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Assembly (Blu-ray) (Hong Kong Version) Blu-ray Region All

Hu Jun (Actor) | Zhang Han Yu (Actor) | Ren Quan | Wang Bao Qiang
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Assembly (Blu-ray) (Hong Kong Version)
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All Editions Rating: Customer Review Rated Bad 7 - 7 out of 10 (2)

YesAsia Editorial Description

China's foremost commercial filmmaker Feng Xiaogang lives up to his name with the blockbuster war film Assembly. Pulling in over 23 millian yuan at the domestic box office, Assembly outgunned even The Warlords which was screening concurrently. After years of satirical comedies, Feng's films have gotten progressively bigger in recent years, starting with 2004's A World Without Thieves to 2006's star-studded period piece The Banquet. Based on a novel by Yang Jinyuan, Assembly continues this trend in scale and production, but where The Banquet is glossy, Assembly is gritty, pulling in audiences not with star power, but the magnitude of the war experience. Assembly's realistic battle scenes and brilliant camerawork have earned the film comparisons to Saving Private Ryan, but equally powerful is the human drama that follows the war.

Assembly opens on the battlefield in 1948 during China's Civil War. The Ninth Company of the People's Liberation Army led by brash Captain Gu Zidi (Zhang Hanyu) are sent out to defend a mine from the advancing Kuomintang troops. Given an essentially impossible task, the vastly outnumbered Ninth Company are ordered to hold their positions until they hear the bugle assembly call. But that call never comes, or at least not to the injured ears of Gu, as casualties pile and hope runs dry. Of the 48 members of the Ninth Company, Gu alone survives the devastating defeat, only to find that he has become a forgotten man, written off as missing in action, just like his fallen comrades. Drifting from regiment to regiment, war to war, Gu struggles to keep alive the legacy of the Ninth Company.

Zhang Hanyu from A World Without Thieves gives a commanding performance as a military man whose battle scars follow him on his long, restless search for honor and closure. The faces who make up the Ninth Company include popular Mainland stars Deng Chao and Ren Quan, Blind Shaft lead Wang Baoqiang, and television actor Yuan Wenkang, who gives a notable performance as a timid political officer thrown into war. Acclaimed actor Hu Jun (Lan Yu, Infernal Affairs II) also makes a cameo appearance in Assembly.

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Technical Information

Product Title: Assembly (Blu-ray) (Hong Kong Version) 集結號 (Blu-ray) (香港版) 集结号 (Blu-ray) (香港版) 戦場のレクイエム (集結號) (Blu-ray) (香港版) Assembly (Blu-ray) (Hong Kong Version)
Artist Name(s): Hu Jun (Actor) | Zhang Han Yu (Actor) | Ren Quan | Wang Bao Qiang | Deng Chao | Yuan Wen Kang 胡軍 (Actor) | 張涵予 (Actor) | 任泉 | 王寶強 | 鄧超 | 袁文康 胡军 (Actor) | 张涵予 (Actor) | 任泉 | 王宝强 | 邓超 | 袁文康 胡軍(フー・ジュン) (Actor) | 張涵予 (チャン・ハンユー) (Actor) | 任泉 (レン・チュアン) | 王宝強 (ワン・バオチャン) | 鄧超 (タン・チャオ)   | ユエン・ウェンカン 후 준 (Actor) | Zhang Han Yu (Actor) | Ren Quan | 왕보강 | Deng Chao | Yuan Wen Kang
Director: Feng Xiao Gang 馮小剛 冯小刚 馮小剛(フォン・シャオガン) Feng Xiao Gang
Blu-ray Region Code: All Region What is it?
Release Date: 2008-06-16
Language: Cantonese, Mandarin
Subtitles: English, Traditional Chinese, Simplified Chinese
Place of Origin: China
Aspect Ratio: 1.78 : 1, 2.35 : 1
Sound Information: DTS Digital Surround
Disc Format(s): Blu-ray
Rating: IIB
Duration: 124 (mins)
Publisher: Intercontinental Video (HK)
Package Weight: 120 (g)
Shipment Unit: 1 What is it?
YesAsia Catalog No.: 1011081008

