Valentine The Dark Avenger (2017) (NTSC)

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Released 7-Aug-2019

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Action None
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 2017
Running Time 97:21 (Case: 112)
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Programme
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By Agus Hermansyah Mawardy
Studio
Distributor

Umbrella Entertainment
Starring Estelle Linden
Matthew Settle
Arie Dagienkz
Ahmad Affandy
Sasky Aisyawara
Nabila Putri
Aliza Putri
Case Amaray-Transparent
RPI ? Music Izzal Peterson


Video (NTSC) Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (320Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.35:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 480i (NTSC)
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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Plot Synopsis

     The city of Batavia is being overrun by crime, mostly organised by the mysterious, masked Shadow (Ahmad Affandy) and his three female martial arts companions (Sasky Aisyawara, Nabila Putri, Aliza Putri). The police seem powerless to take back control of the city and ordinary citizens are scared. Bono (Matthew Settle) wants to make a Superhero movie but cannot get any producers interested. Then, in a café, he watches entranced as waitress Sri (Estelle Linden) effortlessly defeats a number of attackers and he realises that he has found his star. But they still need to raise awareness and money. With Bono’s friend Wan (Arie Dagienkz) making the costumes and holding the camera Sri becomes the purple clad Valentine, the masked avenger, and they go onto the streets of Batavia to defeat, for real, robbers and other villains. The publicity works and news reporting makes a real life hero of Sri / Valentine, giving the people of the city hope again. But a tragedy puts Valentine onto a path that leads to a showdown with Shadow and his minions. She is no longer a pretend comic book superhero, but the real thing.

     The character of Valentine was created by Sarjono Sutrisno and Aswin Mc Siregar in Skylar Comics in Indonesia. Valentine: The Dark Avenger is a direct spin-off from the comic; it is made in Indonesia, in Indonesian, although this DVD from Umbrella is the English dub. The first half of the film has very little plot but is instead a succession of exciting fights as Sri takes down the bad guys. Her fighting style is based on the Indonesian martial arts called ‘silat”; this is a close combat technique using fists, hands, forearms, jumps and kicks. The IMDb states that Valentine: The Dark Avenger is the first martial arts / superhero film to feature silat which is untrue; first superhero film to do so it may be, but the silat technique was used to good effect by Iko Uwais well before Valentine: The Dark Avenger in Merantau (2009) and The Raid films (2011 / 2014).

     That aside, the regular fights in the film are varied and frenetic. There is, as is common in many martial arts films these days, a lot of rapid editing, cutting the fights into small sections, although we can see enough of Linden to see that she is athletic, moves well and can certainly take care of herself. Valentine: The Dark Avenger also includes a nice strand of humour, such as issues with early versions of Valentine’s purple costume which, unlike other female superheroes around in films at the moment, is rather practical and does not pander to males by showing glimpses of the heroine’s cleavage or bare legs.

     The main storyline of Valentine: The Dark Avenger kicks in about half way when Shadow and his females return to the plot. There is a sequence with hostages in a bank, a car chase and martial arts action plenty (although the police have their guns out they never seem to use then when they are attacked). The acting generally throughout Valentine: The Dark Avenger is wooden, the dialogue stilted (which may be the English dub voice acting) but it the action that is what is important in a film like Valentine: The Dark Avenger and here it delivers. The climax is terrific, especially the combat between Valentine and the three female martial artists, and while the identity of Shadow is no surprise when it is revealed it really doesn’t matter.

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Transfer Quality

Video

     Valentine: The Dark Avenger is presented in the original 2.35:1 aspect ratio, NTSC and 16x9 enhanced.

     This is a nice looking print. The night scenes showing the city, including flyovers, are sharp with solid blacks and very good shadow detail. Other night scenes when Sri chases villains into buildings or along alleys are also crisp. Daylight colours are bright but natural, such as the yellow of Sri’s jacket on her moped. Skin tones are natural, brightness and contrast consistent. I did not notice any marks or artefacts and motion blur is not evident, even in the swiftly edited fight sequences. Indeed, the print is detailed enough to notice the less than stellar CGI work, including the enhanced fire effects during explosions.

     No subtitles are provided.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

     Audio is English Dolby Digital 5.1 at 320 Kbps.

     Dialogue is always clear. From the opening scenes in the club the rears and surrounds are full of sounds such as voices, ambient weather and the music. During the car chase there are lots of panning effects as the vehicles race around and during the hand to hand fights there are plenty of the impacts as fists and kicks connect plus the thud of bodies hitting the floor. Other effects, such as explosions or cars crashing, are loud. The subwoofer supported the impacts and explosions as well as adding an atonal boom effect to the music.

     The score by Izzal Peterson is loud and rather bombastic, thus suiting the material.

    This is the English dub of an Indonesian language film; some of the lip synchronisation is OK but a lot is indifferent.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

     Nothing. The feature starts when the DVD loads.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

     I cannot find any reviews of the US Region 1 DVD of Valentine: The Dark Avenger. The Region A Blu-ray contains a short image gallery (2:12) and a trailer (1:51) so I doubt a DVD would have any more. I don’t think this is significant so call it a draw.

Summary

     Valentine: The Dark Avenger is an Asian Batman type superhero, in that the hero does not have special superpowers but relies on their abilities, fighting skills and a few gadgets to defeat the villains. While obviously not having the budget of Hollywood films, Valentine: The Dark Avenger is a fun, entertaining action film with Estelle Linden a fine hero.

     The video and audio are good for DVD. Zero extras.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Ray Nyland (the bio is the thing)
Tuesday, September 10, 2019
Review Equipment
DVDSony BDP-S580, using HDMI output
DisplayLG 55inch HD LCD. This display device has not been calibrated. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderNAD T737. This audio decoder/receiver has not been calibrated.
AmplificationNAD T737
SpeakersStudio Acoustics 5.1

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