The Wrath of Vajra (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)
March 21, 2014 by Dennis Amith
“The Wrath of Vajra” is an entertaining film showcasing the first major role for Yu Xing, but will this film propel him to making more entertaining martial arts films and follow other notable names such as Jackie Chan, Sammo Hung, Jet Li, to name a few. Time will tell. But if Yu Xing becomes a martial arts box office success in the near future, “The Wrath of Vajra” will no doubt be seen as his starting point for bigger things to come.
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TITLE: The Wrath of Vajra
FILM RELEASE: 2013
DURATION: 111 Minutes
BLU-RAY DISC INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition, 16:9 Widescren, Mandarin & Japanese, English 5.1 DTS-HD MA, Subtitles: English and French
COMPANY: Well Go USA Entertainment
RATED: Not Rated
Release Date: March 18, 2014
Directed by Wing-cheong Law
Written by Zhenjian Yang
Produced by Hong Pang
Co-Producer: Yang Cheng, Houjan Liu, Zhigao Liu, Zhaojen Ma, Jian Qian, Hongdang Shen, Yikang Wa, Zhongchao Wang, Zhiqiang Xie
Executive Producer: Li Bloo, Peter Lam, Rayman Liu, Jin Shang, Liqiao Wang, Yan Xiaoming, Hongtao Yang
Associate Producer: Yang Fan, Lorraine Ho, Zhibao Yen, Feng Yoa, Hai Cheng Zhao
Yu Xing as K-29
Heon Jun Nam as Crazy Monkey
Baocheng Jiang as Tetsumaku Rai
Yamei Zhang as Eko
Yasuaki Kurata as Amano Kawao
Matt Mullins as Bill
Before the West entered World War II, a Japanese death cult called the Temple of Hades is ordered to aid in the spiritual destruction of China. Their method: abduct their enemies’ children and train them as killers for the Emperor. Young Vajra was especially gifted, but swears a secret oath of revenge when his brother dies. Now the greatest assassin in the temple, Vajra escapes to China and begins his quest to protect the innocent, and destroy the ones responsible for making him a living weapon. A former Shaolin monk, martial arts action star Xing Yu (aka Shi Yanneng) stars as Vajra in his first leading role.
For every martial arts film, for the newcoming headliner, it’s being given the opportunity to show one’s skill and truly shine!
For Xing Yu, the martial artist and real life Shaolin monk, his first foray into film was when he appeared in Stephen Chow’s 2003 film “Kung Fu Hustle”. While he maintains a lifestyle dedicate to the Shaolin Temple and running a Shaolin school in Shenzhen, Guangdong, he still appears in films, despite those roles being small.
But for Xing Yu, he has his chance to shine in the film “The Wrath of Vajra”, now available on Blu-ray and DVD courtesy of Well Go USA Entertainment.
“The Wrath of Vajra” revolves takes places before World War II and introduces us to a Japanese death cult known as the Temple of Hades and wants nothing but the spiritual destruction of China.
In order for Hades to continue, the belief is by buying children from poor parents and putting the children through intensive, risky training and train them to become assassins to serve the Japanese Empire.
For 8-year-old Vajrasattva, he was sold at a young age to the Temple of Hades and the children were forced to fight for their food and kill. And unfortunately, for Vajrasattva, that meant killing his brother accidentally. And because of that, he has set a goal to get revenge on the Temple of Hades for making him into a weapon.
Having left the Temple of Hades to become an assassin, fortunately Vajra (portrayed by Xing Yu) escaped to China and joined the Southern Shaolin Temple in which he was taught to receive spiritual enlightenment and now, he wants nothing more than to protect people.
This includes a new group of children and Western soldiers who have been taken hostage by the Temple of Hades and what better than now to to exact his revenge.
“The Wrath of Vajra” is presented in 1080p High Definition (2:39:1 aspect ratio). Picture quality for the film is actually quite beautiful without outdoor settings looking very detailed, as with the close-ups which will have very good detail. There is some use of CG but they don’t look cheesy or unrealistic.
AUDIO & SUBTITLES:
“The Wrath of Vajra” is presented in DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 and due to its international cast, features dialogue in Mandarin, Japanese and English. There are good use of surround during the action-scenes and also great use of LFE as well. Especially ambiance surrounding outdoor elements and environments.
The soundtrack also sports an English dub presented in DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 plus Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo versions of both soundtracks.
Subtitles are in English.
“The Wrath of Vajra” comes with the following special features:
- Making Of – (25:46) A few short featurettes with interviews with the cast and crew and spotlighting on location and choreography.
- Trailer – (3:00) Theatrical trailer for “The Wrath of Vajra”.
“The Wrath of Vajra” comes with a slipcover.
Whenever you have the opportunity to watch a martial arts film taking an unknown talent with amazing fight skill and showcase that skill and discipline, when they are able to shine, you know you have yourself an up and coming martial arts star.
And Yu Xing is a martial arts star who has been seen in the background or very minor roles of films, but in “The Wrath of Vajra”, this is his film to showcase himself as a bonafide martial arts star.
But is he the type of star that wants to be in the limelight or is he happy to have a film career, no matter what kind of role he takes on? Especially as he focuses on his life role at the Shaolin Temple and the Shaolin School that he runs and teaches?
But whichever path Yu Xing chooses, he undoubtedly has set his footprint as a martial arts film star but like many well-known martial arts star of today, they all have to start out somewhere, and for some, these first main roles can be mediocre.
“The Wrath of Vajra” is a very good vehicle for Yu Xing, but the film is not the greatest. The storyline is entertaining, it’s setting is very cool but the whole premise seems as if it would lead towards a sci-fi type of film, while another part of the film has a touch of “Ip Man”, albeit not executed as masterfully nor is it that captivating.
For the most part, the film has a B-film type of feel but better production and its redeeming factor relies on the fight choreography and Yu Xing’s delivery, as everyone else featured in the film seem like fodder that you don’t expect to survive by the end of the film. It has that type of feel to it!
Still, the film looks and sounds good on Blu-ray. Picture quality is very good, lossless audio also sounds great during the more action intense moments of the film. And you get your usual collage of short featurettes as a “making of”.
Overall, “The Wrath of Vajra” is an entertaining film showcasing the first major role for Yu Xing, but will this film propel him to making more entertaining martial arts films and follow other notable names such as Jackie Chan, Sammo Hung, Jet Li, to name a few. Time will tell. But if Yu Xing becomes a martial arts box office success in the near future, “The Wrath of Vajra” will no doubt be seen as his starting point for bigger things to come.
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