song dynasty, AD 986. The Khitan army takes its revenge for a past massacre, abducting General Yang Ye (Adam Cheng) and leaving his wife and seven sons to rescue him – and fall into their deadly trap. Led by the first son (Ekin Cheng), the seven – two of whom have never seen combat – set out with a small band of fighters to face an army of thousands, brave the treacherous Wolf Mountain, face the nemesis of their shared history, and find the way back alive – all to bring their father home. 

Saving General Yang - www.whysoblu.com

 

Film 

Saving General Yang is Ronny Yu’s (Fearless, Freddy Vs. Jason, Bride of Chucky) latest film and is the story of General Yang (Adam Cheng) who gets himself kidnapped by a rival force that forces the hand of the family left behind to try and bring him home at all costs. His wife and seven sons are tasked with bringing their father home. This poses some problems, because two of the sons have zero combat experience, which may bring more harm than good to the rest of the clan should they meet with evil forces. And they will. Not only will they meet against evil forces, but also they will have to brave through the elements and face their own personal fears as they pursue the kidnappers through the dangerous terrain that is Wolf Mountain.

I do like war epics laced with legend and folklore topped off with brutal violence and great characters. Saving General Yang has all of these in abundance. This is a sword fight epic of sorts and one of the neat things was that for all of the blood and violence it didn’t seem gratuitous at all. There are some very brutal hits throughout the film and some fantastic scenes of drama during the few quiet moments in Saving General Yang. I also want to say what a treat it is to have Ronny Yu back making films again. His last feature was 2006’s Fearless starring Jet Li. It was great to see that Yu had not lost any of his directing abilities. He’s more than able.

It also seems that Saving General Yang is a more personal project, because he co-wrote, produced, and directed the film. I enjoyed the spirit of the adventure itself and the family bond. I don’t want to spoil anything that the trailer hasn’t already done but I like that this was a very self-contained version of the few versus the many for one ultimate goal: to get their father home. I think those scenes with General Yang and his sons were expertly handled and the various metaphors used throughout the film were clear as day. The ending of the film is pretty touching, too.

For those that enjoy war films, sword fights, with hints of fantasy, Saving General Yang should accommodate those needs. With Ronny Yu back in the director’s chair I eagerly await his next feature. I highly recommend Saving General Yang on Blu-ray. Continue reading for my thoughts on the video and audio specs and special features. Much props given to Well Go USA for bringing this epic to the high definition format. It was needed.

Saving General Yang - www.whysoblu.com

Video 

Saving General Yang is presented in 1080p, 2.40:1 widescreen. The film is a period piece (an expensive looking one at that), so it’s no surprise that the Blu-ray video for the film lives up to the high standards put forth by the high definition format. Flesh tones look great and never come off as unnatural or pasty. The color palette can shift from vibrancy to dark and drabness depending on the locale and scene in the film and both of these shifts in colors are handled flawlessly by the transfer. Black levels are consistent and never crush. Contrast levels remain even for the most part. Saving General Yang looks really good on Blu-ray.

Saving General Yang - www.whysoblu.com

 

Audio 

Saving General Yang is presented in Mandarin DTS-HD MA 5.1. An English 5.1. surround dubbed version is also included. This is a very robust soundtrack. You feel like you’re riding into battle with the seven sons whenever they’re onscreen. You can feel every swing of a board sword, spear, and feel he crushing blow of a shield, and hear the whizz of an arrow fly by your head. Saving General Yang will pummel you with vicious blows but when moments of clarity and reflection are presented it adjusts accordingly. Dialogue is clean and crisp and the surround channels handle the ambience of the fields, woods, mountainsides, forests, etc., perfectly. The sound field really envelopes you and makes you part of this world – the Blu-ray sounds terrific!

 Saving General Yang - www.whysoblu.com

 

Extras 

As is custom with a majority of these Well Go USA titles – the features may be a tad light in abundance but they do not skimp on quality and length. The first is a making of featurette that plays with just music in the background and we get to see the actual filming of the movie, with cameras and cranes swinging about all over the place. The second feature is the one that takes the cake. It’s a 95-minute documentary that features in depth interviews with director Ronny Yu and the members of the cast. Everything you can imagine is touched upon in this very informative documentary piece. Hell, it’s almost as long as the film!  A trailer finishes off the set. They’re all presented in HD.

  • Making Of – Saving General Yang 
  • Interviews with Director & Cast
  • English Language Trailer

Saving General Yang - www.whysoblu.com

 

Summary 

It was great to see Ronny Yu back in the director’s chair again. Saving General Yang is an action packed romp of a film, with plenty of historical depth and a tiny bit of fantasy thrown into the mix for good measure. It’s not overly bloody but it does contain scenes of brutal violence. Does that make sense? The video, audio and excellent special features make for a cool Blu-ray package that all lovers of Asian film should add to their collection. Now if we could only get The Bride with White Hair on Blu-ray at some point – my Ronny Yu catalog would be complete! 😉

 

 

Order Saving General Yang on Blu-ray!

Saving General Yang - www.whysoblu.com

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Gerard Iribe is a writer/reviewer for Why So Blu?. He has also reviewed for other sites like DVD Talk, Project-Blu, and CHUD, but Why So Blu? is where the heart is. You can follow his incoherency on Twitter: @giribe

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