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Operation Mekong (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)

May 29, 2017 by  



“Operation Mekong” is popcorn action film that probably cement Dante Lam as the Chinese counterpart for America’s Michael Bay when it comes to heavy hitting action, chase scenes and vehicle destruction.  Inspired by real events, “Operation Mekong” will satisfy viewers who want full on hardcore action and not a deep storyline.  A film worth checking out!

Images courtesy of © 2016 Bona Entertainment Companies. All Rights Reserved.


TITLE: Operation Mekong

FILM RELEASE: 2016

DURATION: 124 Minutes

BLU-RAY DISC INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition, 16:9 aspect ratio, Mandarin 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, Subtitles: English

COMPANY: Well Go USA

RATED: Not Rated

RELEASE DATE: October 4, 2016


Directed by Dante Lam

Screenplay by Kang Ki Chu, Dante Lam, Siu Kwan Lau, Eric Lin, Wai Ching Tam

Produced by Jianxin Huang, Candy Leung

Co-Executive Producer: Alvin Chow

Associate Producer: Dong Yu

Music by Julian Chan, Henry Lai, Kwan Fai Lam

Cinematography by Yuen Man Fung

Edited byDavid M. Richardson

Art Direction: Kin-Wai Lee


Starring:

Zhang Hanyu as Gao Gang

Eddie Peng as Fang Xinwu

Feng Wenjuan as Guo Bign “Aphrodite”

Sun Chun as Yu Ping

Chen Baoguo as Minister of Public Security Jiang Haifen

Liu Xianda as Xie Wenfeng “Icarus”

Jonathan Wu Linkai as Kuai Yitong “Hermes”

Zhao Jin as Guo Xu “Poseidon”

Zhan Liguo as Fu Baowei as “Panoptes”

Shi Zhanjie as Jiang Xing “Ares”

Wu Xudong as Wild Bull Team Leader

Carl Ng as Pieere

Pawalit Mongkolpisit as Naw Khar

Vittaya Pansingram as Pshom

Ken Lo as Xing Deng

Ron Weaver as Puja


A band of elite narcotics officers are sent by the Chinese government to uncover the truth behind the ambush of two Chinese commercial vessels traveling down the Mekong River. When it s discovered the drugs seized from the ships had been planted by a notorious drug cartel, a multi-country joint task force is assembled to stop the criminals. The road to justice is, however, paved with dangerous and deadly obstacles.


In October 2011, Chinese were outraged by the news that two Chinese cargo ships were attacked by pirates on a stretch of the Mekong River in the dangers “Golden Triangle” region which borders Myanmar (Burma) and Thailand.  The region has been plagued with crime and is known for an area run by drug smugglers.

All of the 13 crew members on the two ships were killed and dumped onto the river and was the deadliest attack on Chinese nationals abroad in modern times.

While Thai river police in the Chiang Rai province recovered the ships after a gunfight, inside they found 900,000 amphetamine pills worth $3 million.  Planted by drug dealers and police believed the mastermind was Naw Kham, an alleged drug lord and pirate in the Golden Triangle.  In addition, Thailand authorities also implicated nine Thai soldiers of their elite anti-narcotics army unit.

In 2016, a film inspired by the real events called “Operation Mekong” was released in theaters.  The film was directed by Dante Lam (“The Viral Factor”, “The Stool Pigeon”, “That Demon Within”, “Unbeatable”) and the screenplay was written by Lam, Siu Kwan Lau, Eric Lin and Wai Ching Tam.

The film would star Zhang Hanyu (“Sorry Baby”, “A World Without Thieves”, “Big Shot’s Funeral”), Eddie Peng (“Close to You”, “Hear Me”, “Love You You”, “Taichi 0”, “Taichi Hero”) and more.

In the film, a Chinese fishing boat is raided and the Thai government claims that they seized 900,000 amphetamine pills off the Chinese boat that left 13 Chinese fishermen dead.

Chinese narcotics officer Captain Gao Gang (portrayed by Zhang Hanyu) finds evidence from the ship and the dead/bound Chinese fishermen that disputes the Thai government’s findings.

