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Paradise In Service (2014) (Blu-ray) (Hong Kong Version) Blu-ray Region A

Ethan Juan (Actor) | Chen Jian Bin (Actor) | Ivy Chen (Actor) | Wan Qian (Actor)
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YesAsia Editorial Description

Director Doze Niu reunites with his Monga and Love star Ethan Ruan in Paradise In Service, a coming-of-age tale set in a Taiwan military-sanctioned brothel that's mere kilometers away from Mainland China. After a successful jaunt on the festival circuit, which included stops at the Busan and Berlin International Film Festivals, Paradise In Service shone at the 51st Golden Horse Awards, with Chen Jianbin (Three Kingdoms) and Wan Qian (The Children Came Home) respectively claiming the Best Supporting Actor and Best Supporting Actress Awards.

The year is 1969, and innocent 20-year-old Pao (Ethan Ruan) has just been selected to join the notoriously tough Sea Dragons unit on Kinmen Island as part of his mandatory military service. Pao's less-than-impressive physical skills find him lagging behind in training, and his tough commander Chang (Chen Jianbin) soon decides to assign the fledgling recruit elsewhere. Pao ends up at Unit 831, euphemistically dubbed "the teahouse" and "military paradise," a military-sanctioned brothel he is to manage. There, he meets the materialistic Jiao (Ivy Chen, Girls) and the mysterious Ni Ni (Wan Qian), and discovers that Unit 831 is a place where desires for warmth, lust and home collide.

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Technical Information

Product Title: Paradise In Service (2014) (Blu-ray) (Hong Kong Version) 軍中樂園 (2014) (Blu-ray) (香港版) 军中乐园 (2014) (Blu-ray) (香港版) 軍中樂園 (2014) (Blu-ray) (香港版) Paradise In Service (2014) (Blu-ray) (Hong Kong Version)
Artist Name(s): Ethan Juan (Actor) | Chen Jian Bin (Actor) | Ivy Chen (Actor) | Wan Qian (Actor) | Liu Kai Chi (Actor) | Miao Ke Li (Actor) | Yao Zhuo Jun (Actor) | Lotus Wang (Actor) | Lin Mei Shiu (Actor) | Wang Bo Chieh (Actor) 阮經天 (Actor) | 陳建斌 (Actor) | 陳意涵 (Actor) | 萬茜 (Actor) | 廖啟智 (Actor) | 苗可麗 (Actor) | 姚卓君 (Actor) | 王彩樺 (Actor) | 林 美秀 (Actor) | 王柏傑 (Actor) 阮经天 (Actor) | 陈建斌 (Actor) | 陈意涵 (Actor) | 万茜 (Actor) | 廖启智 (Actor) | 苗可丽 (Actor) | 姚卓君 (Actor) | 王彩桦 (Actor) | 林美秀 (Actor) | 王柏杰 (Actor) 阮經天(イーサン・ルアン) (Actor) | 陳建斌 (チェン・ジェンビン) (Actor) | 陳意涵 (アイビー・チェン) (Actor) | レジーナ・ワン[ (Actor) | 廖啓智(リウ・カイチー) (Actor) | Miao Ke Li (Actor) | Yao Zhuo Jun (Actor) | 王彩樺(ロータス・ワン/ワン・ツァイホァ) (Actor) | 林美秀 (リン・メイシウ) (Actor) | 王柏傑 (ワン・ポーチェ) (Actor) Ethan Juan (Actor) | Chen Jian Bin (Actor) | Ivy Chen (Actor) | Wan Qian (Actor) | 요 계지 (Actor) | Miao Ke Li (Actor) | Yao Zhuo Jun (Actor) | Lotus Wang (Actor) | Lin Mei Shiu (Actor) | Wang Bo Chieh (Actor)
Director: Doze Niu 鈕承澤 钮承泽 鈕承澤 (ニウ・チェンザー) Doze Niu
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: 2015-06-19
Language: Cantonese, Mandarin
Subtitles: English, Traditional Chinese
Country of Origin: Taiwan, China
Picture Format: [HD] High Definition, NTSC What is it?
Sound Information: Dolby Digital EX(TM) / THX Surround EX(TM)
Disc Format(s): Blu-ray
Screen Resolution: 1080p (1920 x 1080 progressive scan)
Rating: IIB
Duration: 134 (mins)
Publisher: Panorama (HK)
Package Weight: 100 (g)
Shipment Unit: 1 What is it?
YesAsia Catalog No.: 1043953244

Product Information

Director: Niu Chen Zer

Set in the island Kinmen, often seen as the most dangerous military base because it’s geographically close to China, Paradise in service follows the adventure of a boy who serves his military service in Unit 831 from 1969 to 1972, in preparation for a war that could erupt anytime.

