Kung Fu (2021): The Complete First Season [Blu-Ray]
Cast: Olivia Liang, Kheng Hua Tan, Eddie Liu
Release Date: November 2, 2021
A Review By: Kevin Lovell
Disc Rating: 7/10
A quarter-life crisis causes young Chinese-American woman Nicky Shen to drop out of college and journey to an isolated monastery in China. But when she returns to San Francisco, she finds her hometown is overrun with crime and corruption and her parents are at the mercy of a powerful Triad. Nicky will right wrongs while searching for the assassin who killed her Shaolin mentor.
Please Note: Warner Bros. Home Entertainment provided me with a free copy of the Blu-ray I reviewed in this Post. The opinions I share are my own.
A reimagining of the beloved 1970’s series, ‘Kung Fu’ accompanies a young Chinese-American woman named Nicky Shen who determined to take control of her own life and feeling discontent with it as is embarks upon a quest for her true self and finds her way to an isolated monastery in China where under the guidance of her mentor Pei-Ling becomes a fierce warrior. But when a mysterious woman attacks the monastery and kills her mentor in the process of stealing a legendary weapon with ancient roots, Nicky must return to the home and family she abandoned in order to track down this woman before she acquires the other ancient artifacts needed to unleash dangerous and unknown forces while also trying to find time to rebuild the fractured relationships with her loved ones.
A new reimagining of the fan-favorite 1970’s series of the same name, the debut season of the new ‘Kung Fu’ series joins Nicky Shen who after leaving home and finding her way to an isolated monastery in China is forced to return to the home and family she left behind after the tragic death of her mentor results in her taking on the hunt for the woman responsible. It’s an entertaining series that doesn’t take long to get moving and quickly proves that it has something to offer for those interested in the material (and likely even more so for younger audiences), capably balancing the action and excitement with the more emotional areas of the story that shine through with the heart and moving interactions that often begin with danger and result in a more intimate connection between characters. It may not always hit every mark as precisely as intended, but if you can let some of the more silly aspects go, it never fails to keep you enthralled in the story, caring for the characters and (probably most importantly for television) a desire to stick around and find out what might happen next.
The series features a fairly well selected cast for the most part which includes Olivia Liang in the lead as Nicky Shen, along with Kheng Hua Tan, Eddie Liu, Shannon Dang, Jon Prasida, Gavin Stenhouse, Vanessa Kai, Tony Chung and Tzi Ma, who paired with the somewhat generic yet no less intriguing storyline and solid action sequences plus some humor and heart all help to make this a series that’s worth taking the time to give a whirl, especially if you’re already somewhat interested in or curious about it. If you haven’t yet had the pleasure of this one but are understandably hesitant to drop the money on a blind purchase, you can also stream the first season on HBO Max (at least as of the time of this writing).
Overall, the debut season of the new ‘Kung Fu’ series weaves an intriguing tale of one young woman’s quest to find herself and the path to her destiny that unfolds along the way. Filled with plenty of exciting action, no shortage of heart and humor, along with a capable overall cast that all help to make this a series worthy of checking out if your interest is at all piqued by it. Warner Bros. Home Entertainment’s 3-disc Blu-ray release of ‘Kung Fu: The Complete First Season’ doesn’t let the show’s fans down when it comes to the technical specifics either, offering quite solid high definition video and audio presentations on all thirteen episodes from the season and spread between three discs for optimal quality; with a couple of enjoyable extras added to the mix on top of it. For any fans of the show that would like to physically own the debut season in its entirety, this Blu-ray release shouldn’t disappoint and is recommended.
The Blu-ray release of ‘Kung Fu: The Complete First Season’ features a full 1080p High Definition presentation with the show’s original 2.00:1 Aspect Ratio on all of the debut season’s episodes. The video presentations look pretty great altogether and provide rich, sharp and nicely detailed presentations on each episode from start to finish. They hold up smoothly even during the various fast moving action sequences and darkly lit moments, never allowing anything that’s occurring onscreen to become negatively affected or rendered indiscernible. Overall, these are solid high definition video presentations that shouldn’t have any trouble pleasing first time viewers as well as fans.
The Blu-ray release features a 5.1 channel DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack on all 13 Season One episodes. These multichannel soundtracks serve up crisp, clean and frequently immersive audio presentations on every episode. They repeatedly take advantage of all five available channels in order to send music, action and nature effects, along with crowd chatter and quite a bit more throughout the various speakers at every fitting opportunity, while always making certain that any dialogue or other simultaneously occurring audio elements remain clean and fully audible. Overall, these are pretty fantastic 5.1 DTS-HD MA soundtracks that more than deliver in every way required of them.
The Blu-ray release of ‘Kung Fu: The Complete First Season’ includes a few enjoyable extras that fans of the series should enjoy. Included on the release are ‘Unaired Scene(s)’ from 7 of the included episodes (running approximately 13 minutes in length altogether), along with the Behind the Scenes Featurette ‘Kung Fu: Bond of Honor’ (running approximately 16 minutes) which interviews/comments with the cast and crew, plus some behind the scenes footage and more.
*Please note that the above images are taken from the Blu-Ray and resized. They will additionally suffer quality loss as a result of .jpg compression. Larger versions of each image can be viewed by clicking on the image. All images and content included on this Blu-Ray release are the property of their respective owners.
Disc Rating: 7/10
‘Kung Fu: The Complete First Season’ is Now Available to Own on Blu-ray & DVD from Warner Bros Home Entertainment
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