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Isabella (2006) (Blu-ray) (Hong Kong Version) Blu-ray Region All

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All Editions Rating: Customer Review Rated Bad 7 - 7.7 out of 10 (6)

YesAsia Editorial Description

Edmond Pang Ho Cheung is one of the new generation of directors emerging in Hong Kong, renowned for his witty and entertaining works which all met with critical acclaim. His Isabella entered the 56th Berlin International Film Festival as the only Chinese-language film. Thanks to Peter Kam's music which enriches the film's nostalgic and exotic mood, Isabella successfully captured the Silver Berlin Bear for the Best Film Music in February, 2006. Stylized camera angles and sentimental music in Isabella remind of Wong Kar Wai's movies, but like other Pang Ho Cheung movies, Isabella also offers an end twist and a subtle connection to larger social or historical issues.

Chapman To (Initial D) and Isabella Leong (Bug Me Not) play father and daughter in the film, and they deliver an ambiguous and sophisticated relationship that is most intriguing. The story is set in Macau on the eve of a new era as the territory prepares for handover back to China. Policeman Shing (Chapman To) also turns a new page in life when he meets the 17-year-old girl Yan (Isabella Leong), who claims to be his daughter.

To Shing, starting anew in the present is a confession of the past. He tries to redeem his sins against Yan's deceased mother (JJ Jia) through Yan, whereas Yan attempts to relive her mother's life vicariously through a new connection with her long-lost father. The dilemma between past and present subtly echoes with other elements in Isabella. While Macau is looking forward to start anew after a century of Portuguese colonization, viewers will find in Isabella a labyrinth-like Macau that resembles a southern Europe town, abundant in her former sovereign Portugal.

The movie guest-stars multiple award-winning actor Anthony Wong Chau Sang and Steven Cheung from Boy'z, and co-stars new Mainland actress JJ Jia and Derek Tsang, famous actor Eric Tsang's son who co-writes Isabella with Pang. Isabella is also a breakthrough for Chapman To as it marks his first leading man role, as well as his first project as a producer, with the new company he co-founded with Pang.

This edition comes with audio commentary, Isabella Leong interview, deleted scenes, making of, and trailer.

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Technical Information

Product Title: Isabella (2006) (Blu-ray) (Hong Kong Version) 伊莎貝拉 (2006) (Blu-ray) (香港版) 伊莎贝拉 (2006) (Blu-ray) (香港版) イザベラ (伊莎貝拉) (Blu-ray) (香港版) Isabella (2006) (Blu-ray) (Hong Kong Version)
Artist Name(s): Chapman To (Actor) | Isabella Leong (Actor) | Man Lim Chung | Anthony Wong | Derek Tsang | JJ Jia | Peter Kam 杜汶澤 (Actor) | 梁洛施 (Actor) | 文念中 | 黃 秋生 | 曾國祥 | 賈曉晨 | 金培達 杜汶泽 (Actor) | 梁洛施 (Actor) | 文念中 | 黄 秋生 | 曾国祥 | 贾晓晨 | 金培达 杜汶澤 (チャップマン・トー) (Actor) | 梁洛施(イザベラ・リョン) (Actor) | 文念中(マンリム・チャン) | 黄秋生 (アンソニー・ウォン) | 曾國祥(デレク・ツァン) | 賈曉晨 (ジャー・シャオチェン) | 金培達(ピーター・カム) Chapman To (Actor) | Isabella Leong (Actor) | Man Lim Chung | Anthony Wong | Derek Tsang | JJ Jia | Peter Kam
Director: Pang Ho Cheung 彭 浩翔 彭 浩翔 彭浩翔(パン・ホーチョン) Pang Ho Cheung
Blu-ray Region Code: All Region What is it?
Release Date: 2009-06-09
Language: Cantonese, Mandarin
Subtitles: English, Traditional Chinese, Simplified Chinese
Place of Origin: Hong Kong
Picture Format: [HD] High Definition What is it?
Aspect Ratio: 2.35 : 1
Sound Information: Dolby Digital 5.1, 7.1, Dolby TrueHD
Disc Format(s): Blu-ray
Screen Resolution: 1080p (1920 x 1080 progressive scan)
Rating: IIB
Duration: 109 (mins)
Publisher: Intercontinental Video (HK)
Package Weight: 120 (g)
Shipment Unit: 1 What is it?
YesAsia Catalog No.: 1020329550