Through an unlucky draw result, Pao, a twenty-something young man from southern Taiwan has to serve the military in the remote and perilous Kinmen. Moreover, he is assigned to the Sea Dragon (ARB), a unit noted for the toughest physical training. It never occurs to Pao, however, that the greatest challenge in his military service lies not in the Sea Dragon but in Unit 831, a special task he is later appointed to…

In this peculiar assignment, Pao vows to keep his virginity against all odds.
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 "Paradise In Service (2014) (Blu-ray) (Hong Kong Version)"

July 31, 2015

Paradise in Service is the latest offering from Doze Niu, one of Taiwan's most commercially successful modern directors, which sees him re-teaming with popular star Ethan Ruan, who he also worked with on the hits Monga and Love. Co-starring Chen Jian Bin (Three Kingdoms), Wan Qian (The Children Came Home) and Ivy Chen (Girls), the film won a number of prizes and nominations at the 51st Golden Horse Awards, as well as the Taipei Film Festival and the Hong Kong Film Awards, and screened to acclaim at the Busan and Berlin festivals amongst other around the world.

Set in 1969, the film takes place on the historically-contested Kinmen Island, administrated by Taiwan, though located only kilometres from the Mainland Chinese coast. Ruan plays Pao, a 20 year old military recruit selected to try out for the hardcore Sea Dragons unit, though who is sadly rejected due to his lack of physical prowess or swimming skills. Chosen for administrative duties instead by his commander Chang (Chen Jian Bin), Pao joins Unit 831, which despite being called "the teahouse" and "military paradise" is effectively an officially-sanctioned brothel. While carrying out his new duties he meets and befriends Jiao (Ivy Chen) and Ni Ni (Wan Qian), two women with their own mysterious and tragic stories, and with the threat of war lurking in the background, complications ensue.

Paradise in Service definitely has a very interesting setting and backstory, Kinmen Island being a location ripe for thematic depth and historical meaning. However, perhaps unsurprisingly given his background in populist local blockbusters, Doze Niu aims mainly for melodrama rather than digging too deeply. In narrative terms the film is certainly straightforward, falling back for the most part on familiar stereotypes and genre clichs, basically following the innocent Pao as he gets tied up in love triangles and encounters the usual prostitutes with sad stories and hearts of gold, trying to resist their charms to preserve himself for his girlfriend back home - Doze Niu takes a non-judgemental approach to the whole prostitution theme, though some viewers may well find the subject of comfort women an uncomfortable one, and the film does leave itself open to accusations of glossing over the real horrors behind it. To be fair, while unoriginal the film is still engaging, and its story does have some moments of solid emotional payoff towards the end, enough so to make it worthwhile for fans of languid romantic dramas.

Fortunately, the film receives a boost from its cast, all of whom are on fine form, adding valuable depth and gravity to their roles. Ethan Ruan does well in the lead, convincingly playing a character some ten years younger than his real age and making sure Pao comes across as naive rather than simply daft and indecisive. More impressive however are Chen Jian Bin and Wan Qian, respective winners of Best Supporting Actor and Best Supporting Actress at the Golden Horse Awards, both playing outsider figures whose turmoil and tragedy effectively underscore the film's themes far more than the narrative.

The film also performs well on a technical level, looking good and boasting top notch production values, with some visually appealing cinematography from Charlie Lam. There's a dreamy feel throughout, and Doze Niu successfully mines the locations for believable period detail and exactly the kind of bittersweet nostalgia he was obviously aiming for. This serves to make the film more of a mood piece, which definitely helps (as does a well-chosen soundtrack of time-stamped pop songs), and it comes across at times as Hou Hsiao Hsien-lite - Hou actually supervised the editing of the film, and while it's nowhere near up to his standard, the mix of his more artistic style with Doze Niu's popcorn sensibilities does work well.

Paradise in Service is definitely one for a certain audience or fans of Ethan Ruan, though viewers averse to slow-moving romantic melodrama may find themselves tuning out during an overlong middle section. Well-made and acted, it's one of the better examples of the form of late, and though lacking in substance and failing to make the most of its subject matter, is another perfectly respectable offering from Doze Niu.

by James Mudge -

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