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The Mobfathers (2016) (DVD) (Hong Kong Version) DVD Region 3

Anthony Wong (Actor) | Chapman To (Actor, Producer) | Philip Keung (Actor) | Gregory Wong (Actor)
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The Mobfathers (2016) (DVD) (Hong Kong Version)
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YesAsia Editorial Description

Directed by Herman Yau, Hong Kong gangster thriller The Mobfathers references the city's politically charged atmosphere with the timely allegorical tale of a triad's contentious transition of power as it prepares to elect its newest leader. Chapman To, who also served as the film's producer, stars as the defiant gangster who challenges the election process, while Anthony Wong plays the godfather who wields ultimate power. Prepare for all-out war in the streets of Hong Kong when the violent maneuvering of underworld politics meets the creative lobbying of election politics!

After serving a five-year sentence, gang leader Chuck (Chapman To) returns to the outside world, only to find that it's not exactly a glorious welcome that awaits him. He gets attacked the minute he steps out of jail, his wife (Bonnie Xian) treats him coldly, and his underlings now answer more to his buddy (Philip Keung) who took care of things in his absence. Meanwhile, the time has come to select a new "Dragon Head" to nominally lead the entire triad organization. With the big boss (Anthony Wong) diagnosed with terminal cancer, this election is more crucial than ever, and Chuck decides to stand for the triennial election against the big boss's handpicked incumbent (Tony Ho) and flamboyant upstart rival Wulf (Gregory Wong). The Dragon Head is traditionally selected by a small council of triad elders, but with the system stacked against him, Chuck calls for an open election in which every triad member gets a vote.

This edition comes with making-of features.

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Technical Information

Product Title: The Mobfathers (2016) (DVD) (Hong Kong Version) 選老頂 (2016) (DVD) (香港版) 选老顶 (2016) (DVD) (香港版) 選老頂 (2016) (DVD) (香港版) The Mobfathers (2016) (DVD) (Hong Kong Version)
Artist Name(s): Anthony Wong (Actor) | Chapman To (Actor) | Philip Keung (Actor) | Gregory Wong (Actor) | Tony Ho (Actor) | Kenny Wong (Actor) | Deep Ng (Actor) | Bonnie Xian (Actor) | Tarah Chan (Actor) | Ken Hung (Actor) | Wylie Chiu (Actor) | Carlos Chan (Actor) 黃 秋生 (Actor) | 杜汶澤 (Actor) | 姜浩文 (Actor) | 王宗堯 (Actor) | 何華超 (Actor) | 黃德斌 (Actor) | 吳浩康 (Actor) | 冼色麗 (Actor) | 陳 意嵐 (Actor) | 洪卓立 (Actor) | 趙碩之 (Actor) | 陳家樂 (Actor) 黄 秋生 (Actor) | 杜汶泽 (Actor) | 姜浩文 (Actor) | 王宗尧 (Actor) | 何华超 (Actor) | 黄德斌 (Actor) | 吴浩康 (Actor) | 冼色丽 (Actor) | 陈 意岚 (Actor) | 洪卓立 (Actor) | 赵硕之 (Actor) | 陈家乐 (Actor) 黄秋生 (アンソニー・ウォン) (Actor) | 杜汶澤 (チャップマン・トー) (Actor) | 姜皓文(キョン・ヒウマン) (Actor) | Gregory Wong (Actor) | 何華超(トニー・ホー) (Actor) | 黄徳斌(ケニー・ウォン) (Actor) | 呉浩康(ディープ・ン) (Actor) | 冼色麗(ボニー・シァン) (Actor) | Tarah Chan (Actor) | 洪卓立(ケン・ホン) (Actor) | Wylie Chiu (Actor) | Carlos Chan (Actor) Anthony Wong (Actor) | Chapman To (Actor) | Philip Keung (Actor) | Gregory Wong (Actor) | Tony Ho (Actor) | Kenny Wong (Actor) | Deep Ng (Actor) | Bonnie Xian (Actor) | Tarah Chan (Actor) | Ken Hung (Actor) | Wylie Chiu (Actor) | Carlos Chan (Actor)
Director: Herman Yau 邱禮濤 邱礼涛 邱禮濤(ハーマン・ヤウ) Yau Lai To
Producer: Chapman To 杜汶澤 杜汶泽 杜汶澤 (チャップマン・トー) Chapman To
Release Date: 2016-07-22
Language: Cantonese, Mandarin
Subtitles: English, Traditional Chinese
Place of Origin: Hong Kong
Picture Format: NTSC What is it?
Aspect Ratio: 1.78 : 1
Widescreen Anamorphic: Yes
Sound Information: Dolby Digital 5.1
Disc Format(s): DVD
Region Code: 3 - South East Asia (including Hong Kong, S. Korea and Taiwan) What is it?
Rating: III
Duration: 93 (mins)
Publisher: Panorama (HK)
Package Weight: 100 (g)
Shipment Unit: 1 What is it?
YesAsia Catalog No.: 1050976310