Product Information

■ 1920 x 1080p FULL HD 全高清畫面
■ 16:9 WIDESCREEN 2.35:1
■ 粵語杜比 True HD 7.1完美音效、
粵語Dolby Digital 5.1、
國語 Dolby Digital 5.1
■ 繁體、簡體中文、英文字幕選擇
■ 特別收錄;
電影預告、製作特輯
刪剪片段、梁洛施訪問特輯

語音旁述 Audio Commentary
1.監製及演員杜汶澤與女主角梁洛施語音旁述
2.導演彭浩翔與原創音樂金培達語音旁述
3.攝影指導林志堅與編劇曾國祥、尹志文及彭
秀慧語音旁述

** Awards **
- 第56屆柏林國際電影節 最佳電影音樂銀熊獎
- 第30屆香港國際電影節開幕電影

導演 : 彭浩翔
Director : Pang Ho Cheung

  1999年,澳門回歸中國四十八天前。

  澳門司警馬振成 (杜汶澤 飾) 因惹上官非遭上司停職,警察生涯即將終結。他鬱鬱不歡之際,卻誤打誤撞遇上一名神秘少女張碧欣 (梁洛施 飾)。成以為曾與對方有過一夜情,豈料欣竟聲稱是成與初戀情人分手後誕下的女兒,令成錯愕不已!

  欣因欠租數月以致無家可歸,其心愛的西施狗Isabella亦被無良業主趕走,下落不明。成突然發現自己身為父親,希望能彌補以往的責任,因此這對重逢的父女展開了一段尋犬奇遇。欣其後堅決要與成同住,一向作風放任的成生活頓起變化。欣與成之女友瓊 (焯勻 飾) 一碰面便水火不容,而成亦要應付暗戀欣的男同學輝 (曾國祥 飾),引發連番趣事,亦令兩個互不相識的人重拾家庭溫暖。

  成為了自保,企圖以身犯險令自己得以脫罪。成之好友杜Sir (黃秋生 飾) 亦屢勸無效。但此時,成卻突然發現欣的真正身份……兩父女努力建立的家庭生活,即將面臨瓦解……

  On the eve of Macau's handover to China, police officer SHING (Chapman To) is having the worst time of his life. Suspended for suspected corruption, he tries to find solace with an elfin creature by the name of YAN (Isabella Leong) whom he just picks up. As he tries to smooth-talk her to bed, she suddenly snaps back with the biggest turn-off imaginable: that she is the daughter he never knew existed!

  While Shing desperately tries to hold himself together, his bachelor life inevitably falls apart as Yan insists on living under his roof. Together the two of them start roaming through exotic Macau, tracking down Yan's missing puppy and striving to acquaint with each other. No sooner has Shing grown into his new role as a father than he finds his hands full: when Yan is not fighting with his girlfriend KATE (Meme Tian), she is being bothered by her dorky classmate FAI (Derek Tsang).

  Will the newfound father and daughter, who have given up hope along the way, be able to find the true vocation of their lives at last?
Additional Information may be provided by the manufacturer, supplier, or a third party, and may be in its original language

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YumCha! Asian Entertainment Reviews and Features

Professional Review of "Isabella (2006) (Blu-ray) (Hong Kong Version)"

June 7, 2006

This professional review refers to Isabella (2-DVD DTS Version+Poster) (Hong Kong Version)
Director of last year's funny sex-comedy AV, Hong Kong director Pang Ho Cheung again shows his diversity and manages to find an unusual perspective on standard genre material in his latest film Isabella, the official Hong Kong entry at the 56th Berlin Film Festival in 2006. Using the setting of Macau in 1999, the director sets the story of a corrupt police officer and his reluctant relationship with a young schoolgirl who claims to be his daughter alongside the government's attempt to bring down the organized crime that is rife in the port. If the two elements of the plot don't always blend easily, they are at least mirrored in the unusually lush cinematography and sweeping music score.

