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Z Storm (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)

August 20, 2015 by  



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“Z Storm” is an exciting action thriller as Hong Kong’s anti-corruption force, the ICAC, must stop the biggest financial scam in Hong Kong, but to also stop the corruption of one of the heads in the police force.   If you are looking for a flashy popcorn action film, “Z Storm” is worth watching!

Images courtesy of © 2014 Pegasus Motion Pictures (Hong Kong). All Rights Reserved.


TITLE: Z Storm

FILM RELEASE: 2014

DURATION: 92 Minutes

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

COMPANY: Well Go USA Entertainment

RATED: NR

Release Date: August 18, 2015


Directed by David Lam

Written by David Lam, Ho Wa Wong

Executive Producer: Edmond Wong

Producer: John Chong

Co-Producer: Hong Tat Cheung

Associate Producer: Stephen Lam

Music by Anthony Chue

Cinematography by Tony Cheung

Edited by Chi-LEung Kwong, Hung Poon

Art Direction by Raymond Chan

Costume Design by Stephanie Wong


Starring:

Louis Koo as William Luk Che Lim

Ka Tung Lam as Wong Man Bin

Dada Chan as Angel Leung On Ying

Michael Wong as MAlcom Wu

Janelle Sing as Tammy Tam

Hoi-Pang Lo as Law Tak Wing

Stephen Au as On Tat

Kwok Cheung Tsang as Joe Ma

Siu-Fai Cheung as Yu Hung Sing

Ying Kwan Lok as Tsui Wai King

Kai Chi Liu as Cheung Keong


An elite police investigation unit uncovers the biggest financial scam in Hong Kongs history, ensnaring them all in a web of deception, greed, sex, power, and fear.


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It has been 15-years since filmmaker/actor David Lam had directed a film.  His last “Shao nu dang” was released back in 1999, despite having a busy career during the late’80s to mid-’90s.

But Lam makes his return with a crime thriller which he wrote (screenplay was completed by Ho Wa Nong), and would star Louis Koo (“Triad Election”, “Election”, “Flash Point”), Ka Tung Lam (“Ip Man”, “Infernal Affairs”, “Election”), Dada Chan (Vulgaria”, Besieged City”) and Michael Wong (“Beast Cops”, “Thunder Bolt”, “Transformers: Age of Extinction”).

And now the 2014 film will be released on BLu-ray and DVD in North America courtesy of Well Go USA.

“Z Storm” is a film that revolves around William Luk (portrayed by Louis Koo) of Hong Kong’s Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) and they are tipped off that Officer Wong Man Ban (portrayed by Gordon Lam) is a corrupted officer, who heads one of the police divisions.

Wong Man Ban is secretly working for businessman Malcolm Wu (portrayed by Michael Wong), a man who is working for a mysterious unknown individual, trying to get well-known investors to back a Z Fund, which in reality is a Ponzi scheme.

Because of previous altercations between the ICAC and the police, Wong Man Ban does whatever he can to thward the ICAC from discovering that he is a corrupted cop.

Meanwhile, William and his team work around the clock to ensure that they find proof that Wong Man Ban and Malcolm Wu are involved in illegal activity.  But they only have several days to do so.

Can the ICAC uncover the proof that they desperately need?

 


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VIDEO:

“Z Storm” is presented in 1080p High Definition and presented in 2:38:1 aspect ratio. Picture quality is fantastic as detail on the the skin, and for the most part, everything looks very clear with this digitally shot film. I didn’t notice any banding or artifacts during my viewing of the film.

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

“Z Storm” is presented in Cantonese 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio. Dialogue is crystal clear through the front channels but also the action sequences during a chase scene, a firefight and more, sounding very cool coming from the surround channels.  Also, use of LFE  as well.

SPECIAL FEATURES

“Z Storm” comes with the following special features:

  • Making Of – (5:12) Featuring a making of with interviews with director David Lam and cast members.
  • Interviews – Featuring interviews with Louis Koo (5:38), Gordon Lam (11:45) and Michael Wong (7:27).
  • Trailer – Theatrical trailer for “Z Storm”.

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As I was watching “Z Storm”, several things came to mind.

For one, I don’t think I have watched a Hong Kong film that focused on the activities on the ICAC.  While there have been a good number of films about corrupted police, it was interesting to see the back-and-forth between the ICAC and corrupted police officers and seeing how they back up their own, but also seeing the rivalry among police divisions.

The other thing that came to mind was seeing the main protagonist, the ICAC’s William Luk (portrayed by Louis Koo).  Decades later and similar to Aaron Kwok and Andy Lau, Koo is able to maintain his position as one of the leading men in Hong Kong cinema, but also men who still look as if they haven’t aged many years later.

Suffice to say, “Z Storm” is a fascinating action-thriller, that is more popcorn action film that a film that has a deep storyline.

While the film is entertaining, there was too much that director and writer David Lam tries to fit into the story.  While the film is focused on trying to find evidence or uncover facts of corruption, the film unsuccessfully tries to enter a dramatic phase of William’s deceased wife which was unnecessary.

The film also tries to utilize too many characters and the primary antagonist earlier on, Wong Man Ban (portrayed by Gordon Lam) is somehow taken out of the picture towards the end of the film and tries to shift the storyline and put it on the shoulders of Malcolm Wu (portrayed by Michael Wong).

Instead of using Wong Man Ban’s corruption in the force and setting up a collision course between Wong and William Luk, Wong nearly disappears towards the end of the film and felt it was a misstep, since they were building on the character of Wong Man Ban as the rival to William.

But despite several missteps, I couldn’t help but be entertained by this story about the battle of wits and seeing how the ICAC would prevail.

As for the Blu-ray release, picture quality is great, and the lossless soundtrack had its moments of immersive action through the surround channels.  Special features are included, and they are basic but considering that many Asian films released on Blu-ray rarely contain special features, the fact that you get a half hour worth of special features is better than no special features at all.

Overall, “Z Storm” is an exciting action thriller as Hong Kong’s anti-corruption force, the ICAC, must stop the biggest financial scam in Hong Kong, but to also stop the corruption of one of the heads in the police force.   If you are looking for a flashy popcorn action film, “Z Storm” is worth watching!

 

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