The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )
Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )
Studio and Year: Magnolia - 2008
MPAA Rating: R
Feature running time: 92 Minutes
Genre: Action/Martial Arts
Disc Format: BD-25
Video Aspect: 1.78:1
Audio Format(s): English/Thai DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio, English/Thai Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English & Spanish
Starring: Jeeja Yanin, Ammara Siripong, Hiroshi Abe, Dechawut Chuntakaro
Directed by: Prachya Pinkaew
Written by: Chukiat Sakveerakul & Napalee
Region Code: A
Blu-ray Disc release Date: February 10, 2009
"She’s sweet but deadly"
A young girl learns to fight from watching TV and the fighters from the boxing school next door. When she finds a list of debtors in her ailing mother's diary, she sets upon a violent quest to collect payment for medical expenses. Her quest is a dangerous one that ultimately leads her to her father, a mafia member of the Yakuza.
Naturally armed with lightening fast reflexes and a propensity for information, Zen absorbs devastating martial arts skills from watching television and the Muay Thai boxers practicing next door. Emulating their skills with deadly accuracy and strength, she looks to settle her ailing mother’s debts by seeking out the ruthless people that owe her money. Ferocious yet agile, Zen is a powerful force to be reckoned with and refuses to back down from the gangster tyrants.
I don’t consider myself to be a fan of martial arts films but I have nothing against them either. As a film enthusiast I can pretty much enjoy anything that is entertaining. I have to admit that I am in awe of the technical skills and physicality involved in this sport. Watching the intricate choreography that goes into the making of a film like Chocolate is equally impressive. This movie represents 24 year old Jeeja Yanin’s first feature film and she was awesome. She was selected for her martial arts chops as well as her good looks and the combination worked well. The story isn’t particularly complex and doesn’t call for an in depth dramatic performance from her (although she does portray an autistic teenager). Besides we rarely watch movies like this for their drama, we watch them for the action. Things start off kind of slow as the story is setup but once is gets rolling it picks up nicely. There are several extended fight sequences where Yanin gets to unload and she is incredible to watch. When the film ends there is an outtake segment that shows some of the many injuries that were sustained by her and the cast during the making of the film. While I can’t honestly say that I thought Chocolate (not sure how the title ties in with the movie btw) was a great movie It left me feeling entertained when it was over. I have decided to add it to my collection and watch it again. When all is said and done I guess that speaks for itself.
The rating is for pervasive violence and brief sexuality/nudity.
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)
- Low frequency extension:
- Surround Sound presentation:
- Dialogue Reproduction:
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Black level/Shadow detail:
- Color reproduction:
Chocolate comes to Blu-ray Disc from Magnolia featuring 1080p VC-1 encoded video that has an average bitrate of 24 mbps and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 2.4 mbps.
This high definition video presentation had a distinctive visual aesthetic that featured a reserved chromatic palette which made use of sepia tones and muted primaries. This applied predominantly to interior and darker sequences. Exterior shots used bolder colors with deeper saturation. Contrast and brightness were nicely balanced and blacks were deep and punchy. Flesh tones were on the bland side but retained enough complexional variety to avoid appearing lifeless. This was related to the filtering applied and not to the encoding. Close ups offered appreciable texture with excellent delineation and subtle refinement. Wide angle shots had excellent depth, with sharp resolute image quality that was rarely questionable. I didn’t notice any signs of compression or video related artifacts.
The high resolution DTS-HD MA audio is of reference quality and delivers the soundtrack’s elements with aplomb. The higher fidelity inherent in this lossless sound mix was readily apparent. I used the Thai DTS-HD MA track during my evaluation rather than the dubbed English version. Dynamics range is extended which rendered the film’s action based sequences with definitive impact and energy. Dialogue is presented with crystal clear intonation, full bodied texture, and deep room penetration. The opening of chapter two is lead by a female vocal performance accompanied by acoustic guitar. The vocals sounded silky smooth, sibilant free and airy through the center channel. The guitar was mixed to the main channels and had defining presence and superlative transparent detail. The sounds of breaking glass, swirling objects and clashing swords was reproduced with sparkling clarity. Imaging across the front of the room was excellent as sounds were integrated with precision. This is an busy surround mix that intelligently utilizes the entire system. During the fight sequences the listening position is actively engaged by a mixture of spatial and localizable sound effects that place the listener in the heart of the action. Low frequency detail is clean, well articulated and authoritative as all points of contact seem to resonate with palpable bass impact. This ramps up during chapters ten and eleven which feature a few deep low frequency transients that bass heads are sure to appreciate. This isn’t a bombastic or overly aggressive soundtrack but it’s blend of intricate detail and room filling dynamics make it a first rate home theater experience.
- Making of Chocolate - 9 minute documentary
- (HD) Previews from Magnolia HE
Chocolate is an above average martial arts flick that features enough butt kicking action to keep genre fans happy. Newcomer Jeeja Yanin is incredible to watch and offers a great combination of beauty and technical skill. Hopefully we can look forward to more from her in the future. Magnolia HE has done an outstanding job with its presentation on Blu-ray disc as it looks great and sounds even better. The bonus supplements only include a brief making of feature that includes cast/crew interviews and a decent behind the scenes look at the production. If high flying martial arts movies are to your liking then I would recommend that you give this one a spin.
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews
Reference Review System:
JVC DLA-RS20 1080p High Definition Front Projector
Carada Precision Brilliant White 96" Screen
Oppo 970HD universal disc DVD Player (480i HDMI)
Toshiba HD-XA2 HD DVD Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Panasonic DMP-BD55K Blu-ray disc Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Sony Playstation 3 Blu-ray disc Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Marantz DV7001 Universal Disc Player
Denon AVR 5308CI THX Ultra 2 Preamp/Video Processor
B&K Reference 200.7 Series 2 seven Channel amplifier
Philips TSU9400 Pro Series Touch Panel Remote Control
Canton "Ergo" Series speakers
Axiom Audio QS8 Quadpolar speakers
SV Sound PB-13 Ultra (Rosenut finish)
APC AV S15BLK Power Conditioner/Surge Protector
Furman SPR-20i Stable Power Regulator
Wireworld, VizionWare, Audioquest, Best Deal Cables - Audio/Video/Speaker Cabling
Cool Components - CP-CP102 cooling package
When your review came up I immediately Netflixed it and its available!
This is the kind of movie release schedule we need (it was in theaters on the 6th and on dvd the 10th!!!!!!!!!!!)
the movie looks like a hoot. Right up there with Kung Fu Hustle I hope.
FS: Complete theater with two large AT screens - local pick up in Indiana only
Great review Ralph as always.
JVC CMD Vertical Banding: Affects all currently shipping lamp based JVC Projectors
PLEASE CALL JVC AND REPORT THE CMD BANDING IF THIS BOTHERS YOU
Choose option 1, then 4 and have your serial# ready (located on back of unit or box).