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Blood Brothers (2007) (DVD) (Japan Version) DVD Region 2

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Blood Brothers (2007) (DVD) (Japan Version)
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All Editions Rating: Customer Review Rated Bad 6 - 6 out of 10 (2)

Technical Information

Product Title: Blood Brothers (2007) (DVD) (Japan Version) 天堂口 (DVD) (日本版) 天堂口 (DVD) (日本版) ブラッド・ブラザーズ −天堂口− 〜天堂口〜 Blood Brothers (2007) (DVD) (Japan Version)
Director: アレクシ・タン
Release Date: 2009-04-03
Publisher Product Code: OPSD-S851
Language: Japanese, Mandarin
Subtitles: Japanese
Country of Origin: Hong Kong, Taiwan
Picture Format: NTSC What is it?
Disc Format(s): DVD
Region Code: 2 - Japan, Europe, South Africa, Greenland and the Middle East (including Egypt) What is it?
Publisher: SPO
Other Information: DVD
Shipment Unit: 1 What is it?
YesAsia Catalog No.: 1014335170

Product Information

タイトル:ブラッド・ブラザーズ −天堂口−

1930年代ーー古き良き“老上海(オールド・シャンハイ)”そこは、義兄弟の絆さえも欲望に変える“魔都”だった・・・。アジアに復帰したジョン・ウーが『レッドクリフ』撮影前にプロデュースしたのは、浪漫と動乱の時代を舞台にした本格アクション・ノワール映画。魔都・上海に吸い寄せられた男と女の哀しい欲望、そして数奇な運命を絢爛たるムードで描ききる。出演は、ダニエル・ウー(『香港国際警察 NEW POLICE STORY』)、スー・チー(『トランスポーター』)、チャン・チェン(『レッドクリフ』)、リウ・イエ(『王妃の紋章』)、トニー・ヤン(『僕の恋、彼の秘密』)。「これだけの顔ぶれが揃うのは本作が最後」と囁かれるほどのドリームチームが実現した。




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Professional Review of "Blood Brothers (2007) (DVD) (Japan Version)"

January 7, 2008

This professional review refers to Blood Brothers (2007) (DVD) (2-Disc Edition) (Hong Kong Version)
Blood Brothers marks the debut of Alexi Tan, and has drawn attention not only for its all star cast but for being heralded as a reworking of John Woo's classic Bullet in the Head with the legendary action director himself acting as co-producer. Managing to score a high profile spot as the closing film of the 2007 Venice Festival, the film was one of the year's biggest Chinese blockbuster releases, and perhaps as such it is unsurprising that its main selling point has been its high production values and glamorous recreation of 1930s Shanghai.

The film follows two brothers, Kang (Liu Ye, from the 2006 hit Curse of the Golden Flower) and Hu (Tony Yang, also in Ming Ming), and their best friend Fung (Daniel Wu, who recently impressed in Derek Yee's Protege), who leave the romantic and picturesque idyll of their small country town for the promise of making big money in Shanghai. Here, they soon start working for gang leader Boss Hung (played by Sun Honglei, Seven Swords) under the tutelage of top killer Mark (Chang Chen, Silk). Unfortunately, although all goes well at first, the cracks soon start to show, as Fung unwisely but inevitably starts making puppy eyes at Hung's moll, the nightclub singer Lulu (Confession of Pain star Shu Qi, seeming somewhat out of her depth with the role) and Kang becomes intoxicated with power and violence. Needless to say, the three are soon pointing guns at each other with tragedy looming large on the horizon.

The main strength of Blood Brothers is without a doubt its visuals, and on this score the film is a resounding success. Impeccably stylish and hard to fault as an exercise in old Shanghai glamour, the film has a gorgeous, luxurious, glossy sheen and it is obvious that great effort has been put in to recreate the period, or at least a vision of its imagined dreamy decadence. Tan's prior experience as a photographer certainly comes in handy, as every frame is meticulously composed, though without giving an impression of excess in the manner of Zhang Yimou, and the film is easily one of the best looking from China in recent years. Interestingly, by keeping a large part of each shot in darkness, director Tan gives the production an oddly theatrical air, a feeling echoed by his use of light and shadow to emphasise the shadiness of the criminal underworld, and in these respects, Blood Brothers recalls Sam Mendes's Road to Perdition far more than anything by John Woo.

