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Dangerous Liaisons [Blu-ray] [2012] [US Import]

4.7 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

2 new from £11.93 3 used from £22.77

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Product details

  • Language: Cantonese Chinese
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region A/1 (Read more about DVD/Blu-ray formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00AN5LCRC
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 170,196 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

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Format: Blu-ray
Another remake in yet another foreign location and in different time period, the latest adaptation of Chloderlos de Laclos' 18th century work proves just how powerful, adaptable and universal its sentiments remain, even if this one doesn't particularly have anything new to add to distinguish it from some more adventurous reworkings. At the very least however, Shanghai in the 1930s is a suitably glamorous setting for the decadent affairs of a couple of rich aristocrats and Hur Jin-ho successfully delivers the necessary emotional punch in what is nonetheless an effective, beautiful and stylish version of Dangerous Liaisons.

Korean director Hur Jin-ho's films - April Snow, One Fine Spring Day, Happiness - are well-known for their elements of romance with a bittersweet twist or even a cruel streak, and as such he's a perfect choice for this kind of material. In some respects, with an emphasis on close-ups and in the similarity of choices for certain scenes, the film is quite reminiscent of Stephen Frears' version of Dangerous Liaisons, which has to be the reference point to aspire towards. Hur's Dangerous Liaisons doesn't quite get there, but it is a very stylish adaptation nonetheless, beautifully photographed by Kim Byung-seo (Hur's cinematographer on A Good Rain Knows), every frame suffused in warm golden light. It perhaps owes just as much to Wong Kar-Wai's 2046 (which in a way is a variation on the themes of Dangerous Liaisons), in the period detail, in the music cues that imitate Michael Galasso, and - most evidently - in the pairing of Zhang Ziyi with Jang Dong-gun doing his best Tony Leung impersonation, with slicked back hair and pencil moustache.
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Format: DVD
Opulence, wealth, privilege, entitlement, decadence and idleness — a recipe for bad behaviour — and the principals here do not disappoint. They are shallow, spoiled, self-centered, vain, manipulative and cruel.

The worst is Mo Jieyu, a glamour girl in the Shanghai of 1931 whose decadence takes place against the backdrop of political turmoil between China and Japan. She is single, beautiful, less than 30 and fabulously rich. Her main interests are socializing, narcissism and using men as playthings, sex her lure and trap for them.

The second worst is Xie Yifan, an effete dandy and playboy. He is handsome, charming, suave and cool. His main pastime is seduction. Women came into the world to be his prey, targets, potential conquests. The best are those who resist the most, heightening the thrill of pursuit and raising the stakes of the game.

Du Fenyu, played with quiet grace and elegance by Zhang Ziyi, is Yifan's greatest challenge. She's a young widow from the provinces who is distantly related to some in this Shanghai set. A woman of virtue, she loved her school-teacher husband and continues to honour his good name. She's a fish out of water among these opulent operators in Shanghai, which Yifan immediately notices. He's bored with all the socialite Shanghai women around him, their tastes and desires predictable and unoriginal. None has the charm and grace of Fenyu. In this light she becomes a quarry for him like no other.

But Yifan has a problem. He can't let go of Jieyu emotionally. They have known each other since childhood. In fact, they were inseparable playmates growing up. He has always loved her platonically and now does so romantically. Jieyu knows this and keeps aloof from him sexually, playing with other men but not with him.
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Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
This is the third to my knowledge take of the novel Dangerous Liaisons the original being in 1988 with Glen Close and John Malkovich and Michelle Pfeiffer, and the Korean Untold Scandal (2003) starring Lee Mi-Sook and Bae Yong-Joon. This version takes place in China with Korean superstar Jang Dong-chun as the male lead Xie a notorious rake, Ceclia Cheung as the predatory widowed socialite Mo Jieyu and Zhang Ziyi as the target Du Fenyu. The setting is 1930's Shanghai which provides a sumptuous setting for this decadent tale. Comes with a number of bonus features
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0x9203c990) out of 5 stars 46 reviews
20 of 23 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x92c17114) out of 5 stars Nobody Puts BeiBei in the Corner (Pun Intended) 12 Feb. 2013
By Edward L Zimmerman - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Blu-ray
Classics never go out of style. You can take any one of Shakespeare's great tragedies and set it, say, in the Bronx Zoo with talking animals and still preserve more than the lion's share (pun intended) of the dignity, drama, and pathos that the Bard intended so long as it's done right. You'd have to cast the right zebra to play Juliet, and you'd be a fool to settle for the most magnificent tiger for the part of Romeo. It'd definitely have to be lit well, and you'd better not be too stingy with the checkbook when it comes to bringing all of it to life. No doubt - if your heart and the animals are in the right place - you'll introduce a whole new generation to one splendid work of sheer genius, all on a reasonable budget, and earn kudos from the critics.

