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The Black Sheep Affair (1998) [DVD]
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DVD Special Features:
Chui Man Chuk Interview
Biography and Filmography for principal stars
Wu Shu Showcase
Duel language presentation (English and Cantonese with Subtitles)
16:9 Anamorphic Version - enhanced for widscreen TV's
In The Black Sheep Affair special forces agent Yim Dong (Chiu Man Chuk--the brilliant wu shu marital artist star of 1995's The Blade) is transferred to the fictional ex-Soviet Republic of Lavernia, actually Hungary, where the explosive Now You're Dead (1998) was filmed. Soon he has arrested Mishima, played by Hoi Lin who delivers a chilling performance as a ruthless Japanese terrorist who believes he is Christ returned to bring bloody redemption. Before long Mishima's fanatical followers are causing mayhem, while in a bittersweet sub-plot Yim revives his relationship with the girl he loved in Beijing before the 1989 uprising.
The comparatively low budget shows occasionally, and even in the Cantonese version all the Lavernians are dreadfully dubbed with American voices, one duplicitous official coming across like a camp Oliver Reed. Against that there is an attempt to offer some political substance, and the action--a mixture of martial arts and gunplay--is fast, furious and stunningly staged, so that even as it goes ludicrously OTT it remains exhilarating. The "shoot-the-hostages" finale reaches an emotional intensity and breaks rules no Hollywood action flick would dare, turning into a John Woo-like slaughterhouse which makes the likes of Die Hard (1988) look tame.
On the DVD: The end titles carry the Dolby Digital logo, so why both the Cantonese subtitled and English dubbed versions of a 1998 film are presented in two-channel mono is a mystery. The anamorphically enhanced 1.77:1 image is good but not exceptional, and exhibits some clear compression artefacts. The "music promo" is essentially one of Hong Kong Legends' own specially-made trailers, and is accompanied by more trailers for a further five films. The photo gallery is pointless but the text biographies of the two main stars are detailed enough to be interesting. Two minutes of poor quality video show Chiu Man Chuk demonstrating some wu shu moves, while a four-minute interview conducted at the same time via a translator for French television does little more than reveal the star as an amiable chap. Several of the features are also present on the DVD of Chiu Man Chuk's Body Weapon (1999). --Gary S DalkinSee all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
[Bi Xie Lan Tian]
(Hong Kong - 1998)
Aspect ratio: 1.85:1
Theatrical soundtrack: Dolby Digital
Allun Lam Wai-lun's high velocity thriller is a total blast: Ultra-hunk Chiu Man-cheuk is the newly-appointed bodyguard to the Chinese ambassador of 'Lavernia' who foils an escape bid by a Japanese cult leader (Andrew Lin Hoi), wanted for terrorist conspiracy. Lin subsequently orders his highly-trained followers to launch a blistering attack on Chiu, and causes maximum chaos throughout the capital by arranging the bombing of several prime targets. Cue tons of explosions and martial arts combat, choreographed with breathless abandon by the legendary Ching Siu-tung (A CHINESE GHOST STORY, ZU WARRIORS OF THE MAGIC MOUNTAIN, etc.). The final hand-to-hand showdown between Chiu and Lin will leave uninitiated viewers slack-jawed with amazement, if they haven't already been struck dumb by the high-velocity action scenes which punctuate the rest of the narrative.
The script's heartfelt examination of Chinese identity and patriotism post-Tiananmen propels both plot and characters, and the acting is well up to the mark: Park Hung-kwen's dynamic cinematography makes a virtue of Chiu's physical beauty and athletic prowess, and does much the same for Lin's black-hearted villain, especially in the aftermath of an attempt on his life in the prison showers and the sacreligious moment when he poses in front of a life-size drawing of Christ on the wall of his cell. While the supporting cast provides sterling back-up, the non-Asian actors are amateurish BEYOND BELIEF, and they've been dubbed by voice artists who wouldn't pass muster in a school play, let alone a supposedly professional movie like this! Par for the course in HK cinema, I'm afraid.
See it for the action set-pieces, breathless cinematic virtuosity and Chiu's athletic prowess. Fabulous stuff!!
Delivery was really quick too....i ordered it on sunday evening and it wsa in my dvd player on tuesday night!
My reasons to watch this were purely to see Shu Qi I hold my hands up guilty as charged I just wanted to watch her and her part isn’t the best she does well but has another whiney role she’s still cute as ever but it could have been anyone in her role, now the action was good not all of it some were badly staged and some of the gunplay was to OTT even for HK but fights like the train station (or subway?) were excellent Chiu Man Chuk is a talented martial artists pity he hasn’t had the right movies (body weapon anyone) but his role is great throughout and the action he is involved in is great sometimes a little OTT again but not too much to spoil .
I really wish I could put my finger on the thing that’s stops it being a better movie as ive said the action acting etc is all up to par so why is it still average I don’t know the flow and consisdenses I guess.
I give this 3 out 5 for action and Shu Qui and Chiu Man Chuk but only 2 out of 5 as a movie wish i could give it more but if you want an entertaining movie while watching and are prepared to feel the need for something else after its finished, check it out.