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Lust, Caution (2007) (DVD) (Hong Kong Version) DVD Region 3

Tony Leung Chiu Wai (Actor) | Tang Wei (Actor) | Leehom Wang (Actor) | Zhu Zhi Ying (Actor)
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Customer Rating: Customer Review Rated Bad 5 - 5.9 out of 10 (9)
All Editions Rating: Customer Review Rated Bad 6 - 6.7 out of 10 (12)

YesAsia Editorial Description

Oscar-winning director Ang Lee returns to Chinese-language cinema for the first time since his award-winning Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. Based on a short story by celebrated author Eileen Chang (Eighteen Springs), Lust, Caution is easily one of 2007's biggest events in World Cinema.

1942, Japanese occupied Shanghai. Young drama student Wang Jiazhi (Tang Wei, in a daring debut performance) has been given an extraordinary mission: to infiltrate the inner circle of Mr. Yee (Tony Leung Chiu Wai), the head of the Japanese puppet government's secret police, and arrange for his assassination. To do so, she takes on a false identity as "Mrs. Mak" and attempts to seduce Mr. Yee, convincing him of her emotion so she can one day betray him. At first, Jiazhi is dedicated to her cause, having been drafted into the ranks of the resistance by her charismatic classmate Kuang (Leehom Wang). But in attempting to draw closer to Mr. Yee, she finds herself torn between her "real" life and the seductive pull of the role she has created, a role that threatens to consume her heart and soul.

Premiering at the 2007 Venice Film Festival, the film earned Ang Lee his second Golden Lion Award, the first being for Brokeback Mountain, while also receiving notices for its exacting detail, sumptuous period setting, powerful performances from Tony Leung Chiu Wai and Tang Wei, and finally its explicit love scenes. The film was branded with an NC-17 rating in North America due to nudity and graphic sexual situations, but the material is integral to the film, revealing the characters at perhaps their most emotionally vulnerable and exposed. Also starring Asian-American actress Joan Chen, and featuring an exquisite score from French composer Alexandre Desplat, Lust, Caution is a powerful and uncompromising work from one of the world's most accomplished modern filmmakers.

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Technical Information

Product Title: Lust, Caution (2007) (DVD) (Hong Kong Version) 色,戒 (2007) (DVD) (香港版) 色,戒 (2007) (DVD) (香港版) ラスト、コーション (色,戒) (香港版) Lust, Caution (2007) (DVD) (Hong Kong Version)
Artist Name(s): Tony Leung Chiu Wai (Actor) | Tang Wei (Actor) | Leehom Wang (Actor) | Zhu Zhi Ying (Actor) | Joan Chen (Actor) 梁 朝偉 (Actor) | 湯唯 (Actor) | 王力宏 (Actor) | 朱 芷瑩 (Actor) | 陳沖 (Actor) 梁 朝伟 (Actor) | 汤唯 (Actor) | 王力宏 力宏 (Actor) | 朱 芷莹 (Actor) | 陈冲 (Actor) 梁朝偉 (トニー・レオン) (Actor) | 湯唯 (タン・ウェイ) (Actor) | 王力宏(ワン・リーホン) (Actor) | Zhu Zhi Ying (Actor) | 陳沖(ジョアン・チェン) (Actor) 양조위 (Actor) | 탕웨이 (Actor) | Leehom Wang (Actor) | Zhu Zhi Ying (Actor) | Joan Chen (Actor)
Director: Ang Lee 李安 李安 李安(アン・リー) 리안
Release Date: 2007-12-21
Language: Mandarin
Subtitles: Traditional Chinese
Country of Origin: United States, Taiwan, France
Picture Format: NTSC What is it?
Aspect Ratio: 1.78 : 1
Sound Information: Dolby Digital EX(TM) / THX Surround EX(TM), DTS Extended Surround(TM) / DTS-ES(TM)
Disc Format(s): DVD
Region Code: 3 - South East Asia (including Hong Kong, S. Korea and Taiwan) What is it?
Rating: III
Publisher: Edko Films Ltd. (HK)
Package Weight: 120 (g)
Shipment Unit: 1 What is it?
YesAsia Catalog No.: 1005037531