Product Information

* Special Features:
- Making of
- Trailer

Chapman To and herman Yau carry on their successful collaboration from Sara with this dark comedy set in the seedy Hong Kong underground world. Every three years, the five leading gangs elect a representative to stand for election to be the mobfather of the underworld. Each of the candidates has his strength and his weaknessess, and there is understandably a decided lack of trust amongst the gangs. With each fighting for his gang’s own vested interests, what will be the outcome?
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 "The Mobfathers (2016) (DVD) (Hong Kong Version)"

View Professional Review:
October 31, 2016

Herman Yau takes a stroll through Election territory with the gangland comedy-drama-satire The Mobfathers, and the result is entertaining and flawed in equal measure. Chapman To stars as ambitious Jing Hing triad Chuck, who's arrested on the very same night that his wife (Bonnie Xian) announces that she's pregnant. Since he's missing the best years of fatherhood, Chuck resolves to be on his best behavior while in prison, and hopes to make it on the straight and narrow when his sentence is over. However, that's not what happens. A violent skirmish occurs outside the prison right when Chuck is released, and after a few twists involving the gang and his family, he does a 180 and decides that he'd like to continue being a gangster and he's all-in on becoming the next Dragon Head of Jing Hing. So much for family and fatherhood changing your life, eh?

The path to becoming the next triad kingpin isn't easy. Chuck has to compete with a number of gang lieutenants, plus look out for the ever-judgmental "Uncles", the aged triads who oversee the gangs from above. Chuck's main rival is Wolf (Gregory Wong), a metrosexual triad who has wide-ranging sexual proclivities and isn't above using chicanery to get his way. However, neither is Chuck, so the stage is set for a battle between an older, tougher triad and a younger, slimier one. Who will triumph and become the next Jing Hing Dragon Head? Actually, it's irrelevant who wins, since Mobfathers is mostly about the darkly funny spectacle of a gangland election, which Herman Yau uses as a loosely-disguised stand-in for Hong Kong’s actual election issues. Topical satire has long been in Yau's wheelhouse, and he delivers with more obvious humor than in either of the bone-dry Election movies. Having Chapman To and his loud comic chops on board also helps to earn some laughs.

The supporting cast members fill their roles nicely. Anthony Wong provides veteran presence as a cancer-stricken triad uncle, and his sly delivery and smart sense of humor make him a highlight. Gregory Wong is amusing as the rival Wolf, while a contingent of EEG players show their faces to make sure nobody forgets about them. The biggest surprise is Keung Ho-Man, who plays Chuck's loyal comrade Luke. Keung usually impresses as sleazebags or losers, but here he's a reliable rock of a triad lieutenant and a dark horse candidate for Best Man Ever™. Keung even gets his own subplot having to do with his long-lost daughter, and while it doesn't really go anywhere, it adds some humanity to what's mostly a dark, cynical exercise. Keung's story notwithstanding, Mobfathers is far more successful with its satire than its drama, which touches upon family, loyalty and other well-worn subjects.

Oddly, Chapman To's character doesn’t entirely work. Chuck is entertaining as a lighter version of Big D (Tony Leung Ka-Fai in Election), but even with subplots devoted to Chuck's family and mistress (Tarah Chan), the character never feels as important as the film makes him out to be. Chuck works mostly as a guide to the triad election – which is the where the real meat resides – so when the film gets serious about its relationships and characters it just feels like lip service to expected commercial elements. The film's final twists, especially, seem like they're trying to make Chuck out to be someone we should care about, but he doesn't really earn that. However, despite these flaws, the central election storyline is successful, and possesses a few decent surprises and some triad-style action to spice things up. The use of CGI blood is ridiculously fake and a bit of a distraction, though it does make the graphic violence easier to handle.

