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True Legend - Blu-ray / action and adventure DVD / arthouse and international DVD / martial arts epic DVD / foreign language DVD review
TRUE LEGEND Rated R by the Motion Picture Association of America curledupdvd.com rating: 3 stars
Featuring: Vincent Zhao, Michelle Yeoh, Jay Chou, Andy On, David Carradine
Director: Yuen Woo Ping Distributor: Vivendi Entertainment
DVD release: 13 September 2011 Runtime: 116 min.
(1 disc)
Format: Dolby, Subtitled, Widescreen
DVD features: 1080p High Definition, Aspect ratio 1.85:1, Audio tracks (Mandarin - DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, English - DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0), Subtitles (English, French), Five original featurettes, Two storyboard-to-scene sequences, Music video, International trailer

*True Legend* True Legend marks the long-awaited return of Yuen Woo-Ping to the director's chair, though he's not been idle. The un-informed may recognize his body of work in The Matrix trilogy, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Kill Bill 1 and 2 and Kung Fu Hustle. He's the martial arts choreographer who made it possible for you to believe that Keanu Reeves could truly kick you in the face. Ping is a true legend, but his latest film, while entertaining, fails to meet the expectation.

*True Legend* True Legend tells the story of Su Can (Man Cheuk Chiu), a successful general who steps down from his post to start a family and a Wushu school. Years before, Su's father killed a man who had been made insane by the Five Venom Fists technique, and raised his two children, Yuan Lie (Andy On) and Yuan Ying (Xun Zhou). At some point, Lie decides he's pissed about Su's father killing his own and vows to take revenge. He's none too pleased that Su has married Ying, either. They battle, and Su is left defeated, bruised and seriously de-motivated. He and his wife, believed to be dead, live for years on a lonely mountain. Their son is left in the care of uncle Lie, who continues to infuse his body with poisons to let him use the Five Venom Fists technique.

*True Legend* The fighting in True Legend is fantastic. The story arc for three-quarters of the film is great, but the end seems tacked on apropos of nothing. There are great action and special effects, and the story finds itself at a conclusion - but proceeds on for a fourth act in which Su fights in a tournament using Drunken Fist technique, which he's perfected after years of somewhat pathetic alcoholism.

I wonder if the film was lengthened to incorporate scenes shot with David Carradine (who died in 2009) to honor him, or to cash in on one of his final performances. I admit I'm a bit cynical, but I can't otherwise imagine why the film didn't end at its natural climax. There is great action throughout, but it should be there to support the story - it can't be the only reason for making a film. If you come for the Kung Fu and wirework, you won't be disappointed. I'm looking forward to Yuen's next film.
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reviewed by Eric Renshaw
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