The Last Supper Blu-ray Review
Christians hoping for a rousing tale or fresh take on the last week of Jesus’ life will be disappointed when they pick up a copy of THE LAST SUPPER. However, Chinese history aficionados may find more use for this movie. THE LAST SUPPER takes place at the end of the Qin dynasty, which I had to look up to make sure that it’s a legitimate piece of history because Americans schools are a bit light on history for friends in Asia. The movie follows the two men vying for dominance over China and like anything in history, this is a story told by the winner, but we find out that leading an empire has more pitfalls than positives.
When we meet Liu Bang (Ye), he is withered and grey, and still reflecting on a long life that is nearing its end. We learn about his rise to power and eventual formation of the Han dynasty, one of the more culturally, societal and scientifically important dynasties in history. Bang has spent nearly all 61 years of life constantly looking over his shoulder and doubting the loyalty of his subordinates, and second guessing many of his friendships. The movie is told through flashbacks, giving us a deeper meaning as to why he’s so paranoid and how he went from rebel to emperor.
Not only is he fearful of Xiang Yu (Wu) , the ruthless warrior who he’s facing off against for control of China, but also many of his soldiers, advisors and closest confidants. There have been attempts on his life before and he has had backstabbers, so it’s understandable, but like most literary kings, a life being spent constantly in terror of assassins and enemies would lead any of the sanest to lack trust in anyone. Even when told of the truths, Bang still hesitates with every move. Sometimes he opts for a life of imprisonment instead of executing those he deems as a threat.
THE LAST SUPPER feels like an entire season of a television drama crammed into less than two hours. It may even be better as an epic TV mini-series for the History Channel. There’s sometimes way too many characters to keep track of and their allegiances, or supposed allegiances, change faster than there’s time to understand their motives and reasoning. This is definitely a story that would have been better uncompressed and allowed to flow from point A to point B at its own pace. Instead it feels drastically rushed, and the constant flashbacks and cutbacks to present day, don’t help. It’s a further complicated by the sequences that may not be real and instead are hallucinogenic retellings of his life.
I have to applaud all the makeup work in this movie because it’s on par with most Oscar nominated films. In some instances I thought they had just hired a pair of actors to convey the youthful and elderly version, but I was wrong. The acting here is sufficient, but for a movie that drops itself in the middle of one of history’s largest dynasty changes, it feels lacking in action. Battle sequences have more camera style points than battle points. The action is supposed to be replaced by the tension felt through Bang’s outlook and misconceptions about life, but it moves around too frantically to develop suspense.
Maybe overseas this is a movie that’s more culturally respected by someone who understands the history more. I feel like a freshman in college having to read Shakespeare in this movie. I may have required some crib notes, a pot of coffee and multiple viewing to fully grasp the concept before this final test, but this movie isn’t entertaining or linear enough to necessitate a second viewing. I guess if I had to watch this again, I’d have to pay someone else to watch this and just tell me what happens.
Video: (1080p Widescreen 2:39:1) The presentation allows for a clear look at some of the more well-made set designs and the natural scenery adds another level to landscape shots. It’s one of those movies that leave you wondering what gorgeous countryside they shot this in. Without any special features, there’s not even a single bread crumb to start following in the hopes of finding out.
Audio: (Mandarin DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1) Maybe it’s because I was reading the subtitles, but I didn’t notice too many problems in understanding the actors during their more hush-hush moments. Luckily this movie hasn’t been horrendously dubbed over so you can experience it in its natural tongue. Other than that there are no problems with the editing and sound mixing