Inspector Ma Chen Shing (Chapman To), or Shing as he is known, is a Macau policeman whose methods are a bit unorthodox - usually involving beer bottles and criminal's heads - but he gets results. His manner with women seems to be similarly efficacious - screw them, pay them and get rid of them. However he has trouble with one girl who won't just disappear the next morning. Not only does she follow him around all the next day, but she also seems to have picked up something from his interrogation methods. The girl is Yan (Isabella Leong) and she says that she is his daughter, the product of a brief liaison Shing had many years ago - a child he thought, in his usual offhand manner, had been disposed of before birth. Her mother has died recently, and she is in trouble, needing a large sum of money. So true to form, Shing pays her the money she needs to make her disappear again. However, things are not that simple.

The money is needed to pay her landlord and get back the dog he is keeping locked in her room until she pays her back rent. Shing therefore has to use his influence, or at least his heavy-handed techniques to get the dog, who is called Isabella, back for her. Isabella was Yan's mother's name, and in making such an effort on her behalf, Shing is of course showing a weakening in his position. Yes, it's as blatant and as predictable as it sounds. Yan and her mother are thus identified with the position of a dog that has been thrown out on the street, pricking Shing's conscience about his behavior. Without a place to stay, Yan moves in with Shing and they have to find a way of getting on together - something that is not easy considering Yan is a teenage schoolgirl and Shing is a lecher who has a steady flow of women visiting the house. Inevitably however and despite their differences a bond develops between the guy who has suddenly discovered he is a father and the daughter he never wanted. Yan tries to subtly get rid of his women, but takes up drinking and gambling and practices her bottle swinging action. Real family bonding stuff - it will surely bring a tear to your eye.

In between, screen titles mark out the passing of time with dates and facts about an increasingly volatile situation with the Triads, as the Portuguese colony of Macau is about to be handed over at the turn of the millennium to China. All the trouble happens off screen, but it becomes evident that the authorities are trying to clean the place up and Shing's background means that he can be implicated in some dubious dealings. Of course with Yan now staying with him, the daughter he has just discovered could also be at risk.

This is a fairly predictable storyline, and it was already fairly creaky when Luc Besson trotted out a similar situation in Léon: The Professional - a film I absolutely despise for its lazy characterization, false manipulation, genre clichés and rather dubious sexual undertones. This doesn't make me at all sympathetic when seeing it done third-hand, the surrogate father-figure even sleeping with his teenage schoolgirl "daughter" in this case. More agonizing however is watching Yan even do a little singing piece while Shing looks on bemused. It all feels utterly fake and contrived. John Woo in his Hong Kong movies heyday could make much more of such a cliched genre scenario, imbuing it with style and the charisma of his actors. There is no such compensation here, the whole thing filmed in the framing, style and coloring of Christopher Doyle's cinematography for Wong Kar Wai, without it being as imaginative, meaningful or appropriate. Rather than see a lonely lover standing at the end of an immaculately lit alleyway, you are more likely to see someone getting a bottle smashed over their head - a Carlsberg bottle at that, such is the level of product placement. The music score is also reminiscent of Wong's scores, and like the cinematography is a little overegged, failing to match the tone of the film, using Portuguese influenced plucking guitar strings, plaintive violins and tinkling piano which sits uneasily with these harder-edged characters.

To compensate however, we have a lovely cameo from Anthony Wong as Shing's boss, who pops up now and again, mumbling and arguing semi-coherently with himself, to warn Shing of the deteriorating situation as he extols the qualities of his food. The cinematography may be unoriginal and inappropriate to the tone of the film, but Macau is still beautifully photographed throughout in beautiful washes of a bold gold and green color scheme. Also to the film's credit, it does tend to slip away from the predictable direction it seems to be going in and even disregards the Chekhov dictum about a gun being introduced in the first act. But you could also see this as just further evidence of the film just running out of steam and losing direction.

DVD
Isabella is released in Hong Kong by Media Asia/Mega Star as a 2-disc set. The DVD is not region encoded and is in NTSC format.

