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DVD Review: The Promise

Posted on Saturday, January 27th, 2007 11:19 PM

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Front Cover ArtworkThe Promise
DVD - Single-disc
Warner Home Video 82687 - Region 1
103 minutes

List Price: $27.98 (Check Price at Amazon.com)

Available on DVD 12/19/2006.

Rated PG-13

 Theatrical This DVD
Aspect Ratio:2.35:1 2.35:1

Dolby Digital

Dolby Digital

Disc 1 Contents

  • Movie
  • Theatrical Trailer
  • Additional Scenes
  • Featurette: The Making of The Promise

About the Movie

Set in a mythical version of China, this is a story of a young girl who is granted a gift by a goddess, with a tremendous toll demanded for the gift. She may have great beauty, wealth, and prestige, but in trade, she can never have true, lasting love. This has all the makings of a fine Greek tragedy, so when you throw in the prospect of artistic martial arts, oriental mysticism, and fantasy visuals, it should be a recipe for a great movie.

I will admit first-off that I am not a huge fan of martial arts movies, nor have I seen Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, so I'm probably not the best audience for this kind of movie. I'm not put off by a subtitled movie, but after sampling the subtitles and the English dubbed version, I decided to go with the latter. I found the subtitles to be distracting, especially with such a visually-complex movie.

Perhaps because of the need for subtitles/dubbing, or the fact that I'm not into these kinds of movies, I found the movie to be confusing and lacking in character development. However, the visuals are so interesting, and the overall feel of the movie is so different, one is almost willing to overlook the fact that you don't always understand what is going on. 

How Does it Look?

The video quality was OK, but nothing spectacular. There are times when the CGI graphics are unrealistic, especially during the bull stampede, but for the most part, the picture quality is just fine and is not distracting.

My Pioneer DVD player reported an average of a 5-6 Mbps bit rate during several samples in the movie.

How Does it Sound?

I had trouble with the sound at times. Maybe the Mandarin track with subtitles would not have suffered from it, but I found myself diving for the remote as I strained to understand dialog and again when action scenes kicked in and the sound was too high for comfort.


I like to see the theatrical trailer included with every movie, which is a feature that's becoming less common. I think it provides a nice context in which to understand how the studio was marketing the movie to audiences at the time of theatrical release. The Additional scenes are interesting, and one wonders if my overall impression of the movie would have been better had these scenes been included. I did not have the chance to watch the "Making of" featurette.


If you're into this kind of movie, you probably don't need my opinion to decide whether to watch it or not. I would not recommend it to non-fans of this style of movie, but no matter what, I think that renting it may be a good choice unless you can find it for a good price that would negate the need to rent it first.

Recommended Reading

Don't just take our word for it, check out these resources for more reviews of the movie and of the DVD.

Netflix, Inc.
Check Prices on Amazon.com

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