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Brotherhood of Blades (DVD) (US Version) DVD Region 1

Chang Chen (Actor) | King Shih Chieh (Actor) | Cecilia Liu (Actor) | Nie Yuan (Actor)
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Brotherhood of Blades (DVD) (US Version)
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YesAsia Editorial Description

Director Lu Yang tells a sweeping saga of brotherhood and loyalty in a turbulent period with Brotherhood of Blades. Set in the final years of the Ming Dynasty, Brotherhood of Blades stars Chang Chen (The Grandmaster), Wang Qianyun (The Crossing) and Ethan Li (Sacrifice) as three members of the secret military police tasked by the emperor to hunt down the powerful eunuch who runs another branch of the secret imperial police. However, the three men's loyalties are sorely tested when one of them makes a choice that would embroil them into a dangerous conspiracy. Nominated for five Golden Horse Awards – including Best Actor – Brotherhood of Blades is one of the most critically acclaimed Chinese films of 2014.
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Technical Information

Product Title: Brotherhood of Blades (DVD) (US Version) 繡春刀 (DVD) (美國版) 绣春刀 (DVD) (美国版) 繡春刀 Brotherhood of Blades (DVD) (US Version)
Artist Name(s): Chang Chen (Actor) | King Shih Chieh (Actor) | Cecilia Liu (Actor) | Nie Yuan (Actor) | Zhu Dan (Actor) | Li Dong Xue (Actor) | Wang Qian Yuan (Actor) | Zhou Yi Wei (Actor) 張震 (Actor) | 金 士傑 (Actor) | 劉詩詩 (Actor) | 聶遠 (Actor) | 朱丹 (Actor) | 李東學 (Actor) | 王千源 (Actor) | 周一圍 (Actor) 张震 (Actor) | 金 士杰 (Actor) | 刘诗诗 (Actor) | 聂远 (Actor) | 朱丹 (Actor) | 李东学 (Actor) | 王千源 (Actor) | 周一围 (Actor) 張震(チャン・チェン) (Actor) | 金仕傑(カム・シーキット) (Actor) | 劉詩詩(リウ・シーシー) (Actor) | 聶遠(ニエ・ユエン) (Actor) | Zhu Dan (Actor) | リー・トンシュエ (Actor) | ワン・チエンユエン (Actor) | 周一圍(ジョウ・イーウェイ) (Actor) 장첸 (Actor) | King Shih Chieh (Actor) | 류시시 (Actor) | 섭원 (Actor) | Zhu Dan (Actor) | Li Dong Xue (Actor) | 왕첸웬 (Actor) | Zhou Yi Wei (Actor)
Director: Lu Yang 路陽 路阳 Lu Yang Lu Yang
Producer: Terence Chang 張家振 张家振 Terence Chang Terence Chang
Release Date: 2015-02-10
UPC Code: 812491016169
Language: Mandarin
Subtitles: English
Place of Origin: United States, China
Disc Format(s): DVD
Region Code: 1 - USA, Canada, U.S. Territories What is it?
Package Weight: 90 (g)
Shipment Unit: 1 What is it?
YesAsia Catalog No.: 1038206872

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Professional Review of "Brotherhood of Blades (DVD) (US Version)"

February 13, 2015

This professional review refers to Brotherhood Of Blades (DVD-9) (China Version)
One of the more critically acclaimed Chinese films of 2014 arrives in wuxia Brotherhood of Blades, which received markedly above average reviews for the genre, as well as being nominated for Best Actor, Supporting Actor, Editing and Action Choreography at the Golden Horse Awards, where it also won Best Makeup and Costume Design. The film was directed by Lu Yang (My Spectacular Theatre), who co-scripted with Chen Shu, and though its themes of loyalty and honour are familiar enough, is a considerably more focused and grounded effort than most of its grandiose peers.

The film is set in the turbulent 1620s, towards the end of the Ming Dynasty, beginning with the teenage Chongzhen Emperor taking the throne. Keen to enforce his rule, he decides to have the powerful eunuch Wei (Chin Shi Chieh), head of the secret police, assassinated, and commands three lowly members of a separate branch of the police to do the deed. The three men - veteran Lu Jianxing (Wang Qianyun, The Crossing), the stoic Shen Lian (Chang Chen, The Grandmaster) and the fresh-faced Jin Yichuan (Ethan Li, Sacrifice) - head off to carry out their orders, but things quickly get complicated after one of them makes a desperate choice.

For some reason, Brotherhood of Blades seems to have slipped through the cracks, not getting the same level of attention as other recent period dramas or martial arts films, despite having a solid, if not quite A-list cast. Perhaps this is partly due to the continuing glut of genre offerings over the last few years, and certainly, historical re-imaginings and "what if" stories are common enough, though still, Brotherhood does have something a little deeper and richer to offer. The well written script by Lu Yang and Chen Shu is better and more tightly constructed than most, and takes an interestingly economic angle to its narrative, with money driving its characters and their many motivations, Shen Lian needing cash to free beautiful prostitute Miaotong (Cecilia Liu, Badges of Fury), and Jin Yichuan being in hock to a mysterious blackmailer. With the three protagonists being paid pittances regardless of the danger they regularly face, and with court positions being paid for and bribery being rife, Lu and Chen paint a compelling picture of the time in a manner which makes the film stand out.

This also leads to a more challenging notion of brotherhood than might have been expected, with the various tough choices being made by the protagonists causing shifts in their relationship. While the three are to be fair quite basic genre figures, their bond is both complex and emotionally rewarding, especially given that none of them are portrayed as straightforward heroic figures, with personal conflict and compromise being the order of the day. Lu also wins points for being unafraid to take the film into murky moral territory, and with several surprising deaths along the way to its downbeat conclusion, its drama is powerful and lacking in the usual showy melodrama seen in the form. Strong performances from the leads help in this respect, and Chang Chen and Wang Qianyun impress in particular, adding real depth to what could have been one-note roles.

The film also scores highly through a handsome, though restrained look and costumes, and some excellent action choreography from Sang Lin, who also worked on the likes of John Woo's Red Cliff and the Transporter franchise. Closer to the Shaw Brothers catalogue than other similarly themed contemporary films, there's a pleasing lack of wire work or computer effects, the fight scenes mostly being duels rather than sweeping epic battles. Short, sharp and frequently brutal, the exciting set pieces ensure that the film moves along at a brisk pace and with a sense of economy which fits the narrative well.

Brotherhood of Blades is definitely one of the stronger wuxia or historical martial arts dramas from China of late, and is all the better for Lu Yang's avoidance of excess and the usual big budget bloating. Both thoughtful and muscular, the film benefits from a superior script, interesting characters, and thrilling action, and hopefully it'll find a wider and appreciative audience on DVD.

by James Mudge -

This original content has been created by or licensed to, and cannot be copied or republished in any medium without the express written permission of
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