Wu Dang (2012) – By Duane L. Martin

What lengths would a father go to to grasp at the slightest chance to save the life of the daughter he loves? The answer to that question is explored in Wu Dang.

Professor Tang has come from America with his daughter, who is a prodigy in martial arts. He is sponsoring a martial arts tournament at the temple on Wu Dang mountain, in which his daughter is competing, as a cover for his efforts to find and retrieve the seven treasures of Wu Dang. These treasures are ancient, and very saught after for their power, and they’re also hidden in various places around Wu Dang mountain, some of them protected by guardians who are protecting them either knowingly or unknowingly.

Professor Tang isn’t the only one after the treasures though. A beautiful girl named Tianxin is after one of them, an extremely powerful sword made from a meteorite that contains the insignia of her clan and has a very special magnetic field. The pair team up to find the treasures, but along the way, we find out that there is another that is after them, because he knows that when the treasures are combined, he can use them to achieve ultimate power. Will Tang and Tianxin be able to collect the treasures in time to save the life of his daughter, who is suffering from a rare genetic disease that is killing her, just as it did her mother and her grandmother? You’ll have to watch the film to find out.

I’ll just say this and get it out of the way right now. I LOVED this film! I loved everything about it (except for one thing that I’ll mention here in a minute). The cast was stellar, the story was both engaging and entertaining, the likeable characters were likeable and the bad guys were people you’d love to see get what’s coming to them.  It was also visually stunning, well edited, and told a great story. About the only thing I didn’t like is that I would have liked to have seen a little bit more of a "what happened after" bit at the end, because a relationship develops between Tang and Tianxin and also between Tang’s daughter Tangning and one of the monks at the temple named Shui Heyi, who represented the temple in the competition. Those relationships were left a bit up in the air at the end, though we can guess how it all worked out. That’s just a small nit pick though at an otherwise great story.

For fans of wire fighting, there’s plenty of it in the film, but not so much that it buries the story beneath all the action. I was always more of a fan of the old school kung fu flicks where the martial arts masters had certain special abilities achieved through intense training that were more realistic than all the flying around, but still, the action is this film is well choreographed and very well shot and edited. It’s exciting, while at the same time, doesn’t become a bigger part of the film than the actual story.

The characters and the actors who play them are what really make this film shine however. They really bring out the best in their characters, which creates a setting where the viewer can become emotionally invested in their successes and failures. Over and above the look of the film, the action, the choreography, the visual effects or anything else, the fact that you can become emotionally invested in these characters makes this a film you’ll want to watch again and again, and will definitely want to add to your collection.

The special features on this release include a behind the scenes look at the making of the film and the film’s trailer. I unfortunately didn’t have time before I had to write this review to watch the behind the scenes featurette, but I fully plan on watching the film again within the next few days, and I’ll be sure to check that out right after it’s over. You really can’t go wrong with this one folks.

If you’d like to find out more about this film, you can check out its page on the Well Go USA website here, and if you’d like to pick up a copy for yourself, you can get the DVD or blu-ray from Amazon, or from any of the other usual outlets.