Wednesday, November 17, 2021

The Emperor's Sword Review: Sharp Action Dulled By Heavy CG

Release date: November 9, 2021
Running time: 93 minutes
Directors: Yingli Zhang and Haonan Chen
Starring: Fengbin Mu, Yilin Hao, Qihang Zhao, and Qiyu Yang

During a time of peace, a deadly sword that bestows great power upon its wielder was divided and hidden. After the emperor dies, a deranged rebel seizes power and stages a massacre during his search for the blade, leaving only one survivor. Now, the young daughter of a great general is all that stands between a tyrant and his quest for domination.

The Emperors Sword revolves around a powerful weapon, and as you would expect, the action in this movie is pretty good.  I liked the hand to hand combat and especially some of the tense scenes.  There were several encounters that took place in fields where vision was obscured.  You would just hear an arrow whizzing through the sky and hope that the target was able to dodge it in time.  The film also has some very nice camera work, including several one shot sequences that make sure the viewer stays in the action.  It had this interesting way of circling the room that was fun to see and kept the viewer engaged.

However, despite the action being generally pretty good, the effects are hit or miss.  The film has some poor CG and some effects that are obviously computer generated or even low resolution.  It was really strange to see this on the Blu Ray and I had to rewind just to make sure I was seeing this correctly.  Now the film is not shy about showing the CG roots of it, in fact it highlights the CG in some impressive ending credit scenes showing the before and after.  And although these are impressive feats, they don't translate into impressive scenes.  Additionally, outside of the action, the story is slow to develop and confusing.  This could have just been unfamiliarity with the subject matter, but I had trouble following everything that happened.

The Emperor's Sword has some tense action and interesting camera work, but the heavy use of effects and noticeable CG dull this otherwise sharp action film.

Pass on it.

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The Emperor's Sword is available on Blu-Ray, DVD, digitally, and on demand on November 9, 2021.  

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