Many years ago, a mystical peach holding the secret of eternal life was stolen. Now, aftertraining since childhood at the Shur-Li Temple (get it?) under the tutelage of Master Card and thelike, a hero arises to recover the peach: Art Chew. He arrives in Vancouver (played by SanFrancisco, in one of the film’s cleverer conceits), and is joined on his quest by such friends asRoy Lee, who has seen a great many kung-fu movies, but is completely incompetenthimself.
This is an g…ntly affectionate parody, and one whose competent action scenes belie itsextremely reduced budget. Much of the humour is too obvious, however, along the lines of amuch-belated imitation of the Airplane! and Naked Gun films, but without thesense of timing, and an over-reliance on groaner puns. (There is, I realized, a constituency for thepun.) It’s an honest effort, then, and not without clever touches, but not quite on the mark.
The case promises 5.1 sound, but it is actually 2.0. The surround elements are limited andstrange: random bits of noise is what this sounds like, and in particular any sibilance on thedialogue is picked up and magnified. You may be tempted to turn off the rear speakersaltogether.
The aspect ratio is 1.66:1 non-anamorphic — a very unusual format for a North Americanfilm in 2004. The colours are good, as are the blacks. The picture itself is quite soft, however.Naturally, the movie’s limited means should be taken into account, and the picture not held upnext to The Lord of the Rings for comparison.
Producer/writer/director Darryl Fong’s commentary is both informative and informed, butone whose delivery is perhaps a little too deadpan. The behind-the scenes featurette is a 20-minute exercise that is much better that its big-budget equivalents. The deleted scenes are amontage of extremely raw footage (some are obviously outtakes). There are also filmographiesfor the cast, and trailers for Love, Sex and Eating the Bones, William Wants to KillHimself, Teddy Bear’s Picnic and The Event. The menu has animatedtransitions and intro (the transitions are very slow to occur), and the main screen itself is scoredwith minor animation.
A decent try, and there is some talent and intelligence at work here, but the finished productisn’t quite there yet.
Special Features List
- Director’s Commentary
- Making-of Featurette
- Deleted Scenes