The Forbidden Kingdom (Blu-ray) Official AVSForum Review - AVS Forum
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Old 08-31-2008, 08:14 AM - Thread Starter
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attachment.php?attachmentid=117269&d=1219173358
The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )

Film: attachment.php?attachmentid=109943&d=1210373647

Extras: attachment.php?attachmentid=109944&d=1210373692

Audio/Video total rating:

( Max score: 100 )

93






Studio and Year: Lionsgate - 2008
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Feature running time: 104 Minutes
Genre: Action/Adventure

Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 2.40:1
Resolution: 1080p/24


Audio Format(s): DTS-HD 7.1 Master Audio, Dolby Digital EX 5.1 Surround
Subtitles: English SDH, English, Spanish
Starring: Jacki Chan, Jet Li, Michael Angarano, Yifei Liu, Collin Chou, Li Bing Bing
Directed by: Rob Minkoff
Music by: David Buckley
Written by: John Fusco
Region Code: A

Blu-ray Disc release Date: September 9, 2008







"The path is unsafe. The place is unknown. The journey is unbelievable"



Film Synopsis:

Individually, they've starred in the most adrenaline-pumping martial-arts adventures ever. Together for the first time, Jet Li and Jackie Chan join forces to create the greates epic of them all- THE FORBIDDEN KINGDOM. As ancient Chinese warriors, they must train and mentor a 21st century kung-fu fanatic who's been summoned to fight a centuries-old battle and free the imprisoned Monkey King. If you're a fighting fan, the wait is over. The team is ready. The Kingdom has arrived.




My Take:

attachment.php?attachmentid=118414&d=1220191408

I don't consider myself a fan of Jackie Chan films but I have yet to see him in a role where I didn't find him to be likeable. I am also fascinated by the physical things he can do with martial arts and in general. I am less familiar with Jet Li although I have seen a few of his movies. I don't find him to be as appealing onscreen as Jackie. I had seen the trailer for Forbidden Kingdom on TV but it didn't look like something that would attract me enough to take it in at the theater. After watching it I would say that my instincts were right. That is not a criticism because I liked this film. Its plot is straight forward and the premise is nothing new. For me, films like this that have a plot that we have all so many times before needs to bring likeable characters and decent action to the table. That is where I think that The Forbidden Kingdom succeeds. Michael Angarano really isn't much of an actor but he worked well within his boundaries and let Chan do most of the heavy lifting. This is not a film that requires a lot of dramatic interplay. As cool as the two good guys were in this film the two bad guys were even better. The Jade Warlord (Chou) and the white haired witch Ni Chang (Bing Bing) had powers that were just too cool. Both Chan and Li had dual roles in the film which I thought was a nice touch. I think that they both overacted when portraying their non lead counterparts but that was fine. The story was your run of the mill quest type and opens with a back story about the legendary Monkey King in Ancient China. He is an immortal who uses a large golden rod as his weapon. He ends up fighting The Jade Warrior who is an immortal who rules the land dictator style through the use of his large Jade Army. The Monkey King loses to the Jade Warrior after being tricked into dropping his guard. Before being turned into stone and imprisoned by the Jade Warrior he discards his weapon by sending it hurtling through the air into the mountains.

Fast forward to present day Boston. Jason (Angarano) is a kung fu movie fan nerd who hangs out at a local video store owned by a very old Chinaman named Old Hop. He finds a Chinese weapon (a very old golden rod) in a backroom at the shop and is told by Hop that it was there when he took the place over and must be returned to its rightful owner. Jason leaves the store and of course runs into a gang of local bullies who proceed to slap him around ala Karate Kid style. They force him back to the video store and attempt to rob the place. In the process the leader of the gang pulls a pistol and shoots Hop. In the fracas Jason grabs the stick weapon and is chased to the roof of a building by the bullies. He ends up falling off of the building while holding the stick and suddenly awakens in Ancient China. He subsequently meets up with Chan who is a drunken warrior type who is also said to be an immortal. Chan sees the ancient weapon and tells Jason the story of the Monkey King and that he (Jason) has been sent to fulfill the prophecy by returning it to the Monkey King. The problem is that in order to do this he must go the lair of The Jade Warrior which is heavily guarded. They meet up with Golden Sparrow (Liu) who is a gifted martial artist herself who seeks revenge on the Jade Warrior for the murder of her parents. Li joins up with them along the way and has a promise of his own to fulfill.

