HTS Moderator , Reviewer
Title: Kingdom of Blood: The Final Battle
HTS Overall Score:68
I was puzzled when the synopsis for “Kingdom of Blood: The Final Battle” came out. It sounded really familiar, but the title through me for a loop. I searched and searched for information on the title but all I got in return was the same standard press release. However I remember the term “Divine Constabulary” from SOMEWHERE so I searched that key word and it all came flooding back. There was a reason that the title “Kingdom of Blood” didn’t even show up on IMDB. This was originally titled “The Four 3”, which is the second sequel to the Asian film “The Four” released 4 years ago by Well Go USA. I guess Lionsgate decided that “The Four 3” wasn’t going to mesh with U.S. audiences and changed the title for good measure. In that vein, I remembered the wince worthy film that “The Four” was, and hoped for the best. Sadly Gordon Chan hasn’t improved much, and “Kingdom of Blood” is just as bad as the first movie was when I watched it nearly 4 years ago. It has some fun special effects, and some cool Wu Xia martial arts, but style can only make up for so much when you have a confusing plotline and next to no character development to go along with the CGI and hi flying martial arts.
There really isn’t a WHOLE lot of plot to the series. You know you’re in for a rough ride when the first 15 minutes of the movie leaves you confused and speechless as the viewer tries to ascertain just WHO everyone is and what they’re fighting for? Who is the Divine Constabulary? Why do they seem to Blaise about everything and why is the emperor missing? Also, what is up the with the tree guy? Some of those questions are answered, but many others are left unanswered or left dependent on your knowledge of the previous two films. To boil it down succinctly. The Emperor of China has gone out into his kingdom to survey the land and see what his people think of him when he is attacked by a mysterious shape shifting warrior who leaves him missing from the general public and the nation is disarray.
Division Six, and elite group of soldiers headed by Coldblood are heading up the investigation of the missing Emperor, but unbeknownst to him the Emperor is being held by his former lover, Emotionless. While Coldblood and the rest of the kingdom look for their beloved Emperor, the Divine Constabulary (a group of men and women who have incredible Chi powers that has since been disbanded) is forced to re band and look for Emperor Huizong themselves. However, they may find that an even more insidious force is behind the kidnapping than just a rouge assassin. Dark forces are at work and they will stop at nothing till the kingdom is theirs.
“Kingdom of Blood” is sadly one of those films that you need to see the first two in order to really understand what is going on and the character interactions between the Divine Constabulary and Emotionless and Coldblood. Based on a set of novels titled “The Four Great Constables” by Woon Swee Oan, the movies are a bit of a confusing mess, even with the first one. “The Four” was no great film, and in fact was one of my LEAST favorite “Wu Xia” films out to date (besides some old Tsui Hark films) and the sequels haven’t done much in the way of winning me back either. Characters are still paper thin, and plot even thinner. Really it’s nothing but one big martial arts extravaganza complete with magical Chi powers and some fairly decent special effects. Past that I wouldn’t go into the film expecting much of anything.
R for Some Violence
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=69921[/img]Lionsgate’s 2.35:1 Mpeg2 encoded DVD looks quite pleasing despite the lack of High Definition. The franchise has always depended on bright shiny colors with neon overtones and the film delivers on that front. Richly brocaded silk and lovely colors from all shades of the rainbow shine through at every corner. Blacks are deep and inky, but some crush does mar the shadow detail. Otherwise facial structure and long shots both look incredibly well done. Some of the CGI tends to soften the picture a bit when the excessive battles occur, but overall it is a very impressive looking image for a DVD.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=69929[/img]The Audio is just as good as the video is, with strong support in the rear and LFE channel as well as the mains. Dialog is always strong and centered up front, balanced delicately with the aggressive surround activity. Once the action heats up the surrounds are humming with sounds as fits and feet collide in mid-air, or the whirling whoosh of throwing stars and darts shatter on the rock pillars behind the combatants. LFE is powerful and strong, but sadly not TOO deep. It tends to hit that mid bass octaves and doesn’t extend much past 30 hz to my ears. The track comes in both Mandarin and English, but the English dub is REALLY bad, and I’m a purist to begin with, so the Mandarin track earns my vote as the better of the two.
• Confession of Love Featurette
• Coldblooded & Emotionless Featurette
• Bye-Bye the Four Featurette
• Trailer Gallery
Gordon Chan is a fairly competent director and has made some classic films over the years, such as “Fist of Legend”, but he’s also made his fair share of drek as well. “The Four” and its subsequent sequels unfortunately fall into that latter category. Small on plot, weak on real action and rather confusing most of the time, the third entry into the franchise does nothing to redeem the series besides extending it out another hour and 45 minutes. Audio and video on Lionsgate’s DVD version of the film is quite good, but the extras and lack of any major plot points keeps me from recommending the movie. Just Skip It.
Starring: Collin Chou, Chao Deng, Anthony Chau-Sang Wong
Directed By: Gordon Chan
Written By: Maria Wong
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 MPEG2
Audio: English: Dolby Digital 5.1, Mandarin DD 5.1
Runtime: 107 Minutes
DVD Release Date: May 3rd, 2016
Buy Kingdom of Blood: The Final Battle DVD on Amazon
Recommendation: Skip It
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