Written by: Michael Den Boer on August 30th, 2016
Theatrical Release Date: China / Hong Kong, 2016
Director: Sammo Kam-Bo Hung
Writer: Jun Jiang
Cast: Sammo Kam-Bo Hung, Jacqueline Chan, Qinqin Li, Andy Lau, James Lee Guy, Tomer Oz, Dean Shek, Karl Maka, Hark Tsui, Biao Yuen
BluRay released: September 6th, 2016
Approximate running time: 99 Minutes
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 Widescreen / 1080 Progressive / MPEG-4 AVC
Sound: DTS-HD 5.1 Cantonese, Dolby Digital Stereo Cantonese
Subtitles: English, Chinese
BluRay Release: Well Go USA
Region Coding: Region A
Retail Price: $29.98
The Bodyguard was directed by Sammo Hung whose other notable films as a director include, Spooky Encounters, The Prodigal Son, Wheels on Meals, Shanghai Express and Eastern Condors. Key collaborators on The Bodyguard include, cinematographer Ardy Lam (Bullet in the Head, Once Upon a Time in China) and composers Ngai Lun Wong and Janet Yung (Vulgaria).
With almost two hundred films appeared in as an actor and three dozen films in the role of the director. It is safe to say that anyone with even a passing interest in martial arts and action cinema from Hong Kong knows who Sammo Hung is! And though he has now worked in his sixth decade in the film industry there is no sign of him retiring from actor anytime soon. When it comes to directing things have not been as active and after a nineteen break he returns to the director’s chair with his latest film The Bodyguard.
The film features a strong premise, a former agent for the Chinese Government named Ding becomes involvement with a young girl he has befriended leads to him being targeted by a crime boss and his thugs. And to further complicate matters Ding suffers from memory loss. Which not only puts him in further danger, but this leads to those around him ending up in the cross heirs of the crime boss.
The narrative is well constructed and the characters well defined and their motivations are never in doubt. There are no grey areas here, either a character is a good guy or they are a bad guy. And when it comes to pacing there are no major issues.
And when it comes to said action set pieces there is an ample amount of them in this film. With a few of the more memorable action related moments being, a scene where the father of young girl that is friends with Ding is forced to steal a bag from Russian gangsters. Of course this is not an easy task as the bag is in a hotel room that has a ridiculous amount of surveillance and an army of thugs waiting to pounce anyone trying to pull off such a heist. This moment caps off with an exhilarating escape. Another stand out action moment includes, a scene where Ding who has finally reached his breaking point goes to crime bosses main hand out and then he proceeds to take on dozens of thugs by breaking their various limbs. There is a surprise twist to the end of this scene and to give away much more would ruin it.
Performance wise though the entire cast are very good in their respective roles. No performance shines brighter then Sammo Hung’s in the role of Ding. Other performances of notes include, Jacqueline Chan in the role of Cherry the young girl who befriends Ding, Andy Lau (Infernal Affairs) in the role of Cherry’s father and Jia-yi Feng in the role of a crime boss named Choi. Overall The Bodyguard is a fast paced film that finds that perfect balance between its action set pieces and more dramatic moments.
The Bodyguard comes on a 25 GB single layer BluRay. The film is presented in a 1080 progressive widescreen. Colors and flesh tones look accurate, black and contrast levels remain strong throughout and details look sharp. Also there are no issues with DNR or compression.
This release comes with two audio options, a DTS-HD 5.1 mix in Cantonese and a Dolby Digital stereo mix in Cantonese. The audio is in excellent shape, dialog always comes through clearly, everything sounds balanced and range wise the action scenes have the right amount of oomph. Also included with this release are removable English subtitles.
Extras for this release include, a trailer for the film and six behind the scenes segments, “An All-Star Cast with All-Star Support” (2 minutes 49 seconds), “Sammo Hung Kindness is his Calling Card” (2 minutes 35 seconds), “About the Characters” (2 minutes 33 seconds), “About the Action” (2 minutes 38 seconds), “A View of a Legend On and Off-Screen” (2 minutes 13 seconds) and “About the Girl (Jaqueline Chan)” (2 minutes 39 seconds). All of these extras are in Chinese and removable English subtitles have been included for them.
Rounding out the extras are trailers for Hi-Yah! Sizzle, Saving Mr. Wu and Rise of the Legend. Overall The Bodyguard gets a solid release from Well Go USA.
Note: This film is also being released by Well Go USA on DVD.