I thought that the film's cinematography and music score were superb. The action sequences were good and what you would expect from a film that stars Jet Li and Jackie Chan. The choreography was first rate and enabled the action stars to show off their martial arts chops. The special effects helped to raise the entertainment value a notch as they were excellent. In the end it was predictable but so what. I had a great time and that is really what its all about anyway.




Parental Guide:

The rating is for martial arts action and some violence.






AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65

**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**


(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

Audio: 94



  • Dynamics: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373699

  • Low frequency extension: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373699

  • Surround Sound presentation: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373699

  • Clarity/Detail: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373699

  • Dialogue Reproduction: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373699



Video: 92


(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)


  • Resolution/Clarity: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373699

  • Black level/Shadow detail: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373699

  • Color reproduction: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373699

  • Fleshtones: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373699

  • Compression: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373699
attachment.php?attachmentid=118413&d=1220191408

The Forbidden Kingdom comes to Blu-ray Disc from Lionsgate featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 32 mbps and lossless DTS-HD 7.1 channel Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 5.5 Mbps.

This movie was shot on high definition video which may not appeal to film purists but it does not change the fact that it looks really good on Blu-ray Disc. Aside from looking somewhat edgy and, well, digital at times this is pristine quality video. Detail is flawless with first rate visual acuity and fine rendering throughout. The landscapes and vista views of the locations in China where the film was shot were breathtaking. Colors are lavish and eye popping with oversaturated primaries and warm tonality that make them pleasing. Flesh tones were on the golden side with fair delineation among the cast. Good contrast and black levels provided excellent balance during bright scenes containing mixed content. Shadow detail was good enough that I could make out the texture of the dark cave walls in the background as the group took shelter while traveling in the desert. I didn't detect any significant video related anomalies.

The 7.1 channel DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack was impressive. This is a powerful mix that utilizes the entire system to create a theater like experience. Sound staging is excellent as both the front and rear channels are seamless integrated. Sound effects traverse the room during the large fight sequences. Dynamics are energy filled and impact felt with incredible articulation and clarity. This is an aggressive mix that makes regular use of the subwoofer to accentuate its already powerful dynamics. The result is that all points of contact seem to resonate with low bass impact. This included punches that landed during the many one on encounters in the film. Bass fanatics will love the deep bass impact but there were times where I felt it was excessive. The quality of the bass was first rate. Hard hitting, deep extension with quick attack and room filling power. The good news is that when appropriately put to use it simply rocked the house. The scene in Chapter 14 when Jason releases the Monkey King is a great example. There are 3 low bass energy bursts that sweep through the room along with an amazing full system attack that are easily worthy demo material. Dialogue was rendered with aplomb and ranks up there with the best sound mixes that I have heard. David Buckley's music sounded simply marvelous. Instrumentation and sound field placement allowed it to flow through the room as it maintained a position of prominence without a dominating presence.



Bonus Features:

The bonus features were above average and sporadically entertaining. I thought the Dangerous Beauty, Blooper reel, and Kung Fu Dream Team pieces (in that order) were the best of the bunch. All the content is presented in high definition which is always a plus. The Molog feature was not accessible when I tried it but I suspect it will be up and running by release day. The Bonus view and Molog features require BD profile 1.1 and 2.0 enabled Blu-ray disc players for full feature access.





