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Chronicles of the Ghostly Tribe (Blu-ray) (US Version) Blu-ray Region A

Yao Chen | Mark Chao | Lu Chuan (Director) | Wu Jun
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YesAsia Editorial Description

Zhang Muye's best-selling novel series Ghost Blows Out the Light about tomb-raiding adventurers inspired two high-profile films in 2015, Wu'ershan's Mojin - The Lost Legend and Lu Chuan's Chronicles of the Ghostly Tribe. While the former is a crowd-pleasing blockbuster adaptation, the latter turned into a different fantastical beast in the hands of auteur Lu Chuan. Known for acclaimed works like City of Life and Death and Kekexili: Mountain Patrol, Lu departs from the source material to offer his own atmospheric take of the action-adventure that once again confirms that the director makes films to his own beat. Featuring dazzling special effects and cinematography, Chronicles of the Ghostly Tribe ventures into the great unknown with an all-star cast that includes Mark Chao, Yao Chen, Rhydian Vaughan, Li Chen, Tiffany Tang and Li Guangjie.

In 1979, Hu Bayi (Mark Chao), along with Professor Yang (Wang Qingxiang) and his daughter Yang Ping (Yao Chen), leads an expedition deep into the Kunlun Mountains to investigate the origins of some strange fossils. During the expedition, the team gets attacked by mysterious creatures and comes upon a tower harboring unknown powers. In the end, Bayi alone makes it back out of the mountain. After leaving the army, Bayi returns to Beijing where he regularly receives information from an unknown source concerning Professor Yang's research into an ancient tribe civilization. Strange events continue to occur including Yang Ping and Professor Yang seemingly returning from the dead. Guided by a mysterious force, Bayi must return to where this all started – the tower they opened years ago and a mystery that dates back centuries.

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Technical Information

Product Title: Chronicles of the Ghostly Tribe (Blu-ray) (US Version) 九層妖塔 (Blu-ray) (美國版) 九层妖塔 (Blu-ray) (美国版) Chronicles of the Ghostly Tribe (Blu-ray) (US Version) Chronicles of the Ghostly Tribe (Blu-ray) (US Version)
Artist Name(s): Yao Chen | Mark Chao | Wu Jun | Feng Li | Zhang Yong Chen | Li Guang Jie | Tiffany Tang | Li Chen | Wang De Shun | Rhydian Vaughan 姚晨 | 趙 又廷 | 吳軍 | 馮 粒 | 張永琛 | 李光潔 | 唐嫣 | 李晨 | 王德順 | 鳳小岳 姚晨 | 赵 又廷 | 吴军 | 冯 粒 | 张永琛 | 李光洁 | 唐嫣 | 李晨 | 王德顺 | 凤小岳 姚晨(ヤオ・チェン) | 趙又廷 (マーク・チャオ) | 呉軍 (ウー・ジュン) | Feng Li | Zhang Yong Chen | Li Guang Jie | 唐嫣(タン・ヤン/ティファニー・タン) | 李晨 (リー・チェン) | Wang De Shun | 鳳小岳 (リディアン・ヴォーン) Yao Chen | Mark Chao | Wu Jun | Feng Li | Zhang Yong Chen | Li Guang Jie | Tiffany Tang | Li Chen | Wang De Shun | Rhydian Vaughan
Director: Lu Chuan 陸川 陆川 ルー・チューアン Lu Chuan
Blu-ray Region Code: A - Americas (North, Central and South except French Guiana), Korea, Japan, South East Asia (including Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan) What is it?
Release Date: 2016-07-05
UPC Code: 812491017104
Language: Mandarin
Subtitles: English
Country of Origin: Hong Kong, China
Disc Format(s): Blu-ray
Package Weight: 81 (g)
Shipment Unit: 1 What is it?
YesAsia Catalog No.: 1050520849

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YumCha! Asian Entertainment Reviews and Features

Professional Review of "Chronicles of the Ghostly Tribe (Blu-ray) (US Version)"

