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The Chef, The Actor, The Scoundrel 
Written by: on July 10th, 2014

Theatrical Release Date: China, 2013
Director: Hu Guan
Writers: Run Nian Dong, Hu Guan
Cast: Ye Liu, Hanyu Zhang, Bo Huang, Jing Liang, Chie Tanaka

BluRay released: June 24th, 2014
Approximate running time: 108 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 Widescreen / 1080 Progressive / MPEG-4 AVC
Rating: NR
Sound: DTS-HD 5.1 Mandarin / Japanese, Dolby Digital Stereo Mandarin / Japanese
Subtitles: English
BluRay Release: Well Go USA
Region Coding: Region A
Retail Price: $29.98

Synopsis: During the Second World War four Chinese undercover agents are given the task of recovering a cure for the cholera outbreak that was unleashed on the Chinese by Japanese.

Right from the opening moments it is quickly apparently that the filmmakers are not trying to create anything remotely based in reality. This film’s opening moment start off in animation before shifting towards black and white. Also during this moment what we see is a masked bandit who is waiting for a stagecoach carry a very special delivery arrives. Is this a film set in the old west or during a much later time? This is first on many misdirection’s that this film uses to keep things just a tad off kilter.

From there the stagecoach is overtaken by the bandit and it crashes and the story then takes place the bulk of the film in a restaurant. Up to this point the scoundrel (aka the bandit) was the only character of three from this film’s title to make an appearance. That is until the action shifts inside of the restaurant and we are introduced to The Chef who also just happens to be fluent in Japanese and their traditions, The Chef’s odd looking wife and The Actor. Also in this restaurant are two Japanese prisoners, one them who is a scientist who also has the knowledge how to the cure the cholera. Naturally when they find out what the prisoner has to offer The Chef, The Actor and The Scoundrel all want to use said hostage for maximum gain.

From a production stand point one would be hard pressed to fault any of area of this film. The film’s visuals are rock solid, pacing is never an issues, though the film does have a nasty habit of twisting and turning without notice. And performance wise everyone is appropriately over the top and then some. With this film’s most memorable performance coming from Jing Liang (Eastern Bandits) in the role of The Chef’s wife. Without giving to much away she gives the most rounded performance as she like the majority of the cast have to often act crazy, but then on the flip-side she also gives the strongest impression when it comes to more dramatic moments in this film.

Overall centering a film on a biological weapon and playing most of what occurs for laughs is going to be a bitter pill that the majority of viewers will not want to swallow. Also when it comes to said humor, the majority of it is sophomoric and crass. If you can get past this, then everything else this film has to throw at you will be an easy ride that at times can be a lot of fun.

The BluRay:

The Chef, The Actor, The Scoundrel comes on a 25 GB single layer BluRay. The film is presented in a 1080 progressive widescreen. Colors look vibrant, flesh tones look accurate, details look sharp and black levels look great throughout. There are no issues with compression or DNR.

This release comes with two audio options, a DTS-HD 5.1 mix in Mandarin / Japanese and a Dolby Digital Stereo mix in Mandarin / Japanese. Both audio mixes sound great throughout. Range wise this film takes full advantage of the sound spectrum. Dialog always comes throughout clearly and everything sounds balanced. Also included with this release are removable English subtitles.

Extras for this release include a trailer for the film (1 minute 42 seconds – 1080 Progressive Widescreen, in Mandarin / Japanese with English subtitles), a blooper reel (1 minute 36 seconds – 1080 Progressive Widescreen) and a ‘Making of’ segment (11 minutes 19 seconds – 1080 Progressive Widescreen, in Chinese with English subtitles). This is a standard PR extra that contains comments from cast and plenty of onset footage. Also included with this release are trailers for other titles also available from Well Go USA. Overall The Chef, The Actor, The Scoundrel gets a solid audio / video presentation from Well Go USA.

Note: This film is also being released by Well Go USA on DVD.

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