Eastern Bandits (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)
July 4, 2014 by Dennis Amith
“Eastern Bandits” was an enjoyable popcorn action film with a tremendous amount of action, guns and explosion. But due to its busy plot and frantic pacing, “Eastern Bandits” is an average film at best.
© 2012 Panorama Pictures. All Rights Reserved.
TITLE: Eastern Bandits
FILM RELEASE: 2012
DURATION: 107 Minutes
BLU-RAY DISC INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition, Mandarin 5.1 DTS-HD MA, Subtitles: English
COMPANY: Well Go USA
RATED: Not Rated
Release Date: May 27, 2014
Directed by Shu-peng Yang
Written by Lao Huang, Shu-peng Yang, Xiaboei Zhang
Produced by Bin Huang
Executive Producer: Xu Xiaoming
Music by Kalli Peng
Cinematography by Yu Cao
Edited by Fang Lei, Eric Myerson, Shu-peng Yang
Production Design by Eddie Wong, Rui Qing Xian
Costume Design by Dan Yang
Xiaoming Huang as Fang
Yi Zhang as Gao
Xinyi Zhang as Jen
Jingyang Ni as Lady Dagger
Tino Bao as Chalatan
Qunshu Gao as Captain
Shan Jiang as Captain’s Wife
Waise Lee as Captain Zhao
Jing Liang as Madame Seven
Zhiming Ma as JAguar
Lei Sun as San Pao
Lie Wang as Kuei
Yue Zhang as Lassie
AN INACCURATE MEMOIR is the heroic story of rebels with a fortune to gain, and everything to lose. Leader Fang Youwang, with his compatriots Kuei, San Pao, and Lady Dagger – lead a posse of roving bandits that are fearless, enterprising, and loyal to the death. Their baby-faced masks make them terrifying; their underground lair untraceable. And now, they’re plotting a double-scam – a heroic rescue and a kidnapping mission – that will make them legends…if anyone gets out alive.
Shu-peng Yang is a writer and filmmaker best known for his film “The Robbers” and “Feng huo” and his latest film “Eastern Bandits” combines action, drama and comedy but also a fascinating and also stylish take on bandits/rebels determined to assassinate the brother of the emperor of Japan.
Starring Xiaoming Huang, Yi Zhang, Xingi Zhang, Jingyang Ni, Tina Bao, Zhiming Ma, Lei Sun, Lie Wang and Yue Zhang, “Eastern Bandits” (also known as “An Inaccurate Memoir”) is currently available on Blu-ray from Well Go USA Entertainment.
Led by Fang (portrayed by Xiaoming Huang), a charismatic leader who makes the women swoon, while his group of ragtag fighters will do what they can for their motherland which has been taken over by the Japanese.
As the Japanese are bringing a large Buddha statue for a commemoration of event of the statue and new post, Fang Youwang and his group which include Kuei, San Pao, Lady Dagger, Lassie and more, who must stage a heroic rescue and the ultimate kidnapping.
“Eastern Bandits” is presented in 1080p High Definition (2:35:1 aspect ratio). The film does look magnificent for the majority of the film, there are some scenes that received deliberate color changes, excessive grain and for the most part, more earthy colors. But a large part of the film is shot outdoors and colors are vibrant and close-ups of characters show great detail.
AUDIO & SUBTITLES:
“Eastern Bandits” is presented in Mandarin DTS-HD MA 5.1. Due to the enormous amount of action and explosions, one can expect scenes with great use of lossless audio from the surround channels but also via LFE. For the most part, a very active lossless soundtrack!
“Eastern Bandits” comes with a theatrical trailer.
With many Chinese films showcasing a storyline of the Japanese enemy and Chinese fighting back for their motherland or to nullify Japan’s forces, the approach to this is often grim and emotional.
Filmmaker Shu-peng goes a different route by giving us a film that tries its best to retain a stylish quality, a more modern feel to the film but also charismatic characters that are thrust into a group and work together against the Japanese.
Lead actor Xiaoming Huang who is best known for roles in “Badges of Fury”, “The Last Tycoon”, “The Guillotines”, looks to charismatic to be taken seriously as a leader. With his hair cleanly shaved, he looks too good to be in the role that he is playing and the others often look too good to pass off as dangerous bandits.
While action enthusiasts will no doubt enjoy “Eastern Bandits”, its sheer amount of action and the different types of happenings that take place throughout the film is a bit excessive. Pacing is a bit scattered and I felt that the story could have developed its cast members a bit more, as you are left with questions throughout the film that not always get solved. Also, you often get confused because there are many actors involved.
And the film may seem as it is a western but there is really nothing western about this film, nor should one expect to see Chinese cowboys because of the Blu-ray cover. It’s a film that takes place during Japan’s occupation of China and despite many people dressing to the actual era, costume design added quite a number of modern touches to the clothing of the characters that it seemed unusual to see these bandits look too clean cut and fashionable.
But what I did enjoy “Eastern Bandits” was its action and style. There is no doubt that the film had a good supporting budget as it featured many extras, many explosions and artillery and also tanks!
Also, another plus is the Blu-ray as the picture quality is detailed and colorful, while the lossless audio has its immersive moments and great use of surround channels and LFE. Unfortunately, there are no special features included but the theatrical trailer.
Overall, “Eastern Bandits” was an enjoyable popcorn action film with a tremendous amount of action, guns and explosion. But due to its busy plot and frantic pacing, “Eastern Bandits” is an average film at best.
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