Eye for an Eye: The Blind Swordsman - Blu-ray Review

Michael Scott

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Eye for an Eye: The Blind Swordsman


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Movie: :3.5stars:
Video: :4stars:
Audio: :4.5stars:
Extras: :halfstar:
Final Score: :3.5stars:




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Movie

Well Go USA’s streaming channel exclusive Hi-Yah! Originals have been rather hit or miss for this Asian cinema fan, but I ended up liking Eye for an Eye: The Blind Swordsman more than I expected to. Judging by the preview it seemed a pretty straight forward revenge flick, but clocking in at barely 77 minutes I was a bit hesitant on it’s quality. But ironically, being as short as it is was more of a boon to the film than a negative. Instead of padding itself out with needless side stories and character development that gets lost in the shuffle, Eye for an Eye is fairly tight and focused, with a straight forward plot that works well within the shortened time line.

Cheng Xiazi (Miao Xie) is a blind bounty hunted (labeled as a Ghost Killer in the film’s translation for some reason) who accidentally stumbles into a slaughter on his way to drop off a fresh bounty. The blend swordsman stops at a young lady’s wedding to partake of her generous offer of fresh wine, only to find her entire family murdered after he leaves. At first it seems like just your open and shut case of murdering gangsters killing indiscriminately, but this is much more than that. Ni Yan (Gao Weiman) and her family are put to the sword thanks to the machinations of a local warlord trying to tie up loose ends in a grave robbery, only for Ni Yan to get caught up in the middle of it all. To make matters worse, the local magistrate doesn’t want to interfere due to fear of reprisal from the warlord, leaving Ni Yan out in the cold with no hope of help.

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However, Ni Yan has no plans of letting it go, and comes to plead her case to the magistrate from the next town over, only to find out that HE is the one that actually ordered the hit. Blind Cheng struggles to stay out of the entire mess, but when Ni Yan is strangled, beaten, “assaulted” and left for dead, the fuse of the deadly bounty hunter runs out, unleashing a hell storm of fury as the blind man takes each and every one of the perpetrators to task for what they’ve done.

As I said above, Eye for an Eye benefits from the shortness of the film length. The story itself is nothing too special, but simply WORKS as a classic “Ronin wreaks revenge” story. Too many times other films of this ilk get stretched out way past their comfort level simply because the powers that be are trying to achieve a certain run time. A revenge story usually thrives on simplicity, and Eye for an Eye runs with that theory. Cheng is simply a force of nature, privy to watching an injustice happen before him, and intent on causing some SERIOUS harm to those who perpetrated it. Ni Yan is the perfect “damsel in distress” here, being a lovely (physically and personality wise) lady who pulls at all the right heart strings to make you sympathize with her. Cheng is the big tough guy Ronin who has aa heart of gold under his crusty exterior. him off, and you’re going to see just why people fear him. Simple.




Rating:

Not Rated by the MPAA




Video: :4stars:
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Like most of the foreign films that Well Go USA brings over, there’s not a whole lot of information online about what cameras were used, and what resolution the master is. I’m going to go out on a limb and say some sort of Arri Alexa camera (it has the “flavor” of Arri all over it) and a 2K master. But with that in mind, the disc looks really nice in 1080p. The film sport several different color gradings, ranging from desaturated and almost black and white (heavy black levels, with overly saturated whites contrasting each other), to amber honey colored tones that are punctuated by brightly saturated primary colors (such as clothing, or blood). Fine details are generally really good, but the black levels suffer from banding and some mild crush (pretty typical Well Go USA issues), which could come from the moderately low bitrate the disc has. Overall a nice looking transfer with a few minor quirks.









Audio: :4.5stars:
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The highlight of the film has to be the jaw dropping 5.1 DTS-HD MA tracks (English and Mandarin, both sonically identical though I prefer the Mandarin original language track) that Well Go USA has provided us (along with accompanying 2.0 Dolby Digital down mixes for night listening). The mix is highly energetic, with lots of surround activity throughout the short film. The clash of blades can be heard from all angles, as can the whistle of an arrow shooting from one end of the room to the other. Dialog is crystal clear at all times, and the bass is a LOT hotter than I would naturally expect. In fact, there’s a couple of bass hits that were stupid low (easily sub 20hz) that literally vibrated pictures on my wife’s home office wall halfway across the house (specifically in the scene near the beginning where Cheng wakes up from his drunken sleep, and the fight in the barn with the monkey kung-fu assassin. Both scenes literally were vibrating my pant legs in my viewing room).












Extras: :halfstar:
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• Trailer
• Well Go USA Previews













Final Score: :3.5stars:

Eye for an Eye was way more enjoyable than expected. It’s competently acted and directed (though it sort of stumbles in the 3rd act. It feels a bit rushed and disjointed at times), and works well as a popcorn martial arts action movie. Little nerdy tidbit of Martial Arts lore. Remember that little chubby kid who played Jet Li’s son in My Father’s a Hero (The Enforcer) and The New Legend of Shaolin backin the mid 90s? Yeah, that’s Cheng all grown up! Either way, Eye for an Eye is a fun martial arts revenge flick, and with it’s solid technical specs (albeit weak extras) makes for a fun watch for your classic Kung-Fu fan.


Technical Specifications:

Starring: Miao Xie, Weiman Gao, Hao Xiang
Directed by: Bingjia Yang
Written by: Bingjia Yang
Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1 AVC
Audio: English: DTS-HD MA 5.1, Mandarin DTS-HD MA 5.1, English, Mandarin DD 2.0
Subtitles: English
Studio: Well Go USA
Rated: NR
Runtime: 77 minutes
Blu-Ray Release Date: November 28th, 2023
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Recommendation: Fun Watch

 
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