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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » The Master
The Master
Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment // R // August 20, 2002
List Price: $29.99 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Earl Cressey | posted August 26, 2002 | E-mail the Author
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The Master marks the newest entry into the Jet Li Collection from Buena Vista. Directed by Tsui Hark (Once Upon a Time in China, A Better Tomorrow III), the film was originally released in 1989. The film stars Jet Li (Jet), Wah Yuen (Tak), Crystal Kwok (May), Jerry Trimble (Johnny), and Anne Rickets (Anna).

When Jet arrives in America, he discovers his master is missing and his herbal shop closed. Eventually, he discovers that Master Tak is staying with Anna, who rescued him after his near-defeat at the hands of Johnny, a rival martial arts master. Now to defend his master's honor, Jet must help his master defeat Johnny and his students.

Like a few of Li's other films, The Master is a mix of light humor and some cool action scenes. The story is extremely straightforward, though there are a few diversions along the way to the final showdown. The last fight, between Li and Johnny is quite good, though the action beforehand is a bit sparse. Though The Master doesn't rival much of Li's other efforts in terms of acting or martial arts, it is certainly worth watching for fans.

Video:
The Master is presented in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen. The transfer contains a great deal of specks, smaller marks, scratches, and some slight grain, and while not overwhelming, they are rather distracting during several scenes. Especially early in the film, the print appears faded, and in particular, the colors seem slightly washed-out. Flesh tones are, for the most part, accurate, with decent blacks.

Audio:
The Master is presented in Dolby Digital 5.1 in dubbed English. The 5.1 surround is almost entirely front based, with the rear surrounds used mainly for ambience noise. Directionality in the front soundstage is rather limited as well. The dub is rather bad, as well, especially for several characters in particular. Dialogue throughout is clean with no distortion. Optional English subtitles are available.

Extras:
Trailers for Legend 2, Iron Monkey, Twin Warriors, Enforcer, Defender, and Fist of Legend are included.

Summary:
The Master is a decent early Jet Li action film that fans may want to check out. However, I suggest a rental over a blind purchase, due mainly to the high MSRP, as well as the lack of substantial extras, the dubbed audio, and the mediocre video presentation.

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