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DVD Review

DVD cover

Adventures of Johnny Tao
A Kung Fu Fable (Region 1 Edition)


Starring: Matthew Twining, Matt Mullins, Chris Yen, Lindsay Parker and Marianne Muellerleile
MTI Home Video
RRP: $24.95
Certificate: PG-13
Available 29 July 2008

Johnny Dow struggles to make a living at his small town gas station by charging motorists to see the electric guitar used by his late father a one hit rock and roll wonder. Legend has it the guitar, carved in the shape of a dragon's head, was made in part from an ancient spear his father found in the crater of a shooting star. When Johnny's friend Eddie stumbles upon the other half of the spear he releases an ancient demon hungry for power and destruction...

Adventures of Johnny Tao is directed by former Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle, Kenn Scott. No, he didn't direct one of their movies, he played Raphael in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze. I swear I can hear everyone sigh! But wait, don't write this off. It's not a great film by any stretch of the imagination, but it's not truly awful.

This is a kids film first and foremost. And there are plenty of laughs and fancy stunts to keep teenagers glued to the screen. However, most adults will probably find this a little dull. The acting ranges from poor to good, and the stunts range from average, but very noticeable, wire work to cool looking kung-fu moves.

The plot is pretty straight forward, if a little silly. And the inclusion of alien zombies with a sugary tooth really starts to wear thin very quickly. Mika, a beautiful Chinese warrior holds the secret to fighting Eddie and his army of kung-fu warriors. She reveals to Johnny that the only way to stop the evil spirit is to use the first half of the spear - the dragon on Johnny's guitar. Together Johnny and Mika set out to fight Eddie and his army reunite the two halves of the spear restore peace to the town and - of course - save the world.

It was only after reading the press release that I discovered that the head of Johnny's guitar was apparently shaped like a dragon's head. I just thought it was a weird space rock (although when we first saw it I thought it was some weird alien slime that had solidified around the guitar neck).

The press release really pumps this movie up to be something it could never live up to. Apparently it features CGI by the guy who worked on The Matrix, Titanic and The Chronicles of Narnia, although you'd never know it. The CGI effects in this movie are average at best.

The movie is presented in 16:9 widescreen with a 5.1 Dolby digital surround soundtrack. The only extra on the preview disc we received was the Theatrical Trailer. However, the press release promises an audio commentary; An Adventure in the Making: The Making of Adventures of Johnny Tao; Deleted Scenes; and a Music Video.

This is a movie that will be enjoyed by the young, but there's not an awful lot here for adults to appreciate.


Pete Boomer

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