10th Jun2015

‘Heavenly Sword’ VOD Review

by Richard Axtell

Stars (the voices of): Anna Torv, Alfred Molina, Thomas Jane, Ashleigh Ball, Barry Dennen, Renae Geerlings, Nolan North | Written by Todd Farmer | Directed by Gun Ho Jang

HeavenlySword-Kai&Nariko-LR1

Heavenly Sword is a dramatic tale of revenge that sees Nariko (Anna Torv), a fiery red-haired heroine, embark on a quest for vengeance against the invading King Bohan (Alfred Molina) and his army. Once considered the failure of a legendary prophesy, Nariko must wield a sword that was ultimately meant for another. This ancient Heavenly Sword, once belonging to a powerful deity, can never be wielded by a mortal without it slowly but inevitably killing them. For Nariko it is a race against time to avenge her clan before her life is irreparably overtaken by the omnipotent Heavenly Sword.

I am going to preface this review by stating that I have never played the Heavenly Sword game. I am reviewing Heavenly Sword on its ability to stand on its own as a film and I cannot say whether players of the game would enjoy it more because they have experienced the characters in another setting. So, let’s get on with it shall we? I will begin with how it looks, as this is a CGI film after all. Now, the last CGI film I reviewed was Harlock: Space Pirate, a visually impressive flick which was heavy on action and got a bit lost on the story front.

Heavenly Sword, in comparison, is also heavy on the action front, with some very nice fight sequences and the fiery redhead getting her kill on very regularly. Visually however, it doesn’t feel as impressive. Enemies feel copy-and-pasted which, OK, isn’t the worst if they are wearing helmets but these guys all have the same blank face. It doesn’t have the ‘WOW’ factor I am always looking for in CGI films, especially nowadays with what they can do. Heavenly Sword barely gets more than ‘meh’ with its visuals and actually feels a bit outdated at points.

As for story, well, it is there and it is clear but boy is it poorly written. Whoever decided that the bad guy should sit on his horse and tell the main lady his entire plan in a long exposition filled speech instead of just killing her should have their pens taken away from them and be told to sit in the corner. Sure, it sets her off on the right path, but surely there are one thousand more exciting ways she could have found out the information? Talking about more exciting, none of the voice actors seem very thrilled to be doing their job either. I never once really felt any kind of emotion grace their voices and some of them are… well they are just downright strange. Squeaky or incredibly low for no reason at all.

Overall, Heavenly Sword feels like a really long cut scene from a game which is a few years old. You know, the cut scenes you mash buttons on the controller to skip just so you can get back to the exciting action. Yeah, like that.
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Heavenly Sword is released on June 15th on DVD and VOD via iTunes, Amazon Instant Video, Sony Playstation, Xbox Video. Google Play and Virgin Movies on Demand.

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