(NOTE: The following review may contain minor spoilers necessary solely for the discussion of plot and character. If you're the kind of reader who prefers a review entirely spoiler-free, then I'd encourage you to skip down to the last two paragraphs for my final assessment. If, however, you're accepting of a few modest hints at `things to come,' then read on ...)

Those already familiar with this story need not worry as all of the major bullet points remain fully intact. Suffice it to say that the setting has been changed to Shanghai, 1931. Told against the backdrop of the impending Japanese invasion of China (though without all that much political ballyhoo or rhetoric), this DANGEROUS LIAISONS explores the devilish machinations of the socialite Mo Jieyu (played by the lovely Cecilia Cheung) and the dashing bachelor Xie Yifan (Jang Dong-kun at his sultry best). Vying for his last chance at her heart, Xie makes a wager that should he successfully seduce his distant cousin - the lovely and chaste Du Fenyu (Ziyi Zhang) - Miss Mo must fully surrender to him. Should he err and, instead, find love? Then Miss Mo stands to gain a sizable share of Yifan's property.

Those of you in the know realize LIAISONS has been done before (there have been no less than three significant productions of it in the last thirty years). Sadly, there isn't all that much that differentiates this version from the others except for the fact that this one was produced in China, a country rumored to maintain some of the most stringent content requirements in all the world. For much of these theatrical affairs, you certainly wouldn't know it, though the most aggressive scene - Yifan's near sexual assault of Mo once she outright rejects his advances despite having bested her in their bet - is relatively pale by comparison to how other countries would probably have handled the scene.

What LIAISONS does have to distinguish itself, however, is a trio of terrific talent in the primary roles. Jang Dong-kun embodies Yifan with an almost muscular sexiness, taking great delight in merely grazing the palms of ladies he considers his `lessers.' When required, Cheung practically ignites the screen as she smolders her way (and her wiles) across any male suitor she chooses. Zhang - who has been noticeably absent from the screen despite her established international appeal - brings unimaginable depth to Du Fenyu, a character that in my opinion was largely a two dimensional creation (either she's cold or she's very very hot) in other filmed adaptations. Any combination of `two out of the three of them' together elevate the story well enough beyond the good looks and dynamic settings chosen for the film; individually, their moments don't work as well, and, when they're paired with others for screen time, one could even make an argument that the film slows down noticeably. Thankfully, that isn't all that often because, otherwise, this picture could've gone another direction.

Gone - or, at least, lessened - are the sexual conquests of the ever sparring pretenders. Instead, this LIAISONS has dished up a visual feast for the eyes - one cultured from a beast fed a diet of pure steroids - as every frame is lovingly saturated with impressive colors, sumptuous hues, and erotic lighting. Director Hur Jinho has spared no expense in bringing this lavish, handsome interpretation to the screen - but he may've spared more skin than necessary (or that Hollywood and audiences beyond China would've liked) in order to get this version past his country's censors.

DANGEROUS LIAISONS is produced by Easternlight Films and Zonbo Media. DVD distribution (stateside) is being handled by Well Go USA. As for the technical specifications, everything looks stunning consistently throughout the presentation (there are a handful of CGI effects that might appear obvious to the trained eye, but they're fleeting); the audio levels are terrific throughout. As for the special features, there are a few, including a fifteen minute `making of' short as well as three behind-the-scene minis focusing on each of the principle characters/actors. It's a solid collection - all a bit short - but much appreciated. For the sake of clarity, this is a Mandarin-spoken language motion picture with English subtitles.

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED. While it may not go down in history as the best adaptation of the famed French novel Les Liaisons Dangereuses, it certainly should earn marks for being one of the best looking. So very much of it looks stunning on the silver screen, and DANGEROUS LIAISONS utilizes three exceptional talents in performances that deserve recognition. Cheung and Zhang have always been stunning to look at, and Jang Dong-kun should be no sore spot for the ladies. Excellent period detail and sparkling cinematography fill out the picture, though the film does grind to a halt when not truly focused on the main characters and the illicit passions.

In the interests of fairness, I'm pleased to disclose that the fine folks at Well Go USA provided me with an advance DVD screener of DANGEROUS LIAISONS by request for the expressed purposes of completing this review.
12 of 15 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x91e049cc) out of 5 stars A Stylish Literary Adaptation Updates A Classic Tale To 1930's Shanghai 8 Feb. 2013
By K. Harris - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Blu-ray
The 18th-century French novel "Les Liaisons Dangereuses" by Pierre Choderlos de Laclos has had a number of interpretations within my lifetime. A brilliant tale of manipulation and sexual politics, the story basks in a gleeful unpleasantness that only hints at the possibility of moral redemption. It is a clear-eyed view of the power of gamesmanship and societal gender inequality with the two protagonists waging a war that will undermine many an innocent party. Who will be the victor? Who will be the victim? And is the ultimate prize even worth winning? The original story is as much about a time and a place, though, with its dissection of the decadence and debauchery of the French aristocracy prior to the Revolution. So, it may seem like a bold move to shift the action to Shanghai in the 1930s. But while the political climate of the era may not match up exactly, the opulence of the period more than compensates. And if you like the story, this relatively faithful adaptation has a lot to recommend it (even if it plays it a bit safe).

