I did enjoy “White Vengeance” but compared to other Chinese historical films or war epics, “White Vengeance” featured wonderful costume and set design, but for its story, it was good…just not great. And because of it’s complexity of the timeline and focus on various characters, I found myself having to rewind and rewatch certain scenes because I was getting confused. But for those who love Chinese historical films with plenty of action, you’ll more than likely enjoy “White Vengeance”!
TITLE: White Vengeance
TELEFILM RELEASE: 2012
DURATION: 138 Minutes
BLU-RAY DISC INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition (16:9 Widescreen), MandarinDTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, Subtitles: English
COMPANY: Well Go USA Entertainment
RATED: NOT RATED
Release Date: September 4, 2012
Directed and Written by Daniel Lee
Producer: Susanna Tsang
Music by Henry Lai
Cinematography by Tony Cheung
Edited by Man To Tang
Production Design by Daniel Lee
Art Direction by Henry Fong
Costume Design by Kwan Kit Mok, Ming-ha Wong
Shaofeng Feng as Xiang Yu
Leon Lai as Liu Bang
Hanyu Zhang as Zhang Liang
Anthony Wong as Fan Zeng
Yifei Liu as Yu Ji
Jordan Chan as Fan Kuai
And On as Han Xin
Qing Xiu as Xiao He
Haifeng Ding as Xiang Zhuang
Xiang Dong Xu as Xiang Bo
Chen Zhi Hui as Xiahou Ying
In a time of tyranny and oppression, deception is everywhere. Insurgency swells among the people as two brothers battle for supremacy -and the love of a woman- during the fall of the Qin Dynasty. Liu Bang (Leon Lai, BODYGUARDS AND ASSASSINS) and Xiang Fu (Feng Shaofeng, XI YOU JI), once united but now locked in combat to rule the insurgent lands in a recreation of history’s famed bloody battle for rule and dominion, known as the Feast at Hong Gate. Witness the beginning of the Red Cliff rebellion with this historic clash, directed by Daniel Lee (3 KINGDOMS, BLACK MASK).
A beautiful, violent Chinese historical film that features a loose adaptation of “The Feast at Hong Gate” written and directed by Daniel Lee (“14 Blades”, “Three Kingdoms: Resurrection oft he Dragon”, “Black Mask”) and featuring an all-star cast with Leon Lai (“Fallen Angels”, “Seven Swords”, “Comrades: Almost a Love Story”), Feng Shaofeng, Liu Yifei (“Forbidden Kingdom”), Zhang Hanyu, Anthony Wong (“Infernal Affairs” films, “Exiled”, “Hard Boiled”), Jordan Chan (“Help!!!”, “Skyline Cruisers”, “Spy Dad”), Andy On, Xiu Qing and Jia Qing.
The film was nominated for four Hong Kong Film Awards including “Best Art Direction” and “Best Costume & Make Up Design” and was released on Blu-ray and DVD courtesy of Well Go USA.
“White Vengance” is a film that is loosely based on the Feast at Hong Gate and the fall of the Qin Dynasty.
The film begins with a group of students and a scholar visiting a site honoring Liu Bang and Xiang Yu. The scholar, is shocked to see these unnamed markers next to the men, let alone both shrines being in the same area? Why would this be done? And out of nowhere, a man with his hat obscuring his face, tells the students and their teacher of the story of Liu Bang And Xiang Yu.
As the Qin Empire was in chaos, two sworn brothers in battle, the warrior Xiang Yu (portrayed by Feng Shaofeng) and the diplomatic Liu Bang (portrayed by Leon Lai) became leaders of insurgent forces who rebelled against the Qin Dynasty from 209 BC to 206BC.
To put this era in context, because the Qin Empire was in turmoil, it was split into 18 kingdoms. Two of those kingdoms became prominent and powerful, Western Chu led by Xiang Yu and Han led by Liu Bang. And both would eventually conquer the other kingdoms. This era (206BC-202BC) would be known as the Chu-Han Contention.
Because these two men were so powerful that serve King Huai of Chu, King Huai became concerned that he would easily be beaten. So, how could he take out one or both of these men? Why not pit them against each other?
