Directed by: Te-Sheng Wei
Starring: Lin Ching-Tai, Umin Boya, Masanobu Ando
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Distributed by: Well Go USA
Release Date: August 7, 2012
Running Time: 422 minutes
Film: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Extras: 4 out of 5 stars
When I reach out that “Warriors of the Rainbow: Seediq Bale” was the most expensive production in Taiwanese history (budgeted at around $25 million), I knew I just had to see it. I am a big fan of epic foreign films and definitely those produced by John Woo. When I say epic, this film delivers the epic. It runs over 4 1/2 hours long and split into two parts. If that is too long for you don’t worry there are two versions of “Warriors of the Rainbow: Seediq Bale” available on DVD and Blu-ray. There is also a cut two and a half hour version for the US. Though if you are looking for an equal amount of story to go along with the massive scale action sequences, then you are definitely going to want to watch the international version. The film was referred to as “Braveheart” meets “The Last of the Mohicans” but the film has the fierceness of these both and more.
The film itself chronicles the true story of Taiwan’s aboriginal tribes and their battle against the Japanese colonizers. That’s the short premise. The story takes us between 1895 and 1945, following the rival between a Japanese colony that inhabits the island and the aboriginal tribes who originally settled on the land. The Seediq leader, Mouna Rudo, (Lin Ching-Tai) recruits a number of other clans in order to band together to fight the Japanese. The film is beautifully different by Wei Te-Sheng (“Cape No.7”). The Taiwan landscapes are absolutely stunning, which are matched with some really top notch CGI. The action scenes are so amped up and also well paced within the story.
“Warriors of the Rainbow: Seediq Bale” looks absolutely fantastic on Blu-ray courtesy of Well Go USA. The 1080p transfer looks sharp and super clear within in aspect ratio of 2.34:1. It is a film that is meant for a high definition presentation and looks spectacular. There are two audio tracks, the DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 and Dolby Digital 2.0 tracks. Obviously, I feel that the 5.1 track works much better, especially with the action. The special features are only have extras but they are quite epic, just like the film. “The Epic Journey of the Warriors” runs well over 2 1/2 hours, just in case the film wasn’t long enough. It is very a intensive behind-the-scenes look at the production, which plays out like a graphic shooting diary. There are also additional “Interviews with Director Wei Te-Sheng and Producer John Woo” and “Make-Up and Visual Effects” included. Lastly there are the theatrical and international trailers included.