Written by: Michael Den Boer on August 15th, 2015
Theatrical Release Date: Hong Kong, 2014
Director: David Lam
Writers: Ho Wa Wong, David Lam
Cast: Louis Koo, Ka Tung Lam, Dada Chan, Michael Wong, Janelle Sing, Hoi-Pang Lo, Stephen Au, Kwok Cheung Tsan, Siu-Fai Cheung, Ying Kwan Lok, Kai Chi Liu
BluRay released: August 18th, 2015
Approximate running time: 92 Minutes
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 Widescreen / 1080 Progressive / MPEG-4 AVC
Sound: DTS-HD 5.1 Cantonese, Dolby Digital Stereo Cantonese
BluRay Release: Well Go USA
Region Coding: Region A
Retail Price: $29.98
Synopsis: The ICAC is a division of law enforcement that has been given the daunting task of taking down a secret organization that plans to commit that largest financial fraud in the history of Hong Kong.
Z Storm was co-written and directed by David Lam whose other notable films include, The Great Kowloon Criminal Investigation and Women’s Prison. Also Z Storm would end a fifteen year gap in-between making films, with his previous Shao nu dang being released in 1999. Key collaborators on Z Storm include, cinematographer Tony Cheung (The Legend of the Drunken Master, Black Mask) and composer Anthony Chue (Invisible Target, City under Siege).
Content wise, this film is more of a melodrama then an action film. With its main action set piece saved for the film’s final act. Also when it comes good verse bad guys this is an area where the film is not a traditional as other similar themed Hong Kong films. And this has to do with the film’s main villain, whom only appears very briefly onscreen in the film’s final moments. This character has established a network of associates that goes well beyond those who work for underworld crime organizations. There are also those who work in law enforcement and government on his payroll. This of course leads to a few of the film’s twists and turns as just when one thinks that the organization is about to be exposed. Then another unforeseen collaborator steps in to divert the police attention and thus prolong the game of cat and mouse.
As mentioned before though law enforcement plays a large role in this film. Only those who work ICAC are to be fully trusted and in this regard they are the true good guys in this films. The best way to describe the ICAC, they are kind of like an internal affairs as they are also given the task of investigating other police officers. This tension between them and the rest of law enforcement lends itself well to the story at hand.
From a production this film’s narrative is meticulously constructed and its conclusion though predictable, it is still satisfying. Another area of strength is when it comes to character back-story’s all the main players are sufficiently fleshed out. Also when it comes to pacing there is never an issues as this film has an ample amounts of surprises along the way which ensure that there is never any lulls.
From a performance stand point the entire cast more than hold their own in their respective roles. The most entertaining performance in this film comes from Michael Wong (Triple Tap, Nightfall) in the role of this film’s main villain. Another performance of note is Dada Chan (Vulgaria) in the role of Angel, a young woman who suddenly finds herself being exploited by those who helped save her life. And last but certainly not least is Louis Koo’s (Connected, Drug War) performance in the role of William Luk Che Lim, the lead inspector for the ICAC. This character is driven by the tragic death of his wife.
Z Storm comes on a 25 GB single layer BluRay. The film is presented in a 1080 progressive widescreen. The image looks crisp, colors and flesh tones look accurate, black levels and shadow detail remain consistent and strong throughout. Also there are no issues with compression or DNR.
This release comes with two audio options, a DTS-HD 5.1 mix in Cantonese and a Dolby Digital stereo mix in Cantonese. Both audio mixes sounds clean, clear, balanced and robust when they need too. With the obvious stronger of these two audio mixes being the DTS-HD 5.1 mix which delivers a solid listening experience that show a tremendous amount of range. Also this audio mix does a great job with the more ambient aspects of the soundtrack. Also included with this release are removable English subtitles that are easy to read and follow.
Extras for this release include, a trailer for the film (1 minute 36 seconds, in Cantonese / English with English subtitles), three interviews – the first interview with Louis Koo (5 minutes 38 seconds, in Cantonese with English subtitles), Gordon Lam (11 minute 45 seconds, in Cantonese with English subtitles) and Michael Wong & minutes 27 seconds, in Cantonese with English subtitles) and a ‘Making of’ featurette (5 minutes 12 seconds, in Cantonese with English subtitles).
Content wise, the extra titled ‘Making of’ is your standard promo where those involved discuss the plot. In between comments there are clips from the film shown.