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The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )



Audio/Video total rating:

( Max score: 100 )

Studio and Year: Anchor Bay Films- 2011
MPAA Rating: R
Feature running time: 98 minutes
Genre: Drama, Action

Disc Format: BD-25
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 2.35:1
Resolution: 1080p/24

Audio Format(s): Mandarin DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish
Starring: Donnie Yen, Takeshi Kaneshiro, Wei Tang, Kara Hui
Directed by: Peter Chan
Written by: Joyce Chan, Oi Wah Lam
Music by: Kwong Wing Chan
Region Code: A

Blu-ray Disc release Date: April 16, 2013
"Blood Always Leaves A Trail"

Film Synopsis:

A sinful martial arts expert wants to start a new tranquil life, only to be hunted by a determined detective and his former master.

My Take:

The Asian material arts world is not a genre I am too familiar with. I jumped into this one with a bit of a preconceived notion that I was not going to dig it. Boy was I wrong. Dragon is a film that plays with familiar themes yet somehow seems to feel fresh and original. In a way it reminded me of Cronnenberg's A History Of Violence, as the films main conflict is how you cant escape from your past or your true nature.

Starring Donny Yen of IP Man fame as Liu Jin-xi, Dragon is the story of a man who is on the run from his past, and now living a quiet life with his family until a pair of bad men come stirring trouble up in his village. He ends up killing the two baddies, and sparks the interest of local detective Xu Bai-Jiu (Takeshi Kaneshiro) who ends up digging too deep into his past. This stirs up people who have been searching for Liu Jin-xi for years, as well as Xu Bai-Jiu's unrelenting belief that there is more to him than meets the eye.

Dragon is far from an original idea, but the cast leads of Yen and Kaneshiro are superb, as are the films direction and cinematography. The film has moments that don't seem to fit the overall story arch, as well as a few characters and situations that seem only there to progress plot, however, when focused on the two leads, their inter-play, as well as some great Martial Arts, Dragon is undeniably a winner.

Parental Guide:

Rated R for 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.**

Audio: 90

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

  • Dynamics:

  • Low frequency extension:

  • Surround Sound presentation:

  • Clarity/Detail:

  • Dialogue Reproduction:

Video: 88

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

  • Resolution/Clarity:

  • Black level/Shadow detail:

  • Color reproduction:

  • Fleshtones:

  • Compression:

Dragon comes to Blu-ray from Anchor Bay featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 22.5 mbps and DTS HD-MA 5.1 sound that has an average bitrate of 3.8 mbps

Shot in 35mm, Anchor Bay's transfer of Dragon is filmic, with impressive delineation of fine details and is naturally colorful in a real word way. There is a bit of a problem with crushed blacks, but this does not spoil the fact that all other aspects of this presentation are top-tier. The Lossless DTS HD-MA track is wonderful with a impressive dynamics, some nice LFE, and articulate sounds of sibilance in vocals are also of note. Where this one shines is its heavy, yet never too over-cooked use of effect channels for atmospherics as a 360 sound field. This is shining example of a great surround mix.

Bonus Features:

  • The Making of Dragon

  • Featurettes with Donnie Yen

  • Music Video

  • Final Thoughts:

    Dragon surprised me with its take on some age old plot-lines and conflicts, which felt like a take on Cronnenberg's A History Of Violence was thrown in a blender with classic wester ideals. Yen and Kaneshiro take it all to the next level as do the films technical merits, and Anchor Bay doesn't let us down with its 1080p AVC Transfer. A lack of extras is a bit of a bummer for fans, however, I would not be disappointed if I had bought this as a blind buy as I will be giving it another spin someday.

    Lee Weber
    AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews

    Reference Review Systems:

    JVC DLA-RS4810 3D 1080p 3D High Definition Front Projector

    Screen Innovations Solar HD 1.3 120" 2.40:1 CinemaScope Screen

    Onkyo PR-SC5509 Pre/Pro

    Sunfire Theater Grand 7201 Amplifier

    Sony BDP-S790 Blu-ray Player (HDMI Audio/Video)

    Triad InRoom Gold LCR's

    Triad OnWall Silver Surrounds

    2 Triad Silver OmniSubs

    Panasonic TC-P65VT30 3D 1080p Plasma

    Marantz NR1603 Receiver

    Sony PS3 (HDMI Audio/Video)

    MKSound MP-7 LCR's

    MKSound SUR-55T Surrounds

    MKSound SB-8 Subwoofer

· Registered
1,593 Posts
Being a Donnie Yen fan since I first saw Ip Man, I tried to watch as many of his newer movies as I can, only to be a little disappointed. Dragon is no different.

I think it may be my fault as Ip Man set the bar so high, that I look for that dynamic presence and story in all his films now. I think it's worth a rental though.
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