Product Information

* Screen Format: 2.35:1, 16:9 Widescreen
* Sound Mix:
- Mandarin: DTS-HD MA 6.1
- Mandarin: Dolby Digital EX 5.1
- Cantonese: Dolby Digital EX 5.1
* Video: 1920 X 1080p Full HD
* Special Features:
1.Trailer 預告 
2. B-Rolls 幕後花絮

導演︰馮小剛
Director: Feng Xiao Gang

一項阻擊戰任務,團長劉澤水向連長谷子地下令,以吹起集結號作為撤退的號令;只要集結號不吹,全隊必須堅持到最後一刻!47名戰士奮勇廝殺,終究火力懸殊寡不敵眾。其中一名戰士在陣亡前,聲稱聽到了集結號響起,建議谷子地與其他隊友撤退;但隊中各人意見分歧,最後堅持力戰到底。谷子地親眼看著戰友們一個個死去卻無能為力,令他懷疑是否自己忽略了號聲,才導致全隊陣亡!從此,他生存的唯一動力只是為死去的戰友找回應有的榮譽,到底他可否令烈士們的遺體和尊嚴得到應有的歸宿?

War feasts upon death. its greedy appetite carries away many a life on the battlefield, and soldiers must be ready to die any time. Yet all these sacrifices can be given meaning and reason with honor. A weathered witness of war's insatiable appetite, Guzidi, captain of the Ninth Company, will struggle his entire life to return honor to his 46 men and their self-sacrifice.

1948 witnessed the launching of the Huaihai Campaign during the Chinese Civil War. In one of Chinese history's deadliest battles, thousands from the People's Liberation Army and the KMT Army fell in the battle that took place between Xuzhou and Bengdu.

It was amid this bloody fight that Captain Guzidi led the Ninth Company infantry unit on a sniper mission. His orders were to fight the KMT Army until the retreat assembly call was sounded. Yet, after many long hours of painstaking resistance, Guzidi watched powerless as the ammunition ran out and the scant ranks of the Ninth Company grew sparser still. The men were falling one by one.

On the brink of death, Lieutenant Jiao Dapeng, Guzidi's best partner, announced that he heard the call and asked Guzidi to retreat with the remaining soldiers. The dying man's words spread doubt within the remainder of the company, but Guzidi insisted that the bugle had not sounded and that they were to continue fighting at all costs.

Not until later did Guzidi realize that all the neighboring troops had already left the field, and that his entire company had maybe died in vain because of his stubborn obedience. Blinded by anger and guilt, Guzidi marched stralght into the enemy's trench. But his life was spared, and he had no choice but to shoulder the gargantuan weight of guilt and mystery that would burden the remainder of his life.

A few days later, Guzidi woke up in a hospital. While among the KMT ranks, he had been wounded and captured by the PLA. He had lost his identity, and quickly tearnt that without a survivor to vouch for them, the 46 men who had bravely sacrificed their lives under him had simpy... gone missing. Guzidi joined the infantry of the Liberation Army and painstakingly climbed up the lower rungs of the military ladder. Determined to prove the glorious death of his 46 men, Guzidi embarked on a journey in search of those who held the key to the mystery of the bugle call.

Guzidi was not alone in his cursed adventure. Sun Guiqin, the wife of Guzidi's fellow soldier Wang Jincun, believed in the death of her husband only upon hearing it from Guzidi. The two of them set out together on their quest for honor.

Finally, after fighting through a myriad of perils and lost ways, Guzidi returned to the old coal mine where the deadly battle took place. He was still alone in believing what happened here. After Silently staring at the huge mine where his men shed their blood, Guzidi began hungrily digging, knowing that the bodies of his 46 honorable men still lay underneath.....
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Awards

This film has won 1 award(s) and received 9 award nomination(s). All Award-Winning Asian Films

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YumCha! Asian Entertainment Reviews and Features

Professional Review of "Assembly (Blu-ray) (Hong Kong Version)"