I, however, was more than willing to settle in for another adaptation! It's been a while since anyone has taken on the illicit tale. Still probably the best known version of "Dangerous Liaisons" is Stephen Frears' piece based on Christopher Hampton's play (which was a working of the novel). This 1988 film was a major player at the Academy Awards and was quickly followed by Milos Forman's "Valmont" in 1989 and the modernization "Cruel Intentions" in 1999. Director Hur Jin Ho doesn't veer far from the source material with this version of the film, so those familiar with the plotting will know pretty much what to expect. Those with nothing to compare it to might be a bit more engaged as the wicked interplay is always a delight. And whether or not you prefer a previous version (Glenn Close will always be my ideal Marquise de Merteuil), this film is certainly a visual splendor. The staging, sets, and costumes are impressive and memorable.

Here, the formidable Cecilia Cheung plays the conniving mistress of this piece. An immensely complex character, her initial goals are surprisingly straightforward and petty. A man who has wronged her has decided to take a blushing virgin as his bride. Cheung enlists a charming lothario (played by Jang Dong Gun) to arrive at the scene first and perform the deflowering. While this type of contest is just up his alley, he becomes distracted from the mission by a virtuous woman (Zhang Ziyi) who seems immune to his powers of seduction. But still he pushes forward to please Cheung which begins a cycle of mischievousness and duplicity that has long range repercussions to all involved. As love, betrayal, sport and emotions become wrapped up in a convoluted ball for the major players, the results will not be pretty.

With such a strong concept and vivid villains, "Dangerous Liaisons" never feels particularly real. Most of the characters are fairly one-dimensional. For example, as much as I love Cheung, she never shows the inherent vulnerability beneath the polished veneer (something Close nailed in scenes as simple as her removing her make-up). But still, I enjoyed watching this version with the dazzling visuals of Shanghai and the gorgeous interiors. There may sometimes be more style than substance, but what a fantastic style it is. A literary adaptation for adults, if you like period drama--I'd certainly give this a look. It doesn't stand as the definitive "Dangerous Liaisons" for me, but it's well executed and fun. KGHarris, 2/13.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x91e32060) out of 5 stars (4.5 Stars) A wonderful Chinese adaptation of the popular French novel, Hur Jin-Ho's "Dangerous Liaisons" is sexy & captivating! 30 Mar. 2013
By [KNDY] Dennis A. Amith - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Blu-ray
In 1782, Choderlos de Lacios published his French epistolary novel "Les Liaisons dangeruses" (The Dangerous Liaisons). The novel would inspire several films including the 1959 Roger Vadim film, a 1988 Stephen Frears film titled "Dangerous Liaisons", the 1989 film "Valmont" and the 1999 Roger Kumble film "Cruel Intentions".

In Korea, the film would lead to a 2003 film titled "Untold Scandal" by E J-yong and in 2012, a Chinese film by South Korean filmmaker Hur Jin-ho.

Hur Jin-ho is known for his films about love. From his 1998 hit film "Christmas in August", his 2001 film "One Fine Spring Day", "April Snow" (2005), "Happiness" (2007) and "A Good Rain Knows" (2009). The latter film which would feature a Korean/China collaboration between their two main leads.

With his 2012 film "Dangerous Liaisons", Hur Jin-ho and screenwriter Geling Yan ("Xiu Xiu The Sent-Down Girl", "Forever Enthralled") wanted to do a film inspired by the original French novel but with the setting taking place in Shanghai during the 1930′s. And also continuing a collaboration between Hong Kong actress Cecilia Cheung ("The Promise", "Running on Karma", "Shaolin Soccer"), Jang Dong-Gun ("The Promise", "The Coast Guard", "The Warrior's Way", "Tae Guk Gi: Brotherhood of War") and Chinese actress Zhang Zi Yi ("Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon", "Hero", "House of Flying Daggers").

VIDEO:

"Dangerous Liaisons" is presented in 1080p High Definition (16:9 widescreen). The film looks fantastic in HD with skintones that are natural, detail on clothing, hair, vehicles that look amazing. But it's the close-ups that look stunning, thanks to the performances and style of shots that were taken. The film looks luxurious, the costume design captures 1930′s Shanghai thanks to the amount of research done for the film and the film looks amazing on Blu-ray!

