Thursday, April 16, 2015

Random Acts of Netflix: Heavenly Sword

Posted By on Thu, Apr 16, 2015 at 4:44 PM

Hey folks! Jared here. Every Thursday I'm going to go on Netflixroulette.com, and then watch whatever the damn thing tells me to. In case you haven't heard of Netflix Roulette, it's basically a silly website that allows you to SPIN a virtual wheel which then chooses a film or TV show at random out of the deepest crevices of the streaming service. My three rules are that I'll only watch films I haven't seen before, I won't REVIEW any sequels unless we've reviewed the original already and that I won't cheat and I'll review whatever it tells me to on the first spin. Hopefully we'll find some hidden gems or some even more hidden garbage piles! Enjoy my pain and/or joy. 

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This Week's Film: Heavenly Sword (2014)

Written by Todd Farmer. 

Directed by Gun Ho Jang.

Voice Actors: Anna Torv, Alfred Molina, Nolan North, Ashleigh Ball and Thomas Jane.

What's it About: Nariko (Torv) is a disappointment to her father. She was supposed to be "The Chosen One" but instead she is just a stunningly beautiful warrior badass who kills fools in seconds. When the invading King Bohan (Molina) kills her pops and fucks up her entire village searching for the legendary Heavenly Sword, she goes on a two-fold mission: One- To deliver the sword to the rightful "Chosen One," some bastard son of her father's she never knew existed. Two- To deliver a steaming pile of revenge on King Bohan and all of his armor plated minions. With her extremely creepy sister Kai, she will travel the land making things bleed for peace. 

Is It Good: Nope. Not even a little. While some of the environments are pretty well developed and some of the voice acting is good, there is nothing here to recommend outside of the fact that it made me kinda want to play the video game.

See, Heavenly Sword is a Playstation 3 game and the Heavenly Sword film was developed from archived footage that was unused for the game by Andy Serkis, the motion-capture genius behind Gollum and Caesar from the new Planet of the Apes films. Serkis was hired to do voice acting and motion-capture work for King Bohan while also being Dramatic Director and one of the writers for the game. They had so much footage of their tests and so much extra character movements that they decided to experiment and see if they could turn that footage into a movie. I suppose their was enough for a movie, but that doesn't mean it necessarily should have been made.

The story is so rote, even down to the face that there's a damned Chosen One. It's nice that the film is trying to be fairly feminist when it comes down to the fact that the two heroes of the entire film are females, but one of them is crazy and the other one is in a thong the entire time. The dudes don't wear belly shirts and assless chaps, so I don't think it's a cultural thing, it's just because boob physics and scantily glad warrior maidens are popular in video games and that carried over to the film.

The pacing is rotten with every scene being way too short to impart anything that gives a sense of character, scale or setting. Every moment of the film seems designed to set-up another boss-fight, which the entire film is comprised of, one after another. And since the story of the actual heavenly sword itself just feels like a feature length Macguffin, then there's no reason to care about the outcome. We never really care about Nariko or Kai or anyone, really. It's just an excuse for CG fights and battles, some of which are kind of fun, but they mostly are stiff and fall as flat at the graphics we're looking at.

Link to the Movie: If you insist. 

Grade: D (half a grade up for the Anna Torv, Alfred Molina and Ashleigh Ball's voice acting)

Favorite Line: "Kai likes to make blood"- Kai

Next Week: Preservation 
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