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The Game Changer (A J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)

October 28, 2017 by  



“The Game Changer” is entertaining and the storyline features a lot of twists and turns along the way.  But the film is geared more towards the gangster/action film fans, thus sacrificing any deep relationship plots that would have been essential for this film.  But nevertheless, a good film that could have been better.

Images courtesy of © 2017 Young Live Entertainment. All Rights Reserved.


TITLE: The Game Changer

FILM RELEASE: 2017

DURATION: 133 Minutes

BLU-RAY DISC INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition (2:35:1 aspect ratio), Mandarin DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, Subtitles: English and Chinese

COMPANY: Well Go USA Entertainment

RATED: N/A

RELEASE DATE: October 3, 2017


Directed by Xixi Gao

Cinematography by Saba Mazioum


Starring:

Ja-Hyeon Chu as Tang Hexuan (Mr. Tang)

Peter Ho as Lin Zi Hao

Zitao Huang as Fang Jie

Coulee (Guli) Nazha as Tang Quianqian

Xueqi Wang as Mr. To


Two escaped prisoners join one of the most powerful gangs in Shanghai, the Green Gang, as the right-hand men of the head boss Mr. Tang. When Mr. Tang tries to gain total control over business dealings in Shanghai, he discovers his closest allies are not who they seem and turn against his own men to protect his power.


From filmmaker Xixi Gao (“Three Kingdoms”, “Jie Hun shi Nian”, “For Love or Money”) comes his action film “The Game Changer”.

The film stars Peter Ho (“Sword Master”, “The Monkey King”, “Sophie’s Revenge”), Huang Zitao (“Railroad Tigers”, “Edge of Inocence”, “You Are My Sunshine”), Guli Nazha (“Police Story: Lockdown”, “Black & White: The Dawn of Justice”, “The Breakup Guru”), Wang Xueqi (“Iron Man 3”, “Bodyguards and Assasins”, “Reign of Assassins”) and Choo Ja-hyun (“Bloody Ties”, “Portrait of a Beauty”).

And now the film will be released on Blu-ray courtesy of Well Go USA Entertainment.

Fang Jie (portrayed by pop star Huang Zitao) is a gangster and works for the powerful Mr. Tang (portrayed by Wang Xueqi), one of the gang leaders who runs the Green Gang of Shanghai.  Fang Jie, who was an orphan and raised by Mr. Tang, hopes to one day be his successor.  When he gets into trouble and is incarcerated, Fang Jie manages to escape with the help of a prisoner, Lin Zihao (portrayed by Peter Ho).

With the street smarts and fearlessness of Lin Zihao, he becomes one of Mr. Tang’s guards.  But in truth, Lin Zihao is a man who was a member of the Blue Shirts Society, a secret clique of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and wants revenge against Mr. Tang for the murder of his fellow members.

The two become brothers, watching each other’s back and one day, Fang Jie hopes to take control by murdering Mr. Tang when the right time comes.  Not knowing that Lin Zihao also wants Tang dead.

But things become more complicated when Zihao finds out that Mr. Tang’s lover is his girlfriend, Lan Ryoyun.  Lan has thought Zihao died all this time but when she finds out that he is alive, she is not sure what to do.  But Zihao knows that he wants to protect her from harm.

But another person is in love with Zihao, Mr. Tang’s daughter Tang Qianqian (portrayed by Guli Nazha), which causes friction between Zihao and Fang Jie because Fan is also in love with Qianqian and wants to marry her.  But is very upset that she is in love with the man he considers his brother.

But what happens when an opposing gang plans to assassinate Mr. Tang?


VIDEO:

“The Game Changer” is presented in 1080p High Definition (2:35:1 aspect ratio). Picture quality is fantastic, close ups show great detail.  A lot of the shots are outdoors, so the film has has great detail during closeups and more.  The film looks great in HD and I didn’t notice any artifact or banding issues.

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

“The Game Changer” is presented in Mandarin 5.1 DTS-HD MA. Dialogue and music is crystal clear, as with action sequences which utilize the surround channels quite well.

Subtitles are in English and Chinese.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“The Game Changer” comes with no special features.


As former EXO pop star Zitao Huang is quickly becoming China’s well-known actor, filmmaker brings together Zitao Huang and Peter Ho in a story about brotherhood, Shanghai gangs and one of the more turbulent and political times of China during the late 1920’s and early 1930’s.

The main protagonist Zi Hao (portrayed by Peter Ho) takes on the role of a fighter with fighting and weaponry experience broken out of prison alongside Fang Jie (portrayed by Zitao Huang), who happens to be the stepson of Green Gang gangster leader, Mr. Tang.

For Zi Hao, this is the perfect opportunity to infiltrate the gang and get revenge on Mr. Tang for the murder of his fellow Blue Shirts Society members.  As Fang Jie wants to rise in prominence as a gangster and one day will kill his stepfather to take control of the gang, Zi Hao works his way as Mr. Tang’s right-hand man, a bodyguard that stands close to the gang leader.

But what Zi Hao didn’t expect to find that while incarcerated, his former love Lan Ruoyun would have a relationship with Mr. Tang.  To make things worse, Mr. Tang’s daughter Tang Qianqian has fallen for him and she is a woman that his brother at arms, Fang Jie wanted to marry.

Many complications are in Zi Hao’s way of getting revenge, so will he be able to?

And just when you think that Zi Hao and Fang Jie have things going well for them, they aren’t prepared for Mr. Tang’s scheme.

Featuring a solid action performance by Peter Ho and also a much better performance from Zitao Huang, who had more of an emotional and action-driven role this time around, the film is no doubt fascinating due to its twists and turns.

The problem is more of pacing, storyline-wise as many important things about the characters are not shown on screen.  While it would be best to have shown Zi Hao and Lan together for more dramatic effect, you are thrown with this storyline of Zi Hao discovering that his love of his life is with Mr. Tang and all this time she thought he was dead.  Also, there was no character development showing Fang Jie being in love with Qianqian.

While not necessarily plot holes, these are important parts of the stories that could have been developed to make the characters a bit more appealing.  Instead, the storyline is created to incorporate more gangster action, scenes of death and destruction and appeal to the more action-driven fan instead of creating a deep story connecting these relationships.  They are thrown onto you as a viewer and just accept it and move forward.

Most films don’t do that and depending on the viewer who do not want to see the establishment of relationships and want to see more action, this film was created no doubt for those fans.   But I found it to be a major weakness for “The Game Changer”.

Also, the Rambo-like finale with Zi Hao taking on a fortress of enemies is farfetched and it’s visual effects with Zi Hao running with a shirtless black leather vest with guns a-blazing was ’80s cliche and cheesy.

And there are some scenes that just aren’t effective pacing-wise.

The Blu-ray looks good and sounds great but in terms of special features, it’s more or less a barebones Blu-ray release with no special features.

Overall, “The Game Changer” is entertaining and the storyline features a lot of twists and turns along the way.  But the film is geared more towards the gangster/action film fans, thus sacrificing any deep relationship plots that would have been essential for this film.  But nevertheless, a good film that could have been better.






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