Tai Chi Zero Blu-ray Review
Written by Michel Sabourin
Blu-ray released by Well Go USA
Directed by Stephen Fung
Written by Chai-lu Chang, Kuo-fu Chen and Hsiao-tse Cheng
2012, Region A, 98 minutes, Not Rated
Blu-ray released on January 22, 2013
Hark-On Fung as Lao Zhao
Stephen Fung as Nan
Yuan Xiaochao as The Freak (as Jayden Yuan
Tai Chi Zero is basically an origin story told merely to set up the next movie, Tai Chi Hero. To that extent, it delivers every beat it needs to in establishing the main characters, their motivations, the geography, the tone, and what you can expect going forward. It's entertaining enough, but it feels like a bit of a letdown that they spend so much time world building and playing the next movie's supposed hero as a bumbling fool, it really dampens my desires to move forward in the series.
TCZ is a fine movie full of dazzling fight sequences, as one would expect, some innovative set design and creature features (can you really call a steampunk robot a creature?). But for all that, it's about as cookie cutter as it comes. You can tell the vast majority of story beats coming from a country mile away. This is the rare movie where I really recommend watching the trailer first. It will set the tone and expectations for you better than the Blu-ray cover does. This is an action-comedy packaged as a badass martial arts movie. Which is a shame, because the cover art sells a certain set of expectations that the movie itself doesn't live up to. This is not the type of movie I sat down to watch based on my initial impressions.
Don't think I'm telling you not to watch it. It is, in all actuality, a fun little action romp almost in the Kung Fu Hustle vein, but not quite as silly and ultimately funny. I enjoyed my time with Tai Chi Zero, but I just wanted a little more payoff to show the zero going to hero to get me excited to sit by the mailbox in anticipation of the sequel.
Video and Audio:
Tai Chi Zero is presented in 16:9 widescreen format with an as expected crisp and clear picture. Well-shot and beautifully framed, the movie is bright and colorful without feeling gaudy or too on the comic side.
The movie is in Mandarin with English subtitles. All of the dialog is mixed well and never overshadowed by the score. The action sequences tend to the louder side as is fairly common for this type of movie.
Special features included on the disc are a making-of featurette, interviews with cast and crew, and trailers for this movie and a few sneak peeks. The only real bonus is a music video for a Chinese rap artist. I didn't understand word one, but it was a decent beat and the flow seemed on point. I actually considered buying the song on iTunes.