king bohan

I’ve just finished watching the Heavenly Sword film, and wow, it was rather underwhelming. Heavenly Sword was realised in 2007 as a launch game for the PS3 and sadly the graphs of this film are about the same as the 2007 game graphs.

It seems rather unpolished and there is a noticeable difference in quality between the start and end of the film. The movements of the characters isn’t very smooth for the first twenty minutes or so and during the initial combat scenes their attack don’t really look like they actually connect with anyone, you just get a little spray of blood and the person falls to the ground unmarked.

The film cuts in a few of the animated parts for the game. I would have much preferred to whole film to be done in this beautiful style of animation, rather than its rather dated graphics.

I won’t go too much into the plot-hole filled storyline of the film but they really do follow a very different route than the game. One of the biggest changes was how they portrayed Master Shen, King Bohan and Kai.The script writer couldn’t seem to decide on type of person they wanted Master Shen to be. He is given a very dark twist to his past. His action, behaviour and words, vary greatly from scene to scene making him annoyingly inconsistent.

King Bohan who was quite simply a lustful, gluttonous pig in game who simply wants both the sword and heroine for the hell of it, was forced into the shackles of a stereotypical villain for the film. The very noticeable change in voice actor sucked out what was left of this personality.

Kai received a completely new background story, which I felt ruined who she was. She is noticeably saner in the film, which takes away from her fun games of twing twang.

What really stung though was that they stole the voice-over narrative of the story from Nariko and gave it to someone else. This was her story, and she should have been the one to tell it! Not some new character that wasn’t present for most of it.

I was really quite excited about this film adaption when I first heard about it. I had heard rumours that this film could be a tie-in between Heavenly Sword and Hellblade, as initial screenshots of the lead, Senua, really did look like she could be related to Nariko. Sadly Ninja Theory recently laid to rest any speculation, by stating the games are in no way connected.

For all the time, effort and funding that’s gone into this film, a HD remake of the game for PS4 could have been made, or better yet the beginning of a sequel. Sadly, I don’t think this film will sell well, so any hopes of further investment in the franchise are slim.

Nariko is one of my favourite gaming characters. She is ridiculed, tormented and treated as a pariah by her own clan, but she never turned against them and chose to defend both them and the sword. Not to prove her worth to them or for the glory, but because it was the right thing to do, even if it meant breaking her clans taboo on using the sword and enduring a slow death by the very sword she wielded. Nariko is not dainty, delicate or dependant on anyone. She is badass. When her back is against a wall, she breaks it down and bludgeons her enemies with the pieces. She defied prophecy, she took on armies and she bargained with Gods This film did not do her justice.