Patrick Leung’s kung fu film Wu Dang is one part Indiana Jones and another part Goonies, mixed with some great kung fu action that makes for a really fun film, with the exception of an awkward subplot. Professor Tang (Vincent Zhao) and his daughter Ning (Josie Xu) are on their way to help a family friend identify and authenticate an ancient sword. In the process of doing this, they happen to find a treasure map that shows that there are several special weapons hiding in the Wu Dang mountains. Once the two of them get there, they pose as martial arts representatives to participate in a fighting competition that is being held at the monastery at the mountain top. From here, they’ll run into thieves, fighting monks and plenty of other fantastic elements that make Wu Dang a really great throw back to older Hong Kong epic action films and an all around great time.
With the films 1920’s setting and the background of Vincent Zhao’s Professor Tang, it immediately felt like an Indiana Jones film or another sort of pulp serial of its time. The chemistry between his character and Yang Mi, who plays a sort of thief/heir to one of the Wu Dang weapons, is really solid and their fight scenes together are great. The action choreography by Corey Yuen shows some great wire work and manages to use more of the suave and elegant portrayal of kung fu, which is more like a graceful dance than straight up action. If there was any real issue I had with the film, it would have to be the romantic subplot between Ning and Fan Siu Wong’s character Shui. The age discrepancy between the two of them is just to glaring for one to take remotely seriously and is quite disturbing. While it wasn’t enough for me to dismiss the film entirely, I’m sure that people watching it will be either be put off or find themselves not caring about these two characters, because of how unbelievable their relationship is.
The Blu-Ray disc of Wu Dang from Well Go USA is presented in the great standards that typically show in their releases. The video is presented in an AVC encoded 1080p transfer, with an aspect ratio of 2.35:1. The video manages to highlight the exceptional cinematography, the production design and the locations of the Wu Dang mountains themselves. The audio is presented in a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 in Mandarin. The mix is absolutely incredible, with some impressive use of low end and foley in the fight scenes. The clarity of the mix is just incredible and its one of the best mixes I’ve heard out of the many films in Well Go’s catalog that I’ve reviewed. The disc is pretty light on special features and only has a 30 minute behind the scenes and a trailer for the film.
Wu Dang is a fun film, that manages to incorporate a lot of elements that make it a real joy to watch. If you like old kung fu films and things like old film serials, then you should be able to find Wu Dang a real treat! Recommended!