The Mobfathers is no patch on Johnnie To's take on the triad election process but it's likely more accessible to general audiences because it has more commercial elements, plus it doesn't attempt complex metaphor. More often than not, it actually panders. For the Hong Kong audience, the film's self-marketed claim to fame is how it skewers local politics. Besides the verbatim "one man, one vote" reference to Hong Kong's continuing struggle for universal suffrage, the script parrots famous lines from political figures in its dialogue. The references appear superficial rather than truly incisive or surprising, but for plugged-in locals and politically-interested outsiders they work as sly entertainment. Most international audiences won’t really catch all these references, but the film still entertains as a loose and offbeat gangland drama-comedy with solid themes and some Category III content. While not a classic, The Mobfathers proves to be digestible local fare that can appropriately be labeled "Hong Kong Cinema". In 2016, we should be happy with any.

by Kozo -

August 19, 2016

This professional review refers to The Mobfathers (2016) (Blu-ray) (Hong Kong Version)
Herman Yau, arguably the hardest working and most prolific director currently active in Hong Kong cinema, serves up his latest in the form of old school Triad drama The Mobfathers. Chronicling the violent power struggle to claim leadership of one of the territory's biggest gangs, the film sees Yau reteaming with a number of his regular collaborators, including writer Erica Li and cinematographer Joe Chan, both of whom worked with him on Sara, Ip Man: The Final Fight and others. The Mobfathers also reunites Yau with Chapman To, who appeared in the director's Turning Point 2 back in 2011 and who produced Sara, here again serving as producer as well as starring, sharing top billing with Anthony Wong.

To, who also narrates, plays Chuck, a gang boss just released from prison after a five-year stretch, who returns home to find the streets in turmoil and his wife (Bonnie Xian, As the Light Goes Out) not exactly pleased to see him. Despite his trusty right hand man Luke (Philip Keung, Trivisa) having done his best to take care of things during his absence, Chuck suspects that his men now look up to him instead, and struggles to settle back into his old ways. Matters come to a head when the current big boss (Anthony Wong) is diagnosed with terminal cancer and agrees to hold an election to choose the next leader, Chuck deciding to challenge the top candidate Coke (Tony Ho, The Gigolo) and wild card Wulf (Gregory Wong, Imprisoned: Survival Guide for Rich and Prodigal). The election takes a different turn when Chuck pushes for a vote for every gang member, with lots of bloodshed and political campaigning inevitably ensuing.

Triad politics and elections as allegory is a theme which has been seen often in Hong Kong cinema over the last decade following the success of Johnnie To's 2005 classic Election, and so the basic premise of The Mobfathers isn't particularly original. Thankfully, in the hands of Herman Yau, who managed to work social commentary even into the likes of The Untold Story and Ebola Syndrome, and given the current political climate in Hong Kong, the film still manages to feel relevant and fresh. Though there's nothing new in the way Chuck and the others jostle for position, the role of Anthony Wong's sinister and manipulative head honcho adds an amusing touch of irony, and the later stages of the film and the ways in which the candidates try and win over other members are darkly satirical. Bolstered by some solid character writing from Erica Li, Yau again proves himself a master storyteller, and though familiar and building towards a wholly predictable ending, the film is always engaging and features a few strong dramatic moments scattered throughout.

With Joe Chan on-board, the film has the same gritty look seen in many of Yau's recent productions, which, combined with a pleasing use of neon lighting, gives it a suitably old fashioned feel, recalling classic Hong Kong Triad films of the past. The sets and streets have a convincingly seedy air, and this helps to keep things grounded and to add an edge and a sense of macho danger. The action itself is generally well-handled and comes thick and fast, another brawl or chopping never being more than a scene away, and the film rattles along at a brisk and efficient pace. Unfortunately, while there's no shortage of violence and brutality, earning the film its Category III rating for both carnage and themes, this is seriously undermined by some markedly shoddy use of CGI blood, which often seems to spray and splatter in a manner unconnected with injuries or dismemberments. The special effects in many scenes fail to convince, and this robs quite a few potentially shocking scenes of their visceral impact – while the use of CGI gore is of course understandable given budgetary restrictions, it's been much better implemented in other films than it has sadly been here.

Whilst this and the general sense of over-familiarity aren't enough to sink The Mobfathers by any stretch, they do mark it as a good, rather than great film when compared to the rest of Yau's output over the last few years. Still, there's a great deal here to enjoy, and with Chapman To, Anthony Wong and the rest of the cast on fine form, it comes recommended, especially for fans of Triad cinema.

This original content has been created by or licensed to, and cannot be copied or republished in any medium without the express written permission of
  • Region & Language: Hong Kong United States - English
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