May 8, 2008

This professional review refers to Assembly (DVD) (Hong Kong Version)
Steven Spielberg needn't look in his rearview mirror, but he may want to sit up and give a nod. Feng Xiaogang's The Assembly has been touted as China's answer to Spielberg's Oscar-winning Saving Private Ryan, with the most obvious comparison being the film's battle sequences, which bring visceral action and immediate drama to various 20th-century conflicts in which the Chinese army participated. The film opens during the Chinese Civil War in 1948, during a battle between the Communist People's Liberation Army and the Nationalist Kuomintang (KMT) forces, where Captain Gu Zidi (Zhang Hanyu) leads the Ninth Company (of the 139th Regiment, 3rd Battalion) to victory - but at a cost. The group's Political Officer (who handles letter writing and admin work for the company, i.e. he's able to read and write) is killed by artillery fire, and in a rash move, Gu kills his KMT prisoners after they've already surrendered.

His judgement questioned, Gu is censured and temporarily imprisoned, then reassigned to the frontlines by a superior officer (Hu Jun, probably the only actor in the film known to western audiences), where he and the Ninth Company are supposed to defend a mineral mine from the encroaching KMT Army, who approach with all manner of heavy metal, including artillery units and even tanks. The Ninth Company is ill-equipped to defend against the KMT army, and begin to suffer heavy losses, leading to in-fighting over whether they should fulfill their duty or simply retreat. The Company is supposed to retreat when they hear the bugle assembly call, but enemy shelling has impaired Gu's hearing, and he's unable to verify the truth when the soldiers argue over whether or not the assembly call actually occurred. Some claim it did, some claim it didn't, and without confirmation, Gu keeps them on their mission, as their chances for victory inevitably swing from unrealistic optimism to sure-fire decimation. The soldiers trudge on, fighting to the last while the hope of the assembly call all but disappears.

The battle sequences in The Assembly are cinematically riveting, and garner most of the attention during the film's first half. Told with grey-green hued cinematography, copious shaky cam, tons of flying mud and dirt, and mostly implied or innocuous gore, the sequences are technically accomplished in all their kinetic, dirty, helter-skelter glory. Feng Xiaogang makes the scenes exciting if not entirely coherent, and does bring an immediate power and excitement to the screen. What he fails to do, however, is up the emotional content, as the soldiers - save Gu Zidi and new Political Officer Wang Jingcun (Yuan Wenkang) - don't really register beyond basic types, and prove largely faceless and interchangeable. There's drama in their David vs. Goliath struggle, but most of it is simply based on loaded situations, e.g. a couple of guys facing obvious death by taking on a tank all by themselves. It's exciting, well-executed stuff, but the characters weren't so defined before their sacrifice that their deaths really mean all that much afterwards. Technically, the battle sequences are a laudable achievement, but on a human level, they're just run-of-the-mill.

That's the first half of the film, however, and though the second half never gets less generic, it does manage to create a stronger connection to its characters. Once the big-budget battle sequences fade, the film moves to the heart of its story: Gu Zidi's post-Civil War years, as he wanders China as a nearly deaf veteran. Gu first enlists in the Korean War, before attempting a post-war life, where he must sometimes prove his identity and rank to bean counters and records keepers who've since lost track that he and the Ninth Company ever existed. This is particularly frustrating for Gu because no record of the Ninth Company means no record of their sacrifice, leading to numerous scenes of Gu Zidi railing at those who've forgotten the nation's soldiers, and the sacrifice they made to ensure freedom, er, the continued power of the State. Suddenly it seems like Assembly will become one of those "war sucks" films that decry war as dehumanizing to the many sons who gave their lives in battle. You know the drill: the boys march off and die, while the government counts the bodies and acts all bureaucratic, reducing human lives to statistics and cannon fodder. It's one of the primary thematic subgenres of war film, and for a while, it seems like Feng Xiaogang may be slowly moving towards such a political message.

But hey, this is a Chinese film produced specifically for Mainland audiences. Which means this: a film cannot be critical of the government or its flag-waving past unless the filmmaker wants to be banned from the industry and the film relegated to some dusty warehouse like the Ark of the Covenant in those Indiana Jones movies. Feng Xiaogang is a smart, capable filmmaker, but he's also a very commercial one, having delivered many films that tickled Mainland audiences to the tune of mucho box office receipts. Feng is not going to risk his film's release on a movie that's critical - even slightly - of the Chinese government. Ergo, the drama becomes very predictable very soon. There's no suspense in what will happen because once the conflict is defined, any educated audience member will know how it pans out. Basically, serving in the People's Army will be portrayed as a decent cause, and the government will eventually take care of its people. Gu Zidi will be honored, his brothers honored, and heroism and righteousness given its absolute, flag-waving due. Now should be the time to ask: where can I enlist?

