review by Bobby Blakey
Well Go USA continues to be the premiere distributor for Asian cinema. Their latest, Shadow from Hero and House of Flying Daggers director Zhang Yimou. Could this be yet another martial arts epic that brings something new to the table or will it be washed out before the fight can begin?
Shadow follows a kingdom ruled by a young and unpredictable king, but the military commander has a secret weapon: a “shadow”, a look-alike who can fool both his enemies and the King himself. Now he must use this weapon in an intricate plan that will lead his people to victory in a war that the King does not want. I love all things martial arts and was instantly interested when I saw this trailer if for no other reason than the clever new weapons in use. The story itself is actually a bit slow with it trying to build the story and tension as we get closer to the bigger fight.
While there are a few minor fights initially it’s not until later in the film that it actual picks up. Once they shift the focus to the new style of fighting with the bladed umbrellas (yes you heard that right) it steps its game up to deliver some beautiful action. One of the things I love about movies like this is the creativity in creating something that stands out in the world of martial arts and these bladed umbrella weapons do just that and are used to perfection. The grey tones to the overall look of the film help it to stand out as something all its own with it only being more beautiful when the rain begins.
If I had issues with the overall film it was the slow pace in the first half. While it works and I understand what it is trying to develop it just needed that injection to keep you invested for the worthy second half. I love these kinds of movies and by the end it was worth the journey and stands out with the awesome weaponry and visuals that I think most in the genre will no doubt enjoy.
Shadow hits DVD, Blu-ray Combo, 4K Ultra Blu-ray Combo and digital on August 13 from Well Go USA