Saturday, August 16, 2014

Legendary DVD Review

Reviewed by Allie Schembra
Prepare for an epic battle between man and beast when action stars Scott Adkins and Dolph Lundgren collide in Legendary. Directed by Eric Styles (Miss Conception, True True Lie), the action-thriller follows the battle between two rivals who capture a mythical creature that shouldn’t exist. Travis Preston assembles his team for an expedition to a remote region in China’s hinterland, where a wild animal that the locals believe to be a primeval monster they call the “Shocate” is said to roam free. Travis’ nemesis, Jim Harker, a merciless trophy hunter, has already set up camp. A race against time ensues and Travis and his team have to pool all their resources if they want to capture this legendary creature alive…

Film (2 1/2 out of 3 stars)
Travis Preston is a researcher who tracks unbelievable creatures – think Big Foot or the Loch Ness Monster. These creatures are rarely seen, almost fictional and sightings are few and far between, but terrifying for the locals. Travis and his team are joined by Jim Harker, a big game “hunter,” who is hell-bent on killing the creatures. After a team ember is killed while hunting for a creature, Preston and Harker go their separate ways and Preston stops field researching. When Preston is approached by a lawyer representing an unknown client, he is convinced to get the team (minus Harker) back together and head to China to search for the elusive “Shocate,” a reptilian creature terrorizing the area.

When Preston and his team arrive, they find out Harker is also there, having been hired by a Chinese company to find out what is killing its workers. Harker has his own team, which has unfettered access to the crime scenes, private property, and witnesses. On Harker’s team is a Chinese scientist who is unimpressed with Harker and his ways. Knowing Harker intends to kill the creature makes her less inclined to help him.

As Preston and his team race against Harker in search of the creature, alliances are shifted as Harker’s team sees what he’s up to, and after the creature is spotted, realizes it needs to remain alive and studied. The team, along with the members of Harker’s team, tracks down the creature and does their best to capture it and keep it alive before Harker, who has found them, kills it.

I kept waiting to hear “I must break you” come out of Dolph Lundgren’s mouth. Alas, Ivan Drago did not make an appearance in this film. However, Lundgren did a good job as Jim Harker, the hunter who only wants to kill the creatures he’s hunting. Scott Adkins was good as Travis Preston, the idealistic researcher, who only wants to capture and study the creature. Seeing them as adversaries was fun, and both actors made their characters believable. The story, while not completely believable, was fun and kept me interested the whole time.
Video (3 1/2 out of 5 stars)
The 16x9 widescreen (2.39:1) presentation of Legendary was really good. I was surprised at how good the picture was on the DVD… the colors were bold and bright, the picture sharp and clear. Even with the not-so-great special effects of the creature, I was impressed with the level of picture quality the DVD had. I’m sure it would be much better on blu-ray and would love to see it.

Audio (3 out of 5 stars)
Legendary’s English Dolby Digital 5.1 sound was good. The dialogue was clear, accents weren’t too overwhelming and I didn’t need at adjust the volume at all. While the script wasn’t the best, I had no problems with hearing anything. Background sound levels were just right and even the roar of the creature wasn’t too over powering. If needed, closed captioning in English SDH and English and Spanish subtitles are available.

Extras (2 1/2 out of 5 stars)
Special features sections that are pumped up with the movie trailer and a replay of the previews bother me. Those two things are not special features. I’d rather them not be included than have them take up space in the section. That said, the actual special features included were interesting and I really enjoyed the behind-the-scenes featurette.
  • The Making of Legendary – A 15-minute behind-the-scenes look at the making of the film, with cast and crew interviews. I actually found this quite interesting. 
  • Interviews – Interviews with co-leads, Dolph Lundgren and Scott Adkins. Each interview is separate, and the stars talk about their characters, the film, the locations and a variety of other topics. 
  • Legendary Trailer – The official trailer for the film. 
  • Also from Lionsgate – The previews from the beginning of the disc: Cesar Chavez, The Legend of Hercules, Escape Plan, The Expendables, and a commercial for the Epix entertainment channel.

    Summary (3 out of 5 stars)
    Legendary is a slightly better than a SyFy Channel creature feature. The special effects are not great, the creatures are slightly cheesy – the creature looks like an overgrown salamander, but the story is fun and the acting is not terrible. The actors did the best they could with some not-so-great lines. I expect to see this on the SyFy Channel at some point, but in the meantime, I will keep it in my library and watch it again.

    Order your copy today!

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