King Huai devises a plot that whoever can subvert the Qin Kingdom would be the new Lord Qin.
While Xiang Yu is the warrior that many people fear and has men who have succeeded in many wars, he is also a man who falls in love with the woman Yu Ji (portrayed by Yifei Liu). As the two marry, Xiang Yu must go to war and leaves his bride to his swordbrother Liu Bang, hoping he can take Yu Ji far away and protect her. What Xiang Yu doesn’t know is that Liu also loves Yu Ji. But both he and his wife are unaware of it.
And as Liu Bang escorts Yu Ji to safety, many of Liu Bang’s warriors feel that their leader should pursue the title of Lord Qin. Mainly because he fights for the people and cares about the people, where as other leaders believe in war and hurting the people, including Xiang Yu.
At first Liu Bang wants no part of becoming the Lord Qin but as many of his friends and people support him, Liu Bang manages to gain prominent people such as the wise consultant/strategist Zhang Liang (portrayed by Hanzyu Zhang), who is second to Xiang Yu’s long-time consultant and strategist Fan Zeng (portrayed by Anthony Wong).
And both Xiang Yu and Liu Bang develop a tremendous reputation of winning wars and winning over the people. But with both sides being powerful, but one believing in being a warrior in the battlefield, while one is more of a pacifist and one does not want any soldiers dying. Who will eventually become the next Lord Qin..Xiang Yu or Liu Bang?
“White Vengeance” is presented in 1080p High Definition (16:9 Widescreen). The film looks absolutely beautiful in HD. The use of CG to make a war look like thousands were taking part in the battle looked effective. The detail on closeups were amazing but it’s the detail that comes with the costume and make-up including production design that is the winner of this film. Everything looks impressive, even the makeup, I would not have known that legendary HK star Leon Lai was playing the part of Liu Bang, until I read the front cover of the Blu-ray. But from a cool to warm presentation in HD, the film looks great, with some areas looking a bit soft at times. But considering that the film is primarily focused on close-ups and wide-angles, the film looks great, black levels are nice and deep and well-contrast.
AUDIO & SUBTITLES:
“White Vengeance” is presented in Mandarin DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1. As one can expect from a film with a lot of action, there are good use of directional sound effects coming from the surround channels. From spears and arrows being shot from one side to the other, the sound of horses galloping on the battlefield to the sounds of the clanging swords. The lossless soundtrack for “White Vengeance” features awesome dynamic range, crystal clear dialogue and also wonderful use of the surround for the music!
Subtitles are in English.
“White Vengeance” comes with the following special features:
- Behind the Scenes - (54:27) Behind-the-scenes of the rehearsals for the action sequences and the making of the film.
- Cast and Crew Interviews – (36:03) Featuring cast and crew interviews.
- Trailer – (1:40) The original theatrical trailer for “White Vengeance”.
- International Trailer – (1:06) The international trailer for “White Vengeance”.
“White Vengeance” comes with a slipcover case.
“White Vengeance” is a beautiful film and possibly the best film so far from writer/director Danny Lee. From the look of the film thanks to its beautiful cinematography, wonderful costume design and make-up and also the effective and believable production design, the film looks and sounds quite impressive on Blu-ray!
But with so many Chinese historical films, how does “White Vengeance” compare to other epic films? For one, it’s an interesting take on the “Feast at Hong Gate” and the battle between Xiang Yu and Liu Bang. Two leaders, two sworn brothers in battle but yet, two of the most powerful men of insurgent groups, it was destined that these two would become rivals and enemies. As both men wanted to become Lord Qin.
There approach to competing for this title is what is fascinating. Xiang Yu is a warrior, while Liu Bang is the pacifist who wants no one to die, but he knows that to protect the people, he must become the leader by doing things he may not want to do. This includes going against the man who one called him brother, Xiang Yu.
While many fans of this of Asian cinema will come to expect the fighting on the battlefield, the amount of corruption between warring factions but the film’s strength lies in its portrayal of strategy.
Xiang Yu’s use of the legendary strategist Fan Zeng and Liu Bang’s use of the #2 strategist Zhang Liang. Both men are wonderful advisers, but as much as the film is a battle between both Xiang Yu and Liu Beng, it’s also a battle between two master strategists, Fan Zheng and Zhang Liang.