With the film's narrative drama largely tabled, Assembly falls a bit short, ultimately becoming a respectable and involving, but not truly great war film. Feng elicits appropriate, effective performances from his cast of unknowns, with Zhang Hanyu leading the way as the strong and resolute Gu Zidi. Many of the characters in the second half of the film feel both identifiable and authentic, and Feng refreshingly chooses to make the film largely non-political. Feng may take it easy on the Chinese government, but he also chooses to not indict the Nationalist KMT, the South or North Koreans, or even the Americans - though the latter don't come off looking that great either. In one scene, the US Army happens across an individual who has stepped on a landmine, and basically run away, saying, "Wow, that sucks for you!" The portrayal isn't truly negative, but it's not a sympathetic one, either. It seems that in today's shifting global media market, laughing at the Americans is still the best way to insure universal satisfaction.

In Assembly, war is never really portrayed as a "cause". The human element is the main focus here, and the sacrifices made by soldiers are to be honored because they're people, and not members of one side or the other. Feng Xiaogang's smarts extend beyond his ability to put together competent, international-quality cinema; he knows how to make his films appeal to as wide an audience as possible. In his earlier, more China-centric hits, that audience was more Mainland Chinese, but with The Assembly, he seems to be reaching further. The trade-off is that the emotions are safe, and no message exists that raises Assembly to the Saving Private Ryan level of intense human drama. Assembly is dramatically sound and possesses appropriate emotions, but there's nothing that complex or challenging going on here. As such, Feng Xiaogang likely achieved his goal: he made a solid commercial film that's easy to like and respect. The Assembly affects on a basic, unchallenging level, meaning that it may appeal to nearly anyone, anywhere. The film might have been more powerful had Feng Xiaogang chosen a side, but not getting banned and being able to work on future projects is probably desirable to Feng. Assuming that, it's best that Feng Xiaogang chose no side at all. Besides, now the Taiwanese, Koreans, and Americans might be able to enjoy The Assembly too. Everybody wins.

by Kozo - LoveHKFilm.com

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 "Assembly (Blu-ray) (Hong Kong Version)"

Average Customer Rating for All Editions of this Product: Customer Review Rated Bad 7 - 7 out of 10 (2)

Kaare
See all my reviews


June 3, 2008

This customer review refers to Assembly (DVD) (Hong Kong Version)
One of the best war-movies Customer Review Rated Bad 10 - 10 out of 10
Just finished watching it, and I have to say it's one of the best war movies i've seen. With war movie i mean WWI and WWII, and I guess this is close enough to be called a WWII movie since it takes place just a few years later and they use pretty much the same weapons.

Anyway, back to the point, it's great to see more and more war movies coming from Asia. This one had plenty of action, and some of the best battle-scenes i've seen. Where the japanese war movies like Yamato and For Those we Love focuses WAY too much on the storytelling, which makes them ultra-slow, this one was much more fast-paced. Let's hope the next japanese WW II movie is a bit more like this.

I personally liked that all the action happened at first, and not at the end. That made u pay attention immediately, and not doze off or lose the thread early on which u often do when there's no action. But by the time it slowed down in this movie, u knew the characters, and it felt alot more interesting to see what happened with Gu and the rest.

Top-notch movie, and probably the best mainland-china movie i've seen!
Did you find this review helpful? Yes (Report This)
MDIFILM
See all my reviews


April 8, 2008

This customer review refers to Assembly (DVD) (Hong Kong Version)
a bit disjointed Customer Review Rated Bad 4 - 4 out of 10
the movie isn't bad but there are a few times, you hardly feel compassion for the characters, as they get killed in battle, you see everyone's emotion but you just couldn't relate to it as their 'relationship' weren't established enough.
Did you find this review helpful? Yes (Report This)

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