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Review: Heavenly Sword — The Film

Review: Heavenly Sword — The Film

Heavenly Sword

Heavenly Sword has been given the CGI film treatment and we’ve had a chance to sit down and check it out. Here is our review of Heavenly Sword — The Film

When I first heard that there was going to be a Heavenly Sword film I became insanely excited. This is one of my favorite video games to date and just like if there was a God Of War film I would lose my shit and be first in line to check it out. Fortunately, Heavenly Sword didn’t require me to fight the masses but have a watch in the comfort of my own godly cave and watch it I did. Here is what I have to say on the film adaptation of Heavenly Sword.

Story

A long time ago a Heavenly being brought the demonic Raven Lord to its knees and defeated it using the Heavenly Sword. In the mix of everything, said being left the sword in the mortal world like an absent minded person forgetting their car keys somewhere. Well, those mortals flocked to it like stank on poop and wars broke out until a warrior tribe decides to take control and secure the sword from the world. Well as things always happen an “evil” king, King Bohan, and servant of the Raven Lord is on a rampage to reclaim the Heavenly Sword. It is up to Nariko to make sure that doesn’t happen and that the Heavenly Sword gets to the hands of the “Chosen One.”

Hated

While in general Heavenly Sword does follow the basic story of the game, there are a few deviations from the main story. These deviations kind of ruin the overall core theme of the game’s story. In Heavenly Sword the game the main character Nariko becomes a strong female character and in turn the overall hero of the story. Even after everyone pretty much claims she can’t she proves to be the savior of everything. In the film here that is thrown aside as her mission becomes to deliver the Heavenly Sword to her brother (created for the film) who is the chosen one. So here the best part of the whole story is thrown out because the writer felt it was better that the hero be male instead of female.

Yes, all of the female empowerment is lost because the writer of the adaptation thought it would be best to introduce a male character that was never in the game. This is quite a souring of the overall mythology created by Ninja Theory in the first place. Even the commentary and behind the scenes where they discuss this addition leave out the fact that the original story was so powerful because of the path Nariko had to take and the trials she faced in game and in back story. All thrown out due to the writer of the adaptation, who claims to have played the game multiple times, wanted there to be a male chosen one. Also, don’t get me started on the different story for Kai and Nariko that was mixed in too.

Loved

I think I would have hated everything about the Heavenly Sword here if it wasn’t for this first part to go under the “loved” section and that is that Blockade was able to secure most of the voice talent from the game. Or at least the best one Anna Torv (Nariko). The other actors did the best job at recreating the other characters where the original actor wasn’t able to return to the point that I couldn’t tell the difference unless I really dug into the audio. This kept a bit of the feel from the game’s amazingness even though the story kind of led everyone away from things. Even the short bit with Thomas Jane (Loki) was nice even though the character shouldn’t have been there.

Now, at first I wasn’t sold on the animation style for Heavenly Sword and was curious as to why they just didn’t use the same style that was used for the game. During the 86 minutes though it began to grow on me to the point where it was looking more and more like I was sitting through the PS3 game of yore. It was much like sitting through all of the cut scenes of the game with a few spliced in gameplay sections added in. I’m not a big fan of watching others play games but in this case it was a fun ride just to get the entire story and sit back and try to enjoy. Hells, a few scenes looked better rendered than they did on the original Heavenly Sword to boot.

Overall

In the end, Heavenly Sword was ok. It wasn’t a big pile of crap that a lot of other video game to film adaptations become. I just wish that they didn’t try to shoehorn in a male hero to shadow over Nariko and her own character development. If Heavenly Sword did one thing for me though, it made me want to crack open the old PS3 case and give the game another great play through. Although I would be hoping more for a Heavenly Sword HD remake or even a sequel to the game but that is on Ninja Theory currently.

Unfortunately though, unless you were a huge fan of the game and need to have everything Nariko is in, this Blu Ray/DVD film just doesn’t hold up to the amazing story of the franchise. Unless you didn’t like the female lead role of course but that is what made Heavenly Sword such an amazing title in the first place. It is worth a watch, I just wouldn’t say for the current price.

Heavenly Sword — The Film was produced by Blockade Entertainment on September 2nd, 2014. A copy of the film was provided by the producer for reviewing purposes.

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