And it’s the strategic ways of how each counter each other that to me, was the most captivating part of the storyline. Both leaders depend on their advisers/strategists and it adds to the storyline of loyalty and betrayal. Does one’s thirst for power exceed the trust one has in their close advisor’s and the people close to them? You’ll have to see how things play out between this war between two leaders.
Once again, this film is loosely based on the actual story of Xiang Yu and Liu Beng. For one, the actual relatonship between Xiang Yu and Yu Ji has been romanticized quite a bit for this film, but it in it’s overall effectiveness of trying to include a romantic aspect to the film, it does work for “White Vengeance”.
There were other characters that tried to showcase the loyalty of the men of Xiang Yu and Liu Beng. In one scene, during the “Feast at Hong Gate”, we see Fan Kuai (portrayed by Jordan Chan) biting off his finger as a sign of his loyalty to Liu Bang. Also, characters did not live or die as was seen in the film, although the depiction of loyalty to their leader during a certain time seems to be factual.
But for those looking for a film for historical accuracy, many directors pursue a loose adaptation in order to make the movie more appealing to audiences. So, for those expecting an exact depiction of what took place during this era in Chinese history, you’re not going to get an authentic adaptation.
As for the Blu-ray release, “White Vengeance” looks and sounds amazing. The cinematography, costume and set design, make-up are well-done and the use of the lossless soundtrack to capture the sounds of war was amazingly done. And you also get a few special features as well.
Overall, “White Vengeance” is a good Chinese historical film but definitely not one of the best. While the action and the use of strategy was fascinating, the storyline is a bit difficult to showcase something so complex when it focuses on four individuals. Yes, the film’s primary characters are Xiang Yu and Liu Bang, but by the second half, the story then switches to Zhang Liang and Fan Zeng, the strategist a bit more and all of a sudden, we see this change between both primary characters that leave you feeling as if you missed a bit of character development after what had taken place at the “Feast at Hong Gate”.
But other than that, I did enjoy “White Vengeance” but compared to other Chinese historical films or war epics, “White Vengeance” featured wonderful costume and set design, but for its story, it was good…just not great. And because of it’s complexity of the timeline and focus on various characters, I found myself having to rewind and rewatch certain scenes because I was getting confused. But for those who love Chinese historical films with plenty of action, you’ll more than likely enjoy “White Vengeance”!
CAST: Leon Lai, Maggie Cheung, Eric Kot
DIRECTED BY: Andrew Lau
HK MOVIE DATABASE URL: http://www.hkmdb.com/db/reviews/show_review.
DURATION: 95 minutes
TYPE OF MOVIE: Comedy, Romance
NOTE: Reviewed Deltamac DVD version with removable English subtitles (All Region
Ellen ( Maggie Cheung ) and Mike ( Leon Lai ) meet and fall in love with each other at the most lovely and romantic city. San Francisco. However, due to their different personality and character, the relationship does not work out as smoothly as it starts …. After all that meeting, loving, braking up, it takes a little miracle and an earthquake for them to understand where their heart belongs to!
* English/Chinese removable subtitles
KNOWN DVD SECRET(S): None that I know of
It was a pleasure to see Maggie Cheung and Leon Lai together in this film. Especially to see them in a movie filmed in the US (Bay Area).
The movie is really beautiful and was very entertaining to watch especially if you are involved in a dot.com. Speaking of dot.com, how do you like how StarEast promoted their Website through the film? Well, at least it was not bad as the advertising in “Juliet in Love”.
The story focuses on two characters who are totally different. Maggie Cheung, plays a single mother who drives a cab, who wonders if she will find love again. And the rich dot.com man played by Leon Lai who seems to be a party animal but that is where the problems lie in this movie. For a mother who wants to make sure she doesn’t get screwed over by a man, why does she suddenly have a one night stand with a man she just met and that she knows is completely different from her and vice versa.
The movie is beautiful but it would have been nice if more was spent on the two characters. The “forgive him” segment was pretty interesting!
Otherwise a cool DVD with cool video. The audio is typical of dialogue and special features feature info. on the characters and nothing much really.
A cool movie worth checking out.