A/V
One of the better Hong Kong DVD companies, or at least one that has consistently improved the quality of its releases, Media Asia/Mega Star transfer and presentation of Isabella is impressive. With beautiful cinematography and striking use of color, with frequent use of darkened interiors, a sympathetic transfer is required here and that is what we get. The image is not overly sharp or bright, but the level of softness seems right and there is good detail and fine gradation in the rich colors. Shadow detail is not quite perfect, but blacks are deep and solid. There are very few marks on the print and those that do crop up from time to time are barely perceptible. Stability is good, with only an occasional judder or lack of smoothness in movements. These minor issues are far too rare to have any significant impact on the quality of the image.

The DTS track has a slight edge over the Dolby Digital 5.1 mix, with superb clarity, a pleasant tone and effective use of surrounds. Occasionally dialogue sounds a little bit harsh, with background hiss or a low level of high-pitched whistle. This would seem to be inherent in the source recording of the dialogue, and not something that can be easily dampened. In fact, the higher quality DTS sound mix only makes it more pronounced. It is not frequent or loud enough however to be a serious problem.

Subtitles
English subtitles are provided and are optional in a white font. The grammar and spelling are correct almost throughout. I only noticed one error in the use of "passed" instead of "past" - as in "he walked passed" - but elsewhere this is a good translation.

Extras
Mega Star's 2-disc edition of Isabella is packed with extra features, but none of them are subtitled in English. There are no less than 3 commentary tracks on Disc 1. It seems excessive and I can't imagine what they all find to talk about in a film like this. Disc 2 contains a standard EPK Making Of (14:09), made up principally of clips from the film, with the usual interview snippets and behind-the-scenes footage, with emphasis on fooling around on the set. There are three Deleted Scenes (4:45), footage of the film's presentation at the 2006 Berlin Film Festival in Berlin Tour (4:18), where the film won the award for Best Score. There's an extended version of the Isabella Leong Interview (13:15) used in the Making Of, the actress getting quite emotional at the end. The Music Video makes use of the ballad 'Ó Gente da Minha Terra' sung by Mariza, but again I fail to see any compatibility between music and imagery. It's used again in the Trailer (2:43), which has dual Chinese and English subtitles. There are also a 15-second and a 30-second TV Spot, a Photo Gallery of twenty gorgeous stills, ten images of Poster & Promotion Materials, which plainly imitate the poster campaign for In The Mood For Love. The bilingual English and Chinese Cast & Filmmaker Profiles includes a synopsis that explains much of what the film fails to convey about Shing's status (I hadn't realized he was suspended for example). There is also information about Macau, statements from the director and producer, cast and crew details and information about the Portuguese fado music used in the film. The text information in this section is all very useful.

Overall
It's possible that viewers more favorably inclined towards Luc Besson's Léon: The Professional than myself might find something more appealing in the storyline of Isabella, particularly as it is attractively photographed in a Wong Kar Wai/Christopher Doyle style to evoke a particular mood. Personally, I found it all too predictable and too long, the cinematography and score inappropriate for the subject matter, failing to let me really engage with the characters. Mega Star's 2-disc edition is however a good way to view the film with an impressive transfer. Without English subtitles however, the abundance of extra features are of limited value.

by Noel Megahey - DVD Times

May 4, 2006

This professional review refers to Isabella (DVD) (Hong Kong Version)
Macau, 1999. It's the summer before Macau returns to Chinese control after centuries of Portuguese rule and Shing's life is in a shambles. A cop under suspension for corruption, Shing is toying with the idea of having a key prosecution witness killed. Though he has enough cash to wear a Rolex, his apartment is a run down shambles, his fridge always empty, his social life an endless succession of one night stands and cheap, possibly underage, hookers. It doesn't appear that Shing's life could get much lower until one night the daughter he never knew he had, the child he believed was aborted when he was just seventeen, decides to introduce herself by smashing a bottle over his head. And so Shing meets Yan, the daughter of his high school girlfriend. Yan's mother has recently died of lung cancer and she has been locked out of her apartment for not paying her rent, leaving the teenaged girl penniless and homeless. Thrust together by fate, these two strangers are forced into a new way of life.