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

"Dangerous Liaisons " is presented in Mandarin DTS-HD 5.1. For a dramatic film with a lot of dialogue, as one can expect from this film, dialogue is crystal clear from the center/front channels. Especially the music, including Chinese performances played on stage are clear. There are moments of crowd ambiance through the surround channels but this is primarily a dialogue-driven film.

Subtitles are in English and Chinese.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

"Dangerous Liaisons " come with the following special features:

Making of - (16:55) Interviews with the cast of "Dangerous Liaisons"
Behind-the-Scenes - (4:57) Behind-the-scene profiles with each of the three main talents: Cecilia Cheung, Jang Dong-gun and Zhang Ziyi.
Trailers - (6:56) Theatrical trailers for "Dangerous Liaisons".

JUDGMENT CALL:

Featuring a spectacular performance by Jang Dong-gun, Cecilia Cheung and Zhang Ziyi, "Dangerous Liaisons" is a film in which we have never seen these talents take part in before.

While the film reunites "The Promise" (2005) talents Korean actor Jang Dong-gun and Hong Kong actress Cecilia Cheung, the two go farther than they ever have in their performance as Jang Dong-gun as Xie Yifan must make the crowd believe he is the ultimate amoral playboy that would make women's hearts swoon and eventually conquer them.

Cecilia Cheung's performance as Mo Jieyu must portray the role of a powerful woman who never will be conquered. An amoral woman who loves to control situations and also a woman who knows that she has control over Xie Yifan, the man who has always lusted for her.

And while there have been a good number of film adaptations based on Choderlos de Lacios' "Les Liaisons dangeruses", the adaptation of 1930′s Shanghai with exquisite costume design, luxurious settings is a sight to be hold. Both Jang Dong-gun and Cecilia Cheung look as if they belong in that era and they sell the audience of the characters they are portraying, even though these two speak different languages and are from different countries, they make it happen.

For actress Cecilia Cheung, known for taking on comedic, fantasy or feudal-based films, the actress goes all out in playing the vixen. Even smoking all day literally (despite quitting smoking five years ago) in order to play the role, having watched this actress for well-over a decade now, I have to say this is her finest performance yet (considering I have felt her performance on "Fly Me to Polaris" as her breakthrough drama acting role).

And as for Zhang Ziyi, she has taken on many roles in her career over the last ten years, but this role required her to be reserved and later emotional, it was a different role for her to play but she also shines in this film.

But "Dangerous Liaisons" is a fascinating film for director Hur Jin-ho to take on. Always known for his love stories, "Dangerous Liaisons" is about a man who is the ultimate playboy because he can never have the woman that he really wants, but when he engages in a bet with that woman to conquer the cautious Fenyu, he realizes that he may have discovered his one true love. But at the same time, he's a man that has long lusted after Mo Jieyu. Which will he give into... love or lust?

And in an interesting juxtaposition, Mo Jieyu is a woman who doesn't want to love, enjoys being lusted over by Xie Yifan but also not wanting to lose him to any woman. These characters are fascinating and the way that Hur Jin-ho had ended the film, different from other adaptations, is appropriate and it works quite well.

As for the Blu-ray release, the Blu-ray looks amazing. Detail of clothing, vehicles to close-ups of the characters are full of detail. Colors are vibrant and many scenes are well-lit and for the most part, cinematography by Byung-seo Kim is fantastic. Lossless soundtrack is primarily center and front-channel driven as one would expect from a dialogue driven film with ambiance of crowds being heard in the surrounds when needed. And as for special features, there are a few, including a making-of that really shows how challenging it was to make the film for the talents involved.

A wonderful Chinese adaptation of the popular French novel, Hur Jin-Ho's "Dangerous Liaisons" is sexy, captivating and a fantastic film!
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x939c6bf4) out of 5 stars Dangerous Liaisons 29 Jun. 2014
By Wunders - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
This movie was incredible. I was initially doubtful about how this movie would be overall but I loved it. I can honestly say it is one of my favorite movies. I liked it better than Cruel Intentions, which surprised me. The clothing and scenery are absolutely breath taking. I admittedly cried a few times watching this movie. Xie Yifan comes in as a charming seducer, and you become torn with wanting him to not succeed with the seduction of Du Fenyu and wanting him to succeed so that they can fall in love and live happily ever after. Miss Mo is so completely devious in her scheming, it's actually a little difficult to understand her character, but you can't help but keep watching just to find out what's going to happen next!
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x924b984c) out of 5 stars Elegant presentation but somewhat flawed... 20 Jun. 2014
By Jon - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
This movie features a nice cast, Cecilia Cheung and Zhang Ziyi are absolutely beautiful. Costuming and cinematography is first rate.

The plot differs from the "Dangerous Liasons" with Glenn Close and John Malkovich. There is no nudity or on screen sex so if you were looking for that, this movie will disappoint you. Among the various versions of the movie floating, the Glenn Close film is the better one, but it is not available in high def...
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