Meanwhile as the news breaks out after the bound bodies of the dead Chinese fishermen started to surface, it’s become a blow for the druglord. And when one of the people involved tries to escape, a gang starts pursuing including one man (who happens to be undercover operative Fang Xinwu, portrayed by Eddie Peng).

After getting the man to talk, it is revealed that the person who hired him was Yan Taung Pha (who works for Naw Khar, portrayed by Pawarith Monkolpisit) and he was sent to plant the amphetamine pills onboard the ship.

As China tried to work out a deal with Myanmar, Thailand and Laos to jointly patrol the river, there was no resolution.

This leads to China to send an elite task force from Captain Gao Gang to go to Burma and capture Naw Khar and protect Chinese citiizens in the Mekong river.  Forcing the other countries governments to take action.


VIDEO:

“Operation Mekong” is presented in 1080p High Definition (2:35 1 aspect ratio). Featuring close-ups with very good detail, the film looks very good as outdoor scenes are colorful and vibrant.  I didn’t notice any major artifacts, banding or issues with picture quality during my viewing of the film.

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

“Operation Mekong” is presented in Mandarin 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio.  Because the heavy amount of action in this film, the film utilizes the surround channels and LFE very well.  Frenetic action throughout the film, “Operation Mekong” has an action-driven lossless soundtrack.

Subtitles are in English.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Operation Mekong” comes with the following special features:

  • The Making Of – Featuring six three-minute making-of featurettes.
  • Trailer – Featuring the theatrical trailer version.

EXTRAS:

“Operation Mekong” comes with a slipcover, Blu-ray and DVD.


The “Mekong River Massacre” was no doubt one of the tragic moments in Chinese history that awakened the country to the piracy problems in the Mekong River.  Important for trade but dangerous and overran by drug dealers, it would be an eye opener for countries to join forces in anti-drug cooperation efforts and jointly patrol the river.

With “Operation Mekong”, the film is loosely based on the true story in which there was no cooperation and so the Chinese government had to take matters under their own hands by sending a Chinese task force to bring down drug cartels and do whatever is necessary to capture the drug kingpin who was responsible for the deaths of 13 Chinese fisherman.

The film manages to show users the problem of drugs in these countries and how it’s permeating into China.  But also shots of maimed peasants who had an arm or both arms hacked off for refusing to work the drug harvest and also seeing real footage of the child soldier armies as children are seen holding guns and smoking cigarettes.

What begins as an intriguing story suddenly becomes a popcorn action film with intense chase scenes, terrorism and torture.

As the Chinese taskforce are busy trying to capture the drug kingpin who killed the Chinese fisherman, the team have their own troubles trying to protect informants that the drug cartels have sent their own to kill.

To Dante Lam’s credit along with cinematographer Yuen Man Fung and editor David M. Richardson, the action sequences are well-done.  It’s non-stop action that many hardcore action fans will appreciate, especially those who would rather see a task force go into these countries and kick arse and less of a deep story about the victims or the politics.  If anything, the Chinese government made a decision and they go into these countries to halt drug deals in order to force the hand of other countries leaders to take action (as most of these small countries will not dare to cross China).

The film does try to have some dramatic elements, especially when it comes to Fang Xinwu’s background and why he wants revenge against the drug dealers.  But if anything, the action is what dominates the overall storyline and the only two characters that viewers may find themselves sympathizing the most is Captain Gao Gang and his K-9, Bingo.

As for the Blu-ray, picture quality is fantastic as close-ups show great detail.  Outdoor scenes are vibrant and for the film’s lossless soundtrack, with the large amount of action sequences, the lossless soundtrack utilizes the surround channels very well and dialogue and music are crystal clear.  And you do get a few short “making of” special-features.

Overall, “Operation Mekong” is popcorn action film that probably cement Dante Lam as the Chinese counterpart for America’s Michael Bay when it comes to heavy hitting action, chase scenes and vehicle destruction.  Inspired by real events, “Operation Mekong” will satisfy viewers who want full on hardcore action and not a deep storyline.  A film worth checking out!






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