Product Information

Director: Ang Lee

When an ordinary girl is given an extraordinary mission, patriotism will not only test her aptitude for murder but the will to break her own heart. Academy award winning director Ang Lee embroils us in the deceptive and unsavory world of Japanese occupied Shanghai in 1942. A young, shy Wang Jia Zi is recruited by a student group and their charismatic leader dead set on countering the puppet government. Her first mission; to seduce the head of the regime's secret police, enrapture herself in the affair, and then end his life. Adapted from Eileen Chang's novella.
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Awards

This film has won 11 award(s) and received 8 award nomination(s). All Award-Winning Asian Films

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YumCha! Asian Entertainment Reviews and Features

Professional Review of "Lust, Caution (2007) (DVD) (Hong Kong Version)"

March 3, 2008

This professional review refers to Lust, Caution (2007) (DVD) (English Subtitled) (Uncut) (Limited Edition) (Korea Version)
Lust, Caution, Ang Lee's adaptation of Eileen Chang's short story, is probably most notorious for its NC-17-earning love scenes, which feature copious nudity and gymnastic positioning from Tony Leung Chiu-Wai and newcomer Tang Wei. Those who put the film on their must-see list simply to catch some skin won't be totally disappointed; the actual amount of sex amounts to less than ten minutes, but the scenes are quite explicit in all their sweaty, bodies-intertwining glory. The scenes also don't occur until the latter half of the film, which clocks in at an astounding 137 minutes of sumptuous period detail, intense mahjong sequences, and portentous gazes, all of which take precedence to the sordid stuff that baser audiences will likely tune in for. But that doesn't mean it's all filler; on the contrary, the running time of Lust, Caution is largely justified, serving to add weight and depth to Lee's potentially ponderous epic. The extreme length and slow pace of the film can sometimes feel like a drag, but ultimately, the long and sometimes frustrating journey is well worth it.

Tang Wei turns in a very brave debut performance as Wang Chia-Chih, a drama student who travels a winding emotional road, flirting with both the enemy and her own inner darkness. We first meet her in 1942, engaging in a game of mahjong with Mrs. Yee (Joan Chen) and friends, before she excuses herself to take care of a mysterious errand. She stops at a Shanghai cafe, and makes a phone call to her co-conspirators, telling them that today's the day they carry out their plan: to assassinate Mrs. Yee's husband, Mr. Yee (Tony Leung Chiu-Wai), the head of the Chinese Secret Police owned in full by the Japanese occupational government. In the opening moments, the film has our full attention, as Wang is already waist-deep in espionage, duplicity, and catty conversations over the mahjong table. She's just called in the hit, and she's now nervous, applying perfume anxiously, her eyes flitting from one person to the next to determine if they're friend or foe. Her raw nerves are expected and understandable.

But her nerves run much, much deeper than that. Before we can see the outcome of Chia-Chih's fateful phone call, the film flashes back four years to late-thirties Hong Kong, introducing us to the origin of the assassination plot and Wang Chia-Chih's first steps along her treacherous road. Chia-Chih has just been transplanted to Hong Kong University, where she joins a drama troupe, performing patriotic plays that stoke the pride of the Chinese people. After her first performance as the troupe's leading lady, Chia-Chih is flush with excitement over her onstage success. But student director Kuang Yu-Min (Leehom Wang) has a new play for the group, one with real consequences and more than just token applause. Yu-Min's cousin Tsao (Chin Kar-Lok) is an attendant to Mr. Yee, who's now residing in Hong Kong along with his wife, and Yu-Min theorizes that the group can utilize their talents - especially Wang Chia-Chih's - to set up a honey trap. Chia-Chih will befriend Mrs. Yee, insinuating herself into her inner circle, before luring Mr. Yee into an extramarital tryst and, if everything goes according to plan, setting up his assassination. Presto, the student patriots have now become resistance heroes.

Except they're just kids, and ones without the savvy and experience to carry out their mission. Eileen Chang's original short story only covers the students' backstory in a few paragraphs, but Ang Lee spends plenty of time with the fledging espionage agents in Hong Kong, fleshing out the situations and characters, and outlining the beginning of their operation and its emotional pitfalls and multiple missteps. Mr. Yee is much more cautious than the group expects, keeping his schedule and security nearly impenetrable, while the students have their own problems staying focused and patient. Through all this, Chia-Chih continues playing her role, while also making the necesssary sacrifices. When Yee starts to show interest in her, the group discusses what to do about Chia-Chih's virginity, letting the only experienced member, Liang (Ko Yue-Lin), deflower her and teach her the basics. The moment is key, because it starts Chia-Chih's quiet disenchantment with her comrades, and her disappointment in Yu-Min, who shares a mutual attraction with Chia-Chih, but lacks the courage or passion to act. Ultimately, the students' plan never reaches fruition, but they all pay a price - most especially Chia-Chih. When the operation resumes years later in Shanghai under the official eye of the Resistance, Chia-Chih is eager to return. But is it for the cause, or for Mr Yee's steely gaze?

