Directed by: Daryl Duke
Stars: Bryan Brown, Joan Chen, John Stanton
Language: English, German (2tracks) | Subtitles: English, German (embed)
Country: Usa | Imdb Info | Ar: 2.35:1 | Brrip
Description: Historical fiction set against the backdrop of Hong Kong in its early years of British rule.
1.70GB | 127:35mins | 1280×544 | mkv
An unfortunately terrible film adapted (somewhat faithfully) from one of James Clavell’s lesser novels. The story, fictionalized but pretty close to real history, is solid. The cast is amazing. At least one of the screenwriters, the late John Briley, was an Oscar-winner (for Gandhi) with a very solid track record.
Where it goes wrong is in the shoddy handling of the material. The budget was probably lower than it needed to be, and it’s directed and edited like it was made for TV, not the big screen. Which makes things that could be, and should be, epic come across as silly or petty. Details that gave weight and historical texture in the book are jammed into the movie frantically, making them either cringeworthy or unintentionally hilarious. (Bryan Brown, doing the absolute best he can, which is quite good indeed, telling his son “you’ll wipe your arse” just kind of comes out of nowhere, and feels random. In the book, it was a rather interesting point of the difference between Chinese and British cultures in the 1840s, and suggested quite a lot of other differences and why westerners could become so enamored of the east.)
Perhaps the most interesting story here is Joan Chen. She had been a film star in her native China, but was unknown in the US. She was cast in this movie after being “discovered” simply walking on the sidewalk by the producer, and her second, American, career was launched.