Set in third century A.D. China, Shadow tells the story of the uneasy truce held by the Pei and Yang kingdoms. Years earlier, the Pei kingdom lost possession of the city of Jing following a duel between Pei army commander Zi Yu and the formidable warrior Yang Kang. As the kingdom's debauched monarch aims to maintain power by acquiescing to Yang Kang, Zi Yu plots to retake the lost city, an objective carried out with the help of a lookalike his family has been grooming since childhood. Directed by Zhang Yimou (House of Flying Daggers), a filmmaker known for his elegant visuals and bold use of color, Shadow's palette is mostly restricted to black-and-white and skin tones. This look reinforces the theme of female vs. male power that runs throughout the film, something that takes on more importance after Zi Yu's wife advises a strategy that harnesses Yin (female) energy to defeat Yang Kang.

819shadow.boxShadow was shot digitally using a combination of Red 8K and 4K cameras and Well Go USA's Ultra HD disc has been mastered from a 4K digital intermediate. The end result is a treat for the eyes, with gauzy tapestries that hang in the Pei king's court displaying a wealth of fine detail not visible on the included regular Blu-ray disc. High dynamic range mostly helps flesh out shadows in dark scenes such as the ones that take place in Zi Yu's underground lair. And while Shadow is mostly monochrome, the red of blood in battle scenes has a vivid look—enhanced, no doubt, by Yimou's otherwise deliberate suppression of color.


The disc's Atmos soundtrack helps create an authentic sense of the spaces where action takes place. Shouted and spoken dialogue in the king's court resonates realistically, while the near-constant rain in outdoor scenes seems to emanate from above. Zither music used to heighten tension in various scenes has a full, robust quality, and its presence seamlessly fills the front soundstage. The battle scenes in the film's final third are accompanied by powerful bass effects that serve to heighten the impact of weapon strikes and thunder cracking in the distant landscape.


Supplements appear on the included Blu-ray disc and mostly consist of behind-the-scenes footage. While none of it is particularly in-depth, there's a charmingly casual vibe to the extras, one of which pays homage to the high quality of the noodles served on-set. International and U.S. trailers are also included.

Ultra HD Blu-ray
Studio: Well Go USA, 2019
Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1
HDR Format: HDR10
Audio Format: Dolby Atmos with Dolby TrueHD 7.1 core
Length: 115 mins.
Director: Zhang Yimou
Starring: Deng Chao, Sun Li, Zheng Kai, Wang Qianyuan, Wang Jingchun, Hu Jun, Guan Xiaotong, Leo Wu