  • BonusView PiP feature - Pop-up trivia, interviews and behind the scenes footage while movie plays

  • (HD) Storyboarding and Previz: The movie before the movie feature

  • (HD) The Kung Fu Dream Team - A feature on Jet Li, Jackie Chan and the choreography and cinematography used in the film

  • (HD) Dangerous Beauty: The women of The Forbidden Kingdom feature

  • (HD) Discovering China - Features the locations in China used to shoot the film

  • (HD) Filming in China wood - Set design, Chinese studios used to shoot the film

  • (HD) Monkey King and the eight Immortals feature

  • (HD) Blooper reel

  • (HD) Deleted scenes with optional Director commentary

  • Molog - Network connected community and interactive movie blog tool set

  • Digital Copy - Standard Definition version of the film that can be dowloaded to a portable playback device from a PC or MAC
attachment.php?attachmentid=118415&d=1220191408



Final Thoughts:



The Forbidden Kingdom is a fun martial arts action adventure film that is made all the better by its high definition presentation on Blu-ray Disc. Its reference quality audio and video will help to make it more enticing to enthusiasts who crave quality high definition source material to show off the potential of their home theater systems. I recommend you give it a spin in your home theater.







attachment.php?attachmentid=109949&d=1210373731






Ralph Potts
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Old 08-31-2008, 08:56 AM
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Thanks for the review, Ralph. I didn't catch this in theaters either, but will probably give this a blind buy as I'm a fan of both Li and Chan movies, and from your review, this doesn't sound like a bad film.
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Old 09-01-2008, 05:06 AM
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Will be watching my copy tonight. Cheers Ralph.

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Old 09-01-2008, 10:00 AM
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Quote:
Instrumentation and sound field placement allowed it to flow through the room as it maintained a position of prominence without a dominating presence.

Spot on Ralph, the mix was also very impressive as you stated. You gotta love DTS HD MA 7.1

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Old 09-02-2008, 08:06 AM
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Forget the rental as far as me personally, I'm going to go ahead and get it. I've read nothing pretty much but good things about the PQ and AQ from various resources. Thanks to Ralph for getting to this one.
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Old 09-02-2008, 08:37 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Franin View Post

Spot on Ralph, the mix was also very impressive as you stated. You gotta love DTS HD MA 7.1

Greetings,

Glad you enjoyed it Frank !


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Old 09-06-2008, 10:05 AM
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It is a little short for run time but I'd like to see this pricing to continue at release date from Lionsgate and other studios to follow.

Good PQ and AQ with 7.1 HD MA to boot. There are far more BDs from other studios for a higher going price initially at release date that don't offer this quality!
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Old 09-07-2008, 06:16 AM
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Thanks for the great review!

If you're not familiar with Jet Li's work I would suggest you check out Fist of Legend or Once Upon a Time in China. Jet is a far superior martial artist to Jackie who is more of a gimmick. The problem is Jet's personality and skills are more suited to Hong Kong directed films and not the americanized roles he has taken over the past 5 years.
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Old 09-07-2008, 05:07 PM
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Good reviews all around on this disc everywhere.
From Blu-ray.com review:

4.5/5 video
5/5 sound

I need to pick this one up sometime soon.
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Old 09-08-2008, 02:10 AM
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I will give this a rent. Glad to hear a good review on it.
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Old 09-09-2008, 09:08 AM
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I loved this movie. Certainly not the best from either Jackie Chan or Jet Li but it was a whole lot of fun. I can't wait 'til I get my copy from Amazon.
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Old 09-10-2008, 11:16 AM
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Picked up this movie yesterday after reading the review an being a fan of martial arts movies. I am very pleased to have added this to my collection. The video an audio was very good, with lots of good fighting scenes.
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Old 09-10-2008, 07:07 PM
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Some of the audio seemed compressed to me (bitstream DTS-HD MA).

The transfer seems perfect though.
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Old 09-13-2008, 09:16 PM
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I just finished watching this movie. The sound is excellent. If you really want to put your equipments to test this is a great BD for that purpose.
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Old 09-16-2008, 06:26 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by joplass View Post

I just finished watching this movie. The sound is excellent. If you really want to put your equipments to test this is a great BD for that purpose.

Greetings,

Glad you enjoyed it.


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Old 09-16-2008, 07:41 AM
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Hey Ralph,

Did this come with a slipcover? Thanks in advance.

You watch a Donnie Yen movie to watch what Donnie does best - kick-ass!
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Old 09-18-2008, 11:19 AM
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^^^ Come on it's not that hard of a question.