THE MOVIE: C+
THE DVD EXTRAS: C-
THE DVD OVERALL: C
CAST: Leon Lai, Jordan Chan, Sam Lee, Shu Qui, Michelle Saram, Alex To and more.
DIRECTED BY: Wilson Yip
WRITTEN BY: Joe Ma
INTERNET MOVIE DATABASE URL: http://us.imdb.com/Title?0272822
TYPE OF MOVIE: Action
DURATION: 89 minutes
NOTE: Reviewed UNIVERSE DVD version with removable English subtitles (All Region)
Mac, a professional thief, shoots his partner who has killed his girlfriend in an operation. He is later caught and meets three then-small-time thieves in prison. They join together to become the best team of organized commercial thieves. During an operation to steal a cancer vaccine, they surprisingly find a pre-set bomb in the laboratory and figure out that it is a setup against them. A mysterious girl suddenly appears……
* English/Chinese removable subtitles
* Synopsis and cast info. + 10 minute making of Skyline Cruisers
* Trailer for Skyline Cruisers, Marooned, Lavender, Summer Holiday and more.
KNOWN DVD SECRET(S): None that I know of
I guess viewers may look at this as a HK version of “Mission Impossible” or a high-tech HK version of the A-TEAM. Regardless of what you compare it too, I have to say that the action scenes and the James Bond/Mission Impossible type of gadgetry is pretty awesome.
The movie is very similar to the style of 1997′s “Downtown Torpedoes” but technology sure makes a difference in this film. If anything, the technology is the eye-candy of this film.
The plot of the movie is similar to the films just mentioned. Team is given a certain amount of money to take on a mission. You have two hero’s and two computer hackers. The team led by Mac (Lai) and his original team partner, Bird (played by Chan) still cannot forget the past of a mission gone wrong. Betrayed by a former teammate. With 89 minutes of movie and the majority is focused on the action, the focus of this movie is on that and not the character development.
In a way, that kind of hurts the film because you are left clueless about the past of these two men. Even their computer hacking partners want to know about their past but if they don’t know, the audience won’t surely know.
In a way, watching this is like watching a second part of a movie series. Did we miss something in the first? Well, perhaps a prequel will be made. It’s too bad we don’t really get director’s commentaries in HK films. We would know what was in the mind of the director. Is there a reason for the more action, less character development? Is this movie planned to be a series?
But despite the character development, it’s not all that disappointing. In a way, although Wilson Yip’s previous movies “Bio-Zombie”, “Bullets Over Summer” and “Juliet in Love” has it’s many fans, some may feel this is a step back for Yip but I view it as a step forward. I see a potential similar to Steven Soderbergh and with each movie, you can see Yip grow as a director, especially with the different style of movies that he is involved in.
So, if a series is planned for this movie, I won’t hesitate to say that I look forward to seeing the next because it has potential.
As for the DVD, Universe did a good service by adding the 10 minute making of. If there was something that sucks is that you can’t select the English subtitles for it. The quality of the movie is pretty nice, I wish this movie was released in DTS but I’m being picky. So, for $17, the movie is worth the rental or worth buying if you dig the technological parts of this movie.
So, if you are an action fan and lack of character development and knowing the history of the characters don’t bother you, then check this movie out.
THE MOVIE: C+
THE DVD EXTRAS: C
THE DVD OVERALL: C+
CAST: Leon Lai, Carina Lau, Shu Qui, Lee Ann and more.
DIRECTED BY: Jing Wong
TYPE OF MOVIE: Romance
DURATION: 98 minutes
NOTE: Reviewed Universe DVD version with removable English subtitles (All Region).
Loosely based on a popular Japanese TV series Lover Generation HK star Pop supper-star Leon Lai and Bill Kay, A white collar office worker with no future who decide to break up with his equally caret-less girlfriend Maggie . Six years later, bill becomes a billionaire, with a celebrity gal Joey and a loyal secretary Moon, but then bill met Maggie by chance in Tokyo and their love is rekindled. Adding this complex love triangle is the fact that Moon is also in love with Bill, between Maggie Joey and Moon, who will Bill choose at the end.
