originally posted by trevor (20-Sep-06 05:08 AM)
Jiang Hu (2004) (HK)
Directed by Wong Ching-Po
Starring Andy Lau, Jacky Cheung
Compressed crime drama that lacks that something that made the likes of Infernal Affairs, Breaking News and One Night in Mongkok stand out from the crowd.
Because of the set up it's very difficult to actually delve into the plot without giving away the twist except to say that the twist is the main success but also one of the main failings of the film.
The biggest problem is the lack of time, I'm more than happy to complain at the recent spate of over-long Hollywood heavyweights but Jiang Hu needed at least another half hour or so to develop the characters and storyline. Try cutting around an hour from The Godfather and you'll get my drift.
Another problem is that too much time and effort is wasted on shots which are meant to be stylish and clever but just come across as conceited. Two examples of which are, one of the central characters is beaten up by a gang, the scene is shown from street level but then cuts between that and an underside view (obviously re-shot through a glass floor), nobody appeared to realise that the way blood smears on glass is totally different to the way it smears on paving. Another scene has the two central characters across a table from each other in an empty restaurant involved in a heavy discussion, all of a sudden the table and characters are moving around! Why? Whatever the motive it distracts you from the intensity of the conversation and ends up making it almost comical.
The film needed more time, more character development and less smart-ass camera shots, it is a shame as it feels as though this could have been an above average film whereas in the end it's only mediocre.
Worth looking at if you're into crime dramas but not worth going out of your way for.
No BBFC rating but due to the violence I'd say a 15 rating would be sensible.
Region 0 dvd distributed by Mei Ah Entertainment in a well presented double disc set with a nice quality slip case.
Picture quality is very good and once again, great use of DTS on the soundtrack, the subtitles are decent with one or two minor slips but nothing that will detract from the film.
There are a wealth of extras on the second disc but no English language subtitles which is always a bit of a bummer.