The Bodyguard (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)
September 7, 2016 by Dennis Amith
The Bodyguard” is an entertaining, martial arts action film that Sammo Hung fans will no doubt enjoy! He directs and stars in the film and shows us that he can still choreograph fights, he is as effective as a martial arts actor now as he was since starring in films in the early ’60s. If you love martial arts films and have watched Sammo Hung kick butt in the last five decades, “The Bodyguard” is a film worth watching!
© 2016 Irresistible Alpha Limited, Edko Films Limited, Focus Films Limited. All Rights Reserved.
TITLE: The Bodyguard
YEAR OF FILM: 2016
DURATION: 99 Minutes
BLU-RAY DISC INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition, Cantonese DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, Subtitles: English and Chinese
COMPANY: Well Go USA Entertainment
Release Date: September 6, 2016
Directed by Sammo Kam-Bo Hung
Written by Jun Jiang
Produced by Min-jung Park
Executive-Producer: Jae-Duk Han
Line Producer: Minkyung Shin
Cinematography by Moo-gae Lee
Music by Yeong-wook Jo
Art Direction: Hwa-sung Cho
Costume Design by Sang-gyeong Jo
Sammo Kam-Bo Hung as Ding
Jacqueline Chan as Cherry Li
Qinqin Li as Park Seon Nun
Andy Lau as Li Zheng Jiu
James Lee Guy as Sergei
Tomer Oz as Vasily
Retired Special Agent Ding (Sammo Hung) makes a home in a quiet village on the Russia / China border. He befriends a young girl whose father, in debt with the mob, disappears – leaving her in Ding s care. Now he must recall his superior strategic and tactical skills to save both their lives.
Legendary martial arts actor Sammo Kam-Bo Hung (“Ip Man 2”, “Martial Law”, “Winners & Sinners”) directs and stars in the HK action film “The Bodyguard”. The film would become the first film Sammo has directed since the 1997 film “Once Upon a Time in China and America”.
The film stars Jacqueline Chan, Qinqin Li (“Cala, My Dog!”, “A Great Wall”, “Moment in Peking”), Andy Lau (“Infernal Affairs”, “House of Flying Daggers”, “The Warlords”), James Lee Guy and Tomer Oz (“Skiptrace”, “Dragonblade”, “Mechanic”).
The film is set in a Chinese city in northeast China, near the Russian border. A group of Russians are slaughtered by a Chinese gang led by Choi and the only person to witness it was Ding (portrayed by Sammo Kam-Bo Hung). Unfortunately, Ding’s memory is terrible and he is unable to remember who he saw kill the men.
As Ding stays at home, he often takes care of a neighbor’s daughter, Cherry Li (portrayed by Jacqueline Chan), who’s father Li Zheng Jiu (portrayed by Andy Lau) is a gambler who has run up debt with Choi and is in big trouble.
When Choi threatens to hurt him, he gives Li a chance to live by going to the hotel occupied by a Russian gang leader and to steal a shoulder-bag. But the Russians go after Li, who runs off with the case. But when Choi tells Li that his debt isn’t cleared, Li runs off with the bag and goes into hiding.
To get back at Li, they go after his prized possession, his daughter Cherry. But when the gang tries, Ding, who still remembers his martial arts technique, manages to save her life. But Choi’s gang will do anything to capture her.
Meanwhile, a gang war between the Russians and Choi’s gang is escalating.
“The Bodyguard” is presented in 1080p High Definition. As for the Blu-ray release, picture quality features great detail when it comes to closeups and skintones look natural. Picture quality for the most part looks very good with no signs of artifacts or banding issues.
AUDIO & SUBTITLES:
“The Bodyguard” is presented in Cantonese 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio. The film features a lot of action sequences and primarily a lot of fight scenes that utilize the surround channels, while dialogue and music are crystal clear.
Subtitles are in English and Chinese.
“The Bodyguard” comes with the following special features:
- An All-Star Cast with All-Star Support – (2:46) Featuring behind-the-scenes with the various all-star cast.
- About the Characters – (2:25) Featuring the cast discussing their characters
- A View of the Legend, On and Off-Screen – (2:10) Getting to know Sammo Kam-Bo Hung
- Sammo Hung: Kindness is His Calling Card – (2:35) A featurette showing Sammo Hung’s kindness and his love for children.
- About the Action – (2:38) A featurette about the action in the film.
- About the Girl (Jacqueline Chan) – (2:38) A featurette about the young actress Jacqueline Chan.
- Theatrical Trailer – The theatrical trailer for “The Bodyguard”.
For any martial arts fan, “The Bodyguard” is a film that many Sammo Hung fans have wanted to see.
As Sammo Hung was popular through the ’70s, 80’s and ’90s and would have his own US TV show titled “Martial Law”, a lot of films that he has appeared in the 2000’s would feature Sammo Hung as a supporting character or as the elder teacher.
But Sammo Hung and Jackie Chan emerged on the big screen together in 1962 and as Jackie Chan still takes on roles as the main protagonist, it has been awhile since we saw Sammo Hung in the main protagonist role.
So, “The Bodyguard” is rather interesting because this is no doubt a Sammo Hung film in which his friends have come along and joined him on this action-packed adventure (with the exception of Jackie Chan, who was supposed to have a role but due to his son’s scandal, was unable to take part in the film).
Still, we have Andy Lau as an executive producer, we have cameos by legendary filmmaker Hark Tsui and legendary martial arts actors Bo Yuen, Ng Ming-Choi and Qiu Yuen having cameos in the film.
But for martial arts fans, the chance of watching Sammo Hung in an action-driven martial arts film and seeing Hung showing us that he still has what it takes to be a main protagonist and still showing us he can still choreograph his fights and still be as effective as a martial arts actor.
“The Bodyguard” is an entertaining film as Sammo Hung plays the character of Ding, a retired Central Security Bureau Officer who has lost his memory. Unfortunately, the only things he can remember are terrible things that have happened in his life which he hasn’t talked about but as his memory is rapidly deteriorating, he has struck a friendship with a young girl named Cherry.
Cherry is a vibrant girl who occasionally sneaks into his home, because her father is often out getting himself into trouble. And for Ding, the only people that really care for him is Cherry and his neighbor, an elderly woman named Park.
But in the city they live in near the Russian border, a Chinese and Russian gang are at war with each other and when Cherry’s father gets involved, he becomes a target, but also making Cherry a target as well. And the only person that can protect her is Ding.
And when the Chinese gang start going after Cherry, they’ll learn quickly that the old, senile Ding is not a person to mess around with.
While I did enjoy the film, and while it is quite farfetched, there are some story sequences that don’t play out quite smoothly as one would hope. And for some reasons, scenes that should have been deleted were included in the beginning of the end credits and were unnecessarily added. Those scenes could have easily became deleted scenes in the special features menu of the Blu-ray/DVD.
As for the Blu-ray release, picture quality features great detail when it comes to closeups and skintones look natural. The film features a lot of action sequences and primarily a lot of fight scenes that utilize the surround channels, while dialogue and music are crystal clear.
Overall, “The Bodyguard” is an entertaining, martial arts action film that Sammo Hung fans will no doubt enjoy! He directs and stars in the film and shows us that he can still choreograph fights, he is as effective as a martial arts actor now as he was since starring in films in the early ’60s.
If you love martial arts films and have watched Sammo Hung kick butt in the last five decades, “The Bodyguard” is a film worth watching!
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