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Wind Blast (Bluray) Review

/ Jul 10th, 2012 No Comments

Wind Blast (Bluray) Review

Wind Blast (Bluray) Review

Wind Blast (Bluray) Review

Touted as a “martial arts western on steroids,” Wind Blast is the latest film from Gao Qunshu, director of 2009’s spy thriller The Message. It’s an action packed shoot-’em up set amidst the desolate, wind-worn landscape of the Gobi desert, complete with furious shootouts, breakneck horse (and car) chases, and high-flying martial arts combat orchestrated by seasoned Hong Kong stunt choreographer, Nicky Li. The film features a cast of veteran Hong Kong and Mainland actors, including the alluring Nan Yu who we’ll be seeing in The Expendables 2 this Summer. Other notable stars include national wushu fighting champion Wu Jing (Kill Zone), Yihong Duan (The Message), Xia Yu (The Painted Veil), and Francis Ng (Infernal Affairs II).

Story

Zhang Ning (Xia Yu), underground boxer turned hired gun, is on the run from both the police and two merciless bounty hunters. Provincial detective Leopard (Yihong Duan) reunites with his former teammates, Mastiff, Yak and Shepherd (Jing Wu) to bring the killer to justice. They pursue Zhang Ning through the harsh and rocky Gobi desert, and it’s not long before they apprehend the fugitive. Following closely behind, the bounty hunters attack the desert camp where Ning is being held. From here, the action intensifies and the film escalates into a series of vicious gun battles, thrilling chases, and explosive assaults.

In actuality, if you’re watching this movie for the story you’ll likely be disappointed. This is an entirely action-driven affair and the story just serves to set up several high-octane action sequences. The characters are sometimes intriguing and somewhat familiar, but not fully realized nor sympathetic. The frenetic pacing of the movie often leaves the viewer to fill in the blanks as it often tends to, literally, cut to the chase. But lets be honest, you’re watching this for the stylized action and explosions anyway…

Audio/Video

Wind Blast

Wind Blast

Wind Blast is a beautifully shot film that reproduces excellently in an HD home theater environment. In a nod to the classic western, it is presented in anamorphic widescreen with plenty of panoramic views of the vast desert expanse. The heavy influence of Hong Kong action cinema is also hard to miss, with plenty of sweeping crane shots, slow motion sequences, and fairly constant camera movement.

The musical accompaniment is exactly what you would want and expect from a martial arts western. Rife with big orchestra pieces, electrified guitars when appropriate, and plenty of harmonica, the music score the mood perfectly, even if it’s not entirely memorable. The sound design is also spot on, with bombastic explosions, powerful gunfire, and the crunch of desert rock under one’s feet, tires, and hooves. The film sounded great through my 5.1 surround (simulated) home theater and even held up pretty well on my laptop’s stereo speakers.

Extras

Wind Blast - Review

Wind Blast – Review

Bonus features include a “making of” featurette, behind-the-scenes, and the original theatrical trailer. While the extras are nice, there’s nothing here that really takes advantage of the Blu Ray format as the same features are also included in the DVD release. They are also, disappointingly, presented in standard def only. That aside, the included featurette and behind-the-scenes are an entertaining supplement to the film. The “making of” features commentary from the director and some of the stars, giving more insight into the inspiration behind the film. Though the behind-the-scenes footage can tend to drag on, I’d expect its content would be invaluable to aspiring action-filmmakers and anyone enthusiastic about film-making in general.

Overall

In sum, Wind Blast is a non-stop ride through the Chinese “west” that will leave any fan of big budget action movies more than satisfied. What it lacks in narrative it makes up for with thrilling action, great performances from the cast, and just the right amount of humor—after all, a film branded as a “martial arts western on steroids” wouldn’t work if it took itself too seriously. My only gripe is given the pedigree of some of the people involved in the film, I wouldn’t have minded trading off one of the chases for an extra fight scene. Between this and The Message, Gao Qunshu has proven himself to be an up-and-coming filmmaker worth keeping tabs on.

Overall Ratings – Wind Blast (Bluray)

Entertainment:

8/10

Special Features:

7/10

Visual Features:

9/10

Audio/Soundtrack:

7.5/10

OVERALL SCORE:

79%

Joe Van Fossen

Joe Van Fossen

Contributor at Gaming Illustrated
Joe Van Fossen is an avid gamer, film nerd, and unabashed gadget geek. When he's not playing games, watching movies or gadgeteering, he's writing about it (or he's off playing music in some seedy bar somewhere in L.A. or Orange County).
Joe Van Fossen

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