You watch a Donnie Yen movie to watch what Donnie does best - kick-ass!
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Old 09-19-2008, 03:02 AM - Thread Starter
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Hey Ralph,

Did this come with a slipcover? Thanks in advance.

Greetings,

Sooooo sorry for not getting back to you on this....!!

No slipcover.


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Old 09-19-2008, 06:15 PM
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No worries buddy. Thanks for taking the time to post back with an answer. I appreciate it.

You watch a Donnie Yen movie to watch what Donnie does best - kick-ass!
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Old 10-02-2008, 04:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rmsanger View Post

Thanks for the great review!

If you're not familiar with Jet Li's work I would suggest you check out Fist of Legend or Once Upon a Time in China. Jet is a far superior martial artist to Jackie who is more of a gimmick. The problem is Jet's personality and skills are more suited to Hong Kong directed films and not the americanized roles he has taken over the past 5 years.

One does not watch Jackie Chan movies for Martial Arts. One watches Jackie Chan movies for the comedy............

Strong or weak in the end we are all dead
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Old 11-30-2008, 09:24 PM
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Hi Ralph,

I know this thread's a bit old but I just picked up FK today for $15 on sale at Walmart. I think your review was spot on, outstanding PQ/AQ and great fun. Most definitely predictable with Jason laying the smack down on the bully-boy, as well as Golden Sparrow reappearing when Jason gets home.

This was exactly what I would expect from a Jackie Chan flick, lots of martial arts trickery and lots of fun. When you add in all the other martial artists and the awesome effects, this movie was extremely enjoyable. I would definitely watch it again.

Btw, don't know about anybody else but I thought the witch was really hot and Golden Sparrow was cute with a capital CUTE!

Anyway Ralph, thanks for your review. Your contributions are appreciated.

Mike T

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Old 12-03-2008, 06:39 PM
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Did anyone try to use the MoLog feature?
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Old 01-01-2009, 09:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rmsanger View Post

Thanks for the great review!

If you're not familiar with Jet Li's work I would suggest you check out Fist of Legend or Once Upon a Time in China. Jet is a far superior martial artist to Jackie who is more of a gimmick. The problem is Jet's personality and skills are more suited to Hong Kong directed films and not the americanized roles he has taken over the past 5 years.

Quote:
Originally Posted by YeuEmMaiMai View Post

One does not watch Jackie Chan movies for Martial Arts. One watches Jackie Chan movies for the comedy............

Jackie's older martial Arts movies were straight no comedy type movies. At one time he was the guy that everyone wanted to fill the shoes of Bruce Lee in the bad a$$ martial arts movies. He started making comedy martial arts movies to break into the US market.

Feeling the Purple Power thanks to HD DVD and Blu Ray.
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Old 01-04-2009, 09:14 PM
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Was debating if i should get this one for my collection and Ralph just confirmed it!
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Old 01-06-2009, 05:50 PM
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Great movie! Gotta see it on blu-ray next.
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Old 04-28-2009, 05:35 AM
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This movie was horrible. Kid goes from being a loser that bullys pick on to being all knowing in Kung Fu after a few lessons and is able to kick Kung Fu masters asses.
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Old 04-28-2009, 09:44 PM
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Originally Posted by Boogie7910 View Post

This movie was horrible. Kid goes from being a loser that bullys pick on to being all knowing in Kung Fu after a few lessons and is able to kick Kung Fu masters asses.

Don't look now folks but his jealousy is showing.

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Old 04-29-2009, 10:06 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Franin View Post

Will be watching my copy tonight. Cheers Ralph.[IMG]http://www.***********************/track/img/3358/s09v0317fvxp/00.gif[/IMG]

Will watch it on the weekend. I loved this movie!
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Old 04-09-2010, 09:24 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Boogie7910 View Post

This movie was horrible. Kid goes from being a loser that bullys pick on to being all knowing in Kung Fu after a few lessons and is able to kick Kung Fu masters asses.

Actually, he wasn't only able to take on a few standard henchmen. The masters still mopped the floor with him. It's an aspect I really enjoyed about this movie since the kid was still a beginner by the time the movie was over. The masters were in a whole other league.

Anyhoo, I'm shocked this is still $24.99 over at Amazon.
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