Heavenly Sword is a dramatic tale of revenge that sees Nariko, a fiery red-haired heroine, embark on a quest for vengeance against the invading King Bohan and his army. Once considered the failure of a legendary prophecy, Nariko must wield a sword that was ultimately meant for another. This ancient Heavenly Sword, once belonging to a powerful deity, can never be wielded by a mortal without it slowly and inevitably killing them. For Nariko, it is a race against time to avenge her clan before her life is irreparably overtaken by the omnipotent Heavenly Sword.
How to discuss Heavenly Sword, lets split it into three parts, look, voice acting and plotline.
Firstly, the look of the thing.
If i am completely honest Heavenly Sword looks like it’s comparable to high end PS2 game cutscenes, though it looked decent it isn’t anything special, the technology has come a long way in the past decade but you wouldn’t really know it looking at this film.
Honestly, I wasn’t surprised to find out that the film is actually based on a game (though PS3, not PS2 era) but it raised the question of was this film just the game’s cutscenes and pieced them together to make a somewhat cohesive film.
Secondly there’s the sound of it.
The character voices of Heavenly Sword just didn’t seem to fit for me, if I am honest.
One of the main characters sounded rather creepy, considering she persists through the entire film I just found myself waiting for her to betray Nariko because that’s what she sounds like, Kai (the character in question) sounds like she’s just one step away from turning into a little psychopath, I really found it hard to feel for her as a character.
Beyond that, one character always seemed to have been recorded at a different time entirely, when ever he speaks there just seems to be such a change in the background noise, as if he was edited in at a completely different time and so the balance between him and everyone else just doesn’t work.
Finally, for voice acting we’ve got Thomas Jane (Yes, that Thomas Jane, the Punisher) who is in the film for about five minutes, which just seems like a weird choice to me.
Last, the plot.
The usual “hunt for the chosen one” with a twist of “The power was inside you all along”.
Nariko goes on a quest to find her half-brother (Loki), who is believed to be the chosen one of ancient prophecy, however when she finds him she arrives just in time to watch him die.
Nariko fights with the cursed sword regardless of the fact it will kill her, but somehow the sword accepts her (or she accepts the sword) and instead of dying she emerges victorious.
This is all very well and good, popular tropes that can be used to great effect, but in this instance it just feels as if there is no build up behind it.
Nariko is shown as the only child of the “chosen ones” father, but the second the big bad attacks, it’s dropped on us that her father isn’t actually a nice guy, going around forcing himself upon women at random in order to get himself a son.
She goes on a quest to find her new brother, finding he has gone on his own adventure and it turns out he’s actually working for the big bad, which IS JUST VERY STRANGE, I mean the bad guy already knows Loki exists, a fact which is never explained, he knows Loki exists when not even the father knows but is unaware that Loki works for him? And Loki didn’t even get a chance to show himself unworthy of the prophecy, he literally gets his hands on the Heavenly Sword and then dies, there’s nothing else.
Then the second part, Nariko turns out to be able to carry the sword, despite the prophecy? You never got a feeling that she had proven herself worthy of the sword, and then the ending? I don’t want to go spoiling it for you, but disappointed, I must say.
All in all, I really have to reinforce that this feels like a series of cutscenes, the fights seem short and sharp as if they’re part of Quick Time Events that the viewer is not privy to, so unless you were a fan of the game, this shouldn’t be something you would want to rush out to watch.