Home Video Hovel: True Legend
I wrote a sort of review of Yuen Woo Ping’s True Legend already in my Movie Journal column last month but the distributor was kind enough to send us a copy of the Blu-ray, which is out now, as is the DVD, so I thought I’d reprint them here. I’ll run down the special feature below.
It’s been a long and very gradual process, my learning to appreciate martial arts movies. I’ve never outright disliked them but as a younger film watcher who was, in retrospect, trying way too hard to be a “serious” appreciator of art, I had a difficult time understanding quite how to approach it. The genre is, at times, quite silly by the standards we’re accustomed to and the devotion and exuberance it inspired in people was hard for me to grasp. I’ve come to interpret it in the same way I do heavy metal, as something that is simultaneously completely self-aware and completely earnest.
I’m glad I arrived at that point before I saw True Legend, Yuen Woo-ping’s new film because, for most of its running time, it’s one of my favorite entries in the genre. It’s the story of a retired general named Su Can forced back into action when his father is killed and his son kidnapped by his evil adopted brother Yuan Lie. At the same time, it’s an origin story for a character type that has shown up in these types of films for a long time, the drunken beggar who can kick ass when called for.
Special features include five behind-the-scenes featurettes (mostly concerning fight choreography and the film’s bigger action set-pieces), storyboard to scene comparisons for two of the fights and a music video.