Starring: David Giuntoli, Mark Decascos, Kelly Hu, Michael Jai White, James Hong
Written By: Jeremy Adams
Directed By: Sam Liu
Studio: Warner Bros. Animation
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Warner Bros. Home Entertainment provided me with a free copy of this Blu-ray set that I reviewed in this post. The opinions I share are my own.
Set in an Elseworlds universe where Batman is smack dab in the middle of the swinging 70s and kung fu is the key, “Batman: Soul of the Dragon” is a unique take on Batman’s origin with the focus being on his martial arts training and his fellow students and lifelong friends.
In most forms of media, Batman is shown as a master of martial arts but outside of the animated series of the 90s and Christopher Nolan’s “Batman Begins” there hasn’t been much focus on that aspect of his training in his early days. “Batman: Soul of the Dragon” takes that aspect of the Dark Knight’s career and amplifies it in a 70s kung fu movie setting. Mark Decascos, Kelly Hu and Michael Jai White come along for the ride, voicing Richard Dragon, Lady Shiva and Ben Turner/Bronze Tiger respectively.
A venomous viper from the group’s past comes back to haunt them in the form of the deadly snake cult Kobra, not to be confused with “G.I. Joe’s” Cobra with the “C” being replaced with a “K”. Ssssssssweet. With Kobra’s deadly plans slithering forward and the end of the world looming on the horizon, Batman and company must kick and chop their way through the serpent’s den and confront their sins of the past as well as the sensei who taught them everything that they know.
“Batman: Soul of the Dragon” is definitely a far cry from the standard Batman superhero/detective fair but in a good way. It’s not that far of a stretch to plop Batman into any 70s kung fu flick and make it more interesting. Even with this movie being an alternate reality Elseworlds version of Batman, outside of early meetings with his fellow students/comic book counterparts, this movie could easily be a Batman origin movie or another episode of “Batman: The Animated Series” and I mean that in a good way.
Overall, this movie was a fun and interesting take on the Batman mythos and fans of 70s martial arts cinema will enjoy this just as much as your average Batman fan would. Sam Liu’s eye for action and fight scenes is showcased and the movie pays homage to that era and genre in a respectful way while also having a little bit of fun with and at the Batman’s expense. Hell, he’s Bruce Wayne…he can afford it.
• Batman: Raw Groove
• Producer Jim Krieg’s “Far-Out Highlights
• A Sneak Peek at DC Universe’s Next Animated Movie: “Justice Society: World War II”
• From the DC Comics Vault – 2 Bonus Cartoons
4K UHD Feature: DTS-HD Master Audio: English 5.1 Dolby Digital, Dolby Digital: Español, English SDH and French Subtitles
Blu-Ray Feature: DTS-HD Master Audio: English 5.1 Dolby Digital, Dolby Digital: French & Español, English SDH, French & Española Subtitles
4K UHD Feature: 2160p Ultra High Definition 16×9 1.78:1
Blu-ray Feature: 1080p High Definition 16×9 1.78:1
Bottom Line: Batman like you’ve never seen him before: sporting an afro, bell bottoms and bling necklaces…nah, not really. He’s just taking names and kicking snake ass with kung fu prowess unlike any man in a bat costume before him. It’s the 70s baby! Don’t be a jive bat-turkey!
Running Time: 83 Mins