Whether or not Blood Brothers is a remake of Woo's Bullet in the Head is largely irrelevant, as the plot itself is pure cliche and populated entirely by unlikeable vacuous genre stereotypes. Although the three male leads rise from being three lowly peasant boys to being top gangsters and bosses, there is nothing whatsoever in the way of character development, and none of them change significantly during the course of the drama - though this is arguably down to the fact that none of them actually have any identifiable characteristics to begin with. Whilst the protagonists in Woo's own films are undeniably drawn with broad, broad strokes, they have always had heart, something which has gone a long way to making the ensuing melodrama easier to swallow. Unfortunately, this is painfully lacking in Tan's film, and as a result it feels emotionally distant, especially since most of the eye candy cast obviously faced an uphill struggle from the very beginning thanks to some truly risible dialogue and unbelievable character motivations.

Whilst not exactly pretentious, the film is incredibly overblown and self important, an impression not helped by the grandiose soundtrack which has a tendency to soar and swell at decidedly inappropriate moments. Thanks to this, the drama never quite convinces, and the viewer is nagged throughout by a suspicion that the film may in fact be some kind of spoof despite its determined poker face. Of course, this in itself is quite entertaining, though obviously not in the way intended - but since when has that mattered?

In lieu of proper characters, Tan complements the visuals with plenty of bloody action and violence, and the film is surprisingly brutal in places. Whilst this is no real replacement for the human factor, it does help to keep things entertaining and exciting, if not particularly engaging. Also in its favour is the fact that it is relatively short and moves along at a brisk pace, with Tan managing to avoid too much wallowing and thankfully eschewing Woo's preponderance for slow motion and doves.

At the end of the day, film is a visual medium, and Blood Brothers certainly offers a feast for the eyes, with pretty much every frame screaming "look at me". As such, whilst it is a shame that not as much effort went into providing it with substance as with style, it still manages to impress on several levels, and stands as one of the more entertaining of the recent big budget blockbusters of Chinese cinema which should be enjoyed by all viewers willing to switch off their brains for an hour and a half.

by James Mudge -

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Customer Review of "Blood Brothers (2007) (DVD) (Japan Version)"

Average Customer Rating for All Editions of this Product: Customer Review Rated Bad 6 - 6 out of 10 (2)

See all my reviews

May 14, 2010

This customer review refers to Blood Brothers (2007) (DVD) (2-Disc Edition) (Hong Kong Version)
A average ganster drama Customer Review Rated Bad 4 - 4 out of 10
Blood Brothers (in my opinion) is a average film.It will make fans want to see it because oviously it was produced by John Woo.But to be honest Blood Brothers is not a fantastic film.The film does have good performances,high production values,some good action scenes and glamorous recreation of 1930s.But saying that I thought the story was little bit weak and pacing of the film was not right.

With the second disc I was little bit fustrated with the extras.There was no english subtitles on John Woo interview and most of the extras just was boring.

An average viewing.
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Kevin Kennedy
See all my reviews

December 11, 2007

This customer review refers to Blood Brothers (2007) (DVD) (2-Disc Edition) (Hong Kong Version)
2 people found this review helpful

Memorable gangster drama Customer Review Rated Bad 8 - 8 out of 10
"Blood Brothers" tells an effective, engrossing tale of the dehumanizing effects of life in Shanghai's underworld in the glamorous and decadent 1930s. Brothers Kang (Liu Ye) and Hu (Tony Yang), together with bosom friend Fung (Daniel Wu), decide to leave their small town behind to make their fortunes in Shanghai. Hu and Fung end up pulling rickshaws, while Kang waits tables in the nightclub of underworld honcho Boss Hong (Sun Honglei).

Hong notes Kang's ambition, so he enlists him to steal weapons from a rival gang. Kang, Hu, and Fung undertake the theft, but it goes awry, with Fung forced to gun down several of the rival mobsters. Like it or not, the small town boys now have cast their lot with Boss Hong.

The movie really gains momentum as we see Kang's rise within the gang, Fung's qualms about the blood on his hands, and Fung's growing feelings for Lulu (Shu Qi), Boss Hong's girlfriend. Liu Ye gives a magnetic performance as the ferocious embodiment of raw, ruthless ambition. Shu Qi is equally remarkable in her complex, subtle depiction of the world-weary girl torn between her dreams of stardom and her feelings for her suitors.

Eventually the conflicting ambitions of the central characters generate a series of bloody shoot-outs, culminating in a final vengeful hale of gunfire that resembles nothing so much as the most violent moments of executive producer John Woo's "Hard Boiled".

The film looks great, featuring lavish sets, sumptuous costuming, and atmospheric cinematography. The story will keep you glued to your seat, as you root for the better natures of Fung, Hu, and Lulu to rescue them from their dire circumstances. My only quibble with the film is first-time director Alexi Tan's heavy-handedness with the climactic moments; he needs to learn to trust his audience more. "Blood Brothers" provides a moody thriller that I recommend highly.
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