May 31, 2016

This professional review refers to Chronicles of the Ghostly Tribe (2015) (Blu-ray) (2D + 3D) (English Subtitled) (Hong Kong Version)
The popular Ghost Blows out the Light series from novelist Zhang Muye saw two big screen blockbuster adaptations in 2015, the first of which was Mojin – The Lost Legend from director Wu'ershan. Hot on its heels comes Chronicles of the Ghostly Tribe, directed by Lu Chuan, better known for more highbrow and critically acclaimed fare such as like City of Life and Death and Kekexili: Mountain Patrol. Like Mojin, the 3D production is a special effects-heavy popcorn flick, headed up by an all-star cast including Mark Chao (Young Detective Dee: Rise of the Sea Dragon), Yao Chen (Monster Hunt), Rhydian Vaughan (Winds of September), Li Chen (Saving General Yang), Tiffany Tang (The Storm Warriors) and Li Guangjie (Drug War).

The film kicks off in 1979, with Mark Chao as Hu Bayi, a young man working on an archaeological dig in the remote Kunlun Mountains aimed at uncovering the origins of a mysterious fossilised species. After a hidden cave is discovered, he volunteers to join a team led by Professor Yang (Wang Qingxiang) and his daughter Ping (Yao Chen) to explore, which ends in disaster when monsters attack and a tower with occult powers is somehow activated. The only survivor, Bayi barely escapes with his life, though several years later is informed that the professor has been found wandering in the mountains, and Ping found in a newly opened underground tomb. Rushing to reunite with Ping, he finds her now calling herself Shirley and part of a shady mission to head back into the caves, seeming to have no memory of him or what happened to her.

Chronicles of the Ghostly Tribe certainly starts off very similar to Mojin – The Lost Legend, and the opening twenty minutes of the two films are really quite hard to tell apart. Thankfully, Lu Chuan soon heads off in at least a vaguely different direction, and the film develops into more of a fantasy-themed mystery, with some interesting ideas concerning the ghostly tribe and their origins, and some decent tension involving the identity and motivations of femme fatale figure Shirley. With less comedy relief and slapstick than Mojin, the film nevertheless doesn't take itself too seriously, and Lu does a good job of balancing intrigue and a sense of old-fashioned adventure, helping to keep things engaging throughout. Sadly, the film is let down somewhat by some pretty thin character writing, with only Shirley really registering, Hu Bayi and the others being sketchy and bland at best. Although the cast all turn in perfectly acceptable performances and do their best to make their characters likeable, there's no punch or emotional depth, something which does undermine the final act.

Given his past films, Lu may seem like an odd choice of director for what;s essentially a piece of multiplex fare, though he's generally successful in adapting his approach to a more audience-friendly form, while retaining a semblance of his more weighty and sombre style. Indeed, one of the better things about Ghostly Tribe, and which sets it apart from Mojin and others of its type is its cultural grounding, Lu subtly evoking the period and political setting to pleasing effect. This isn't always a perfect fit with the film's fantasy elements, at times suggesting a missing level of social commentary or metaphor, though in the earlier stages in particular it works well, and there are moments which recall Lu's earlier works here and there.

The special effects and set pieces take centre stage unsurprisingly, and Lu Chuan shows himself as capable as any at helming action, with the opening scenes and the last third of the film boasting some impressive sequences and battles. Though the effects lose a lot of their impact on the small screen and away from 3D, there's a fun sense of imagination and plenty of excitement, with lots of creatures running wild and trying to get their claws on the cast. The film is also very strong visually, with some gorgeous, sweeping landscapes in the style of Kekexili: Mountain Patrol, and though there's an overuse of slow motion the eye candy value is high throughout.

It's always a bit worrying when a director of critically acclaimed films of substance like Lu Chuan takes on something more commercial, and so it's a relief to find that Chronicles of the Ghostly Tribe is one of the better Chinese blockbusters of late. Though unlikely to be as well-regarded as City of Life and Death and other entries on his CV, Ghostly Tribe at least doesn't do any damage to Lu's reputation as one of China's more interesting filmmakers, and the sequel(s) mooted by its ending are by no means an unwelcome prospect.

by James Mudge - EasternKicks.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.
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