Over the course of five films, director Pang Ho Cheung has quietly carved out a niche for himself as one of Hong Kong's brightest and most distinctive directors. While his earlier works are known more for their sly sense of humor, with Isabella he proves he is just as able to build his films around serious character work. Helping greatly to that end are his two lead actors. Long time collaborator (To also produced the film) and acclaimed character actor Chapman To steps into his first leading role here as Shing and plays the part with subtlety and grace. Shing is a character that could easily be despised but To finds his human heart, gradually revealing a broken man coming to realize that his life has been dominated by one very bad decision made in his youth. As for model-turned-pop-starlet Isabella Leong, she turns in a remarkable performance, one that should guarantee that she never has to appear in mindless teen flicks like The Eye 10 ever again unless she is possessed by some strange burning desire to do so. Though Derek Tsang is entirely too bland as Yan's would-be boyfriend, the rest of the supporting cast is excellent. Anthony Wong puts in a stellar, hilarious turn as Shing's food-obsessed, constantly talking friend and fellow dirty cop. Wong's screen time is minimal but he makes the most of it, creating one of the more memorable characters of his career.

While 1999 seems a little too recent to term the setting nostalgic, there is no denying that Pang's film is filled with the same sense of memory and longing that marks Wong Kar Wai's Shanghai or Hou Hsiao Hsien's Taiwan. Cinematographer Charlie Lam shoots gorgeous film, filling the streets of Macau with a warm amber glow and composing his shots to perfection. Lam, like Pang, is still young and building a name for himself, but he shows every sign that he could develop into a very significant player.

The just released DVD features an excellent anamorphic transfer and very good subtitling. Somewhat disappointing is the fact that while the two-disc set is loaded with features, the only ones to include an English option are the written cast and staff profiles. They are, however, well worth reading and loaded with information that help contextualize the film - particularly if you need a quick primer on Macau's history.

Whatever the reason may be, Pang has yet to really travel outside Hong Kong, but the signs are there that this may be about to change, with this quiet little gem picking up a Silver Bear at this year's Berlin Film Festival. But whether the masses discover Pang or not, there is no reason for you to miss out. Seek this one out.

by Todd Brown - Twitchfilm.net

Feature articles that mention "Isabella (2006) (Blu-ray) (Hong Kong Version)"

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Customer Review of "Isabella (2006) (Blu-ray) (Hong Kong Version)"

Average Customer Rating for All Editions of this Product: Customer Review Rated Bad 7 - 7.7 out of 10 (6)

Rhoda
See all my reviews


May 11, 2008

This customer review refers to Isabella (DVD) (Hong Kong Version)
1 people found this review helpful

I am lost but nice Customer Review Rated Bad 8 - 8 out of 10
I am lost in this film. Isabella turned out to be a lesbian. How can a pretty girl such as her be a lesbian. And the younger girl fancies her since she was like 12 years old. The story is a little weird but the acting is great.
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Kevin Kennedy
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December 21, 2007

This customer review refers to Isabella (DVD) (2-Disc Edition) (US Version)
A father and daughter grow up Customer Review Rated Bad 8 - 8 out of 10
For the first half-hour of the atmospheric "Isabella", I was scratching my head, wondering what the heck was happening ... and wondering whether I should continue to invest my time in watching this film. I'm very glad that I stuck with it.

Chapman To plays Shing, a corrupt Macau police officer and a serial womanizer. Isabella Leong plays a teen-aged prostitute named Yan. Shing picks up Yan in a bar and brings her to his home. Yan provides her professional services to Shing, then tells him that she is his daughter.

After this shocking event, the deeply-buried tectonic plates of the lives of Shing and Yan begin to shift. We don't see much evidence of it at first. Shing continues on his womanizing ways and Yan continues to live her irresponsible lifestyle. But changes are afoot and how this film reveals them is a subtle marvel.

Kudos to Chapman To and Isabella Leong for their finely-modulated performances. In the course of a movie of this kind, we want to see the characters grow and change, and To and Leong do a terrific job of showing the maturation of Shing and Yan.