* English/Chinese removable subtitles
* Synopsis and cast info. + trailer for this movie and “Young & Dangerous 5″, “Anna Magdalena” & NG Scenes
KNOWN DVD SECRET(S): None that I know of
For those who don’t watch Japanese dramas, “Love Generation” was a popular drama that aired back in the Fall of 1997 featuring Kimura Takuya and Matsu Takako. A complicated love story and a crystal apple.
The crystal apple makes its return in the movie “Love Generation Hong Kong” which is marked as a symbol by the character played by Carina Lau as a gift of remembrance to Bill (Lai) after the couple broke up to focus on their lives and careers. Who ever knew that Bill will meet his ex-girlfriend six years later in Tokyo.
The movie is about relationships and a complicated love square. Ex-girlfriend, current girlfriend and beautiful assistant and Bill. Who will he pick?
As the summary says on back of the DVD, it is loosely based on the drama series. If anything, the crystal apple is the symbol of LV used in this movie and not much else. Also, the drama series was 12 or so episodes long and this one is 98 minutes. But it was an entertaining 98 minutes that I enjoyed watching.
The movie looks great on DVD and the audio is typical for a dialogue movie. Some parts the women’s dialogue seems a bit muffled or low but only people who are picky will know this.
As for special features, aside from the usual on HK DVD’s, you get the NG (Not Good blooper) scenes.
Some may be offended by Bill’s prejudice views in the movie.
If you want a break from action and violent HK films, “Love Generation” is a pretty entertaining romantic movie.
THE MOVIE: B+
THE DVD EXTRAS: B-
THE DVD OVERALL: B
An enjoyable, yet humorous film and a not so serious take on the American film “The Bodyguard”.
DVD FROM: MEI AH LASER DISC CO. LTD.
TITLE: Killing Me Tenderly
CAST: Starring Leon Lai, Sammi Cheng, Sandra Ng, Wyman Wong, Lai Yiu Cheng and more.
DIRECTED BY: Directed by Lee Lik-chee
PRODUCED BY: Joe Ma
TYPE OF MOVIE: Romance, Drama, Comedy
DURATION: 102 minutes
Cindy Chu (Cheng) is a popular singer. Her agent, Dan (Wong) receives a threatening message of death to Cindy. Lai Shu-kan (Lai) is sent by the police to protect Cindy. Dan requests Kan to pretend to be gay and be the pesonal assistant of Cindy, in order to hide the truth, hmor is of course resulted. In fact, the threat is froma magazine reporter. Unfortunately, the real crazy fans is engagin ing a largescale kidnap to Cindy. (From back cover).
• Removable English subtitles / Otherwise….nada!
KNOWN DVD SECRET(S): None that I could find.
This is the “Bodyguard” movie of Hong Kong (moreso than “Bodyguard from Beijing”). The only difference from the Costner/Houston film from this movie is that this movie balances humor with drama and also it’s not as serious.
I found this movie to be enjoyable and the pairing of Leon and Sammi a real treat. The two do well on screen with each other and they play their characters so well. Leon plays a country side policeman (or Chief of the Village) moving to the urban area and his first gig is to protect Cindy Chu. Sammi does a great job of playing Cindy, an up-and-coming singer with her gay entourage.
There are other well known actors in this movie but their parts are very minimal. Wong plays the bi-sexual manager, Sandra Ng plays Lai Shu-kan’s cousin and more.
But with this humor, although the movie is enjoyable, it has quite a few faults. With one crazed fan named Jelly stalking and acting weird towards Cindy, you would think Cindy would of told her entourage about it. Then of course, there is the ending of the confrontation which had an extra slop of cheese to the storyline. But this is common in many HK films, so I’ll let it slide.
As for the DVD, this DVD is one of the oldies and one of the first to start using removable English subtitles. Back then you got menu-less DVD’s with burned in subtitles. During this time, Mei Ah released the DVD with ugly menu’s but with removable English subtitles. No special features though. But again, this was years ago and the company has since improved with their DVD releases.
All in all an enjoyable humorous film, but if you are expecting a serious drama like the American based “Bodyguard” film, you won’t find it here.
THE MOVIE: B-
THE DVD EXTRAS: F
THE DVD OVERALL: C-