Ang Lee's adaptation of Lust, Caution is much more romantic than Eileen Chang's original work. Both the film and short story focus on Wang Chia-Chih's turbulent emotions and conflicted personal perspective, but the short story also possesses moments where we see Mr. Yee's thoughts, presenting a cynical, cold, and chilling view of love as a tool to possess and even destroy another human being. Eileen Chang's Mr. Yee is balding and in his fifties, and he and Wang Chia-Chih's courtship is very much about the unspoken realities of their tryst - that is, the material ones - as it is about any notion of love. Ang Lee's Lust, Caution differs. First of all, Tony Leung Chiu-Wai is not in his fifties nor is he balding, and the materialism between the two seems to exist as an affirmation of their emotional connection. Lee gives the characters the opportunity to move from attraction to perhaps real affection. Their growing lust builds for over ninety minutes to the moment when they finally share their first intimate moment, a bedroom encounter that opens up the characters considerably. Before Mr. Yee and Wang Chia-Chih sleep together, he's a distant individual whose dapper appearance is as sinister as it is potentially charming, with a mask hiding his presumed evil.

The sex scenes in Lust, Caution change that about the characters, revealing anger and passion that is understandable, given the circumstances. Mr. Yee becomes a much more understood and even sympathetic figure, though his cruelty and essential evil are never truly in doubt. The film clouds his actions for the Japanese, never letting us see what his job requires him to do, but the violence and coldness he displays appear more inwardly-focused, revealing a possible self loathing. The film is never truly clear on whether or not Mr. Yee's changes indicate a growing trust or a possible self-abandon when in Chia-Chih's embrace. Is Mr. Yee suspicious of Chia-Chih, and yet allowing her access to end his life? Or is his trust genuine, and does he lower his defense out of affection? Ang Lee has been questioned about the necessity of the film's extreme love scenes, but the scenes' passion and anguish help the film considerably. In a sense, they are the film's action scenes, bringing conflicts to a head, while also revealing characters at their most naked - both figuratively and literally. The film essentially builds towards the love scenes, and while the prudish may find them a bit too much, they do propel the film's emotions towards their devastating end.

As Mr. Yee, Tony Leung Chiu-Wai brings his trademark smoldering charisma to the film, sometimes appearing to underplay his role as the villain. However, gone is the somewhat impish, self-conscious charm that usually reveals him to be a lovable rogue, replaced here with a cold intensity that speaks silent volumes about a man who's done terrible, terrible things. Leung is no stranger to tortured roles, but he seems to sublimate those emotions so much more in Lust, Caution, using his famously expressive eyes to do far more than most actors can do with whole pages of dialogue. Leung's final moments in the film are especially effective, his eyes revealing a quiet devastation that practically redeems the film's long, languid build-up. Before that there are many more scenes revealing his character, both incidentally and purposefully, and it's questionable if every single detail and moment needed to be told. However, in his final moments onscreen, a payoff does exist.

Nearly as impressive as Leung is newcomer Tang Wei, who gives Wang Chia-Chih complexity and depth, appearing both in control and sometimes desperately lost, all through action, expression, and double-edged dialogue. The role of Chia-Chih is one that could likely not have been performed by an actress other than an ingénue, as the baggage associated with the role would probably overshadow the performance of any known Chinese actress. Tang gets to inhabit this meaty role as Wang Chia-Chih and only Wang Chia-Chih, bringing no preconceived notions or persona to the screen other than that of the character she plays. Physically, she suits Eileen Chang's 1940s Shanghai very well, and is convincing when glamorized or de-glamorized through makeup and her period wardrobe. This is an impressive debut, considering the scale of the production and the demands of the role. It'll be curious to see where Tang Wei goes from here.

The other actors suffer by comparison to the leading pair, though the blame could fall on screentime and development as much as on actual performance. Joan Chen is barely used as Mrs. Yee, and Leehom Wang doesn't fully register as Yu-Min, a character who should be far more charismatic than the schoolboy he appears to be. The rest of the cast is fine, and Ang Lee displays his usual talent with wringing effective, low-key performances from his cast of performers, giving them personality without requiring that they take over the spotlight. Lee's power as a director is undeniably connected to his ability to establish and explore complex, extreme, and yet recognizable emotions, creating characters that don't feel like creations as much as human beings themselves. The film spends inordinate amounts of time with Wang Chia-Chih and Mr. Yee, but the time is well-spent, using interaction and dialogue to build a relationship and world that can seduce and mesmerize the viewer.

But the time spent may also be a bit too much for some viewers. At nearly two hours and forty minutes, and with few active events, Lust, Caution proves to be a long haul. While the film doesn't waste time like, say, the numbingly long Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End, one wonders if economy couldn't have been employed at some point. The film doesn't feature much in the way of repetition, but it moves very languidly, cutting very few corners and reveling in beautifully arranged settings, complete conversations and slow-burn, simmering suspense. Only once or twice does the tension get physically immediate; usually it's internal, and given the frequent elliptical and unrevealing dialogue (especially to those who won't get mahjong strategy or even the historical context), it's possible that some audience members will be checking their watch more than once or twice. Lust, Caution is a tough sell for mass audiences, and is most assuredly not for everyone because it uses an extravagant running time to tell as story that could justifiably been told in much less time.

Does that make Ang Lee's uncompromising vision a mistake? I don't believe so, as a filmmaker should be free to tell the story that he or she feels compelled to tell, and not be hamstrung by notions of varying audience taste or tolerance. Lee has clearly put a certain audience aside in order to tell the story that he wanted to, and it's not a crackling spy thriller or a suspenseful espionage epic, but a detailed drama about flawed characters and emotions hidden, discovered, and ultimately destroyed, in large part by the situations and historical events surrounding them. Lee has taken a 50-page short story and turned it into a full-blown 600-page novel, and despite that difference, few stretch marks really show. Lust, Caution will test the patience of some audiences, but it also will reward many with its exacting vision, finely-tuned performances and unspoken, sublime detail. After Brokeback Mountain, Ang Lee was probably free to do whatever he wished, and Lust, Caution is the result. This is carte blanche given to a filmmaker, and Ang Lee doesn't misuse or abuse it. He simply deserves it.

by Kozo - LoveHKFilm.com

Feature articles that mention "Lust, Caution (2007) (DVD) (Hong Kong Version)"

This original content has been created by or licensed to YesAsia.com, and cannot be copied or republished in any medium without the express written permission of YesAsia.com.

Customer Review of "Lust, Caution (2007) (DVD) (Hong Kong Version)"

Average Customer Rating for this Edition: Customer Review Rated Bad 5 - 5.9 out of 10 (9)
Average Customer Rating for All Editions of this Product: Customer Review Rated Bad 6 - 6.7 out of 10 (12)

Ben
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March 22, 2011

This customer review refers to Lust, Caution (2007) (Blu-ray) (English Subtitled) (Hong Kong Version)
Lust, Caution Customer Review Rated Bad 10 - 10 out of 10
This blu-ray has very excellent picture quality and sound, the movie itself is really good too. Outstanding actor and actress, worth a buy. Excellent product
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XN
See all my reviews


August 23, 2008

3 people found this review helpful

Great movie ever Customer Review Rated Bad 10 - 10 out of 10
Great Acting, touching story... uncomfortable but honest portrait of the human mind. There is no doctrine like normal Chinese movie. This is one of best Chinese movies I ever seen.
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Henry
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August 22, 2008

This customer review refers to Lust, Caution (Blu-ray) (English Subtitled) (Limited Edition) (Korea Version)
5 people found this review helpful

Lust Caution Customer Review Rated Bad 10 - 10 out of 10
Having read some of the reviews on here already I felt inclined to write my own. I found this film to be excellent all round. The plot is interesting and designed to almost make you feel uncomfortable in terms of trying to anticipate what's going to happen next. I don't mean this in the same sense as a horror movie keeps you on edge, but in terms of sympathy and empathy with the female lead and her situation.

As an audience member you feel that Wei Tang's character is swept along with the ideas of others, leading her in to awkward and dangerous situations: Some social, some violent, some sexual some being a combination of all three. However because, as an audience, you empahise with her you share appreciate the seriousness of these situations and as a result find it difficult to relax.

It's worth noting that the sex in this film is graphic, however it most definitely serves the narrative. Without giving to much away, when Wei Tang's character has sex subterfuge always has something to do with it (even if it does become clouded later in the film), and because of whom she is having sex with this sort of tense empathetic, foreboding notion of potential danger is shared with the audience. I really found it a unique experience as an audience member.

I know I haven't concentrated much on the basis of the narrative, where it's set etc, but I feel this has already been covered in many other reviews. What I wanted people to understand is that there's an underlying tense feeling throughout the film that actually contributes to it being a unique experience and in retrospect enjoyable experience. If you're against graphic sex then get the cut version of the film or give it a miss entirely, if you're like me and don't mind then just watch it for what it is; it actually has artistic value and serves the narrative extremely well.
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Best Review
Lee
See all my reviews


August 14, 2008

2 people found this review helpful

What were they thinking! Customer Review Rated Bad 0 - 0 out of 10
I saw this movie 6 months ago...I decided that I should wait awhile before I say something about this. However, my strong feelings have not subsided at all. This movie is bad. I don't symphasize with any of the characters in it and it is the worst movie that Ang Lee had ever directed. From now on, whenever I see Tony Leung, I won't be able to conceal my contempt of his chosing to be part of this porn disguised as art. REALLY BAD TASTE.
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Kevin Kennedy
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March 10, 2008

3 people found this review helpful

Moody occupation-era thriller Customer Review Rated Bad 8 - 8 out of 10
"Lust, Caution", set during Japan's occupation of China, tells of a long-running plot to assassinate a collaborationist government official. Newcomer Tang Wei plays Wang Jia Zi, a student in Hong Kong who, through her participation in a nationalistic student play, becomes friends with a group of university students who have concocted a scheme to kill the evil official. Their target is Yee (Tony Leung Chiu Wai), who becomes romantically interested in Wang Jia Zi. Just as the students believe they are ready to spring their trap to kill Yee, Yee is reassigned to a position in Shanghai.

Years later Wang Jia Zi also has moved to Shanghai to stay with an aunt; her father, who resides in London, cannot afford the cost of a ticket out of China for his daughter. Wang sees one of her old radical university friends and, in the blink of an eye, once again she becomes swept up in a plot to assassinate Yee. As a consequence of her friendship with Yee Tai Tai (Joan Chen Chung), Wang is asked to move into the Yee's home. There she renews her romance with Yee and the wheels are set in motion to bring the assassination plot to its culmination.

Some viewers have described the pace of the film as slow. It didn't strike me as unusually slow, but it takes quite a while for this intricate plot to play out in an unforced fashion. Indeed, the pace of the film drew me in and kept me in a state of eager anticipation.

The film looks great, with lavish sets and sumptuous period costuming. Leung Chiu Wai gives a mesmerising performance as the official who has been turned cold and cruel by his dishonorable career. However, Yee seems self-aware of how his collaboration with the enemy has cost him his humanity and he seeks to recover a piece of it through his relationship with Miss Wang. That relationship begins as a cold-hearted manipulation, but develops into real affection. Actress Tang Wei has the perfect look for a woman of this era; her performance is riveting. She is particularly good in a scene in which she describes the horrors of her relationship with Yee in great detail to her co-plotters, a degree of detail at which they recoil.

One cannot review this film without touching on the sex scenes, which are the most graphic of any I've seen since "In the Realm of the Senses". I understand why director Ang Lee chose to shoot them in this way; they do reveal something about these characters and their relationship. Nonetheless, I believe Ang Lee has made a mistake. Due to their graphic nature, they dominate the impression the film leaves with its viewers. In other words, the sex scenes are so lurid that they overwhelm the gripping tale of intrigue and the shattering human stories of Wang and Yee.

Flawed as it is, I recommend the intensely atmospheric "Lust, Caution" very highly for a mature audience. The performances by Leung Chiu Wai and Tang Wei simply are too good to miss. I also recommend the very similarly-themed "Purple Butterfly", starring Zhang Ziyi.
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