I recommend "Isabella" very highly for a mature audience. By the way, the film has a beautiful soundtrack of Portuguese music. In particular, the title song by fado singer Mariza is gorgeous. If you have not already sampled Mariza's music, then you really should.
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numinair
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October 12, 2007

This customer review refers to Isabella (DVD) (Hong Kong Version)
2 people found this review helpful

Isabella - Big Roles to Come! Customer Review Rated Bad 9 - 9 out of 10
If there is one thing you need to do before watching this film, is to make sure you have one good solid fill of nourishment or some edibles handy. Some kimchi, noodles, pizza, a bag of crisps...anything...to have at hand, as the food intake in this film is more prevalent than in some of the HK restaurant themed movies - and all this could make you hungry watching it. I only hope the film makers didn't starve the actors before commencing with their food scenes, so to get that more realistic and gritty reflection. Gritty this is, too, with the subject matter about a destitute bar prostitute named Yan, played with focus and almost perfection by Isabella Leong, claiming to be the long lost daughter of an ousted and corrupted police man, Shing, performed excellently by Chapman To.

Although partly set in seedy prostitute bars of Macua, a Portuguese settlement in China just before the handover in 1999, "Isabella" more or less portrays an odd tale about forbidden relationships by these two aforementioned needful souls, who are supposedly father and daughter, than a focus on prostitution itself. The pleasure skin is only the back drop to the relationships, and what happens sensually is all left off film (apart from an initial liaison with Yan and Shing), than graphic details expressed in the more darker movies like "Downfall" or Kim Ki Duk's "Bad Guy". This is more about ambivalent feelings regarding a corrupt cop and his relations with the prostitute Yan, after he finds out she his is daughter he thought had been aborted from his liaison with her mother in the past.

This film rates highly, certainly for the quality acting, which is impressive and Isabella Leong really does prove herself to be one of the finest actresses in recent films, and no doubt she cuts the mustard here by her fusion of a downcast soulless prostitute and at times a jovial, but highly strung girl. There is more to Isabella's observational pallet than posing and singing - and acting seems to be her future vocation. Just before I posted this, too, I read on a web site that Isabella L is also half Portuguese and also had quite an hard life upbringing in Macau in her childhood, after her father had died when she was very young - this is quite a hard back ground relating to the punch she gives for this film. Before this, I had only seen her in Oxide Pang's "Diary", by which of her small part in that, I still felt convinced that she should play a more solid and complete role like Yee, as that could be one awesome film to look out for in the future, if/when she does one. (Only supposing here, of course)

This movie is certainly a slow burner and the flow is at quite a moderate and sleazy pace. The camera work and photography is dream like and European ,and the Macau setting produces a sublime fire glow colour, with the contrasting poverty crumbling buildings and the strangely partly affluent characters (Shing sells a Rolex and Yan as a large female utility collection). Contrasts are also made by the ironic and emotional music provided, too! Considering the slow and dark ambiance of this film, quite a number of cameo players also appear, that are generally in more light hearted and standard dramas; Boy'z singer Steven Cheung, Jim Chim as a landlord who boots out Yan's dog Isabella, by Yan not paying the rent, and the food scoffing Anthony Wong, who seems he hasn't eaten for weeks on end. Chapman To is excellent as the culpable police man, and considering that his acting is well proven in comedy roles, he easily shifts into these more demanding roles. I was quite surprised that this was Chapman T's first full role (sorry that sounds like food again), and his focused and fused character here seems far from a debut. I was convinced he must have been in similar character parts before.

Expect a downcast watch with this, however, it is about bleak themes after all. But due to the acting and cathartic sequence of events, it is a top quality movie. Not the most lovable characters in Yan and Shing by their life choices, but an exercise in situations raising awareness to circumstances sometimes unavoidable.
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Jake
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June 26, 2006

This customer review refers to Isabella (DVD) (Hong Kong Version)
relaxations Customer Review Rated Bad 10 - 10 out of 10
This movie was great. I should say this movie was piece of art. Nothing like the other movies, it long and the story is good as well
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Sarah
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June 25, 2006

This customer review refers to Isabella (DVD) (Hong Kong Version)
OMG Customer Review Rated Bad 3 - 3 out of 10
I thought it was boring.... Chapman did great but Isabella....? My god, the part where she was singing Anita Mui's hit was so hard to watch. ALthought the film was 109 mins long, i felt i spent a whole day watching it. Loved the music but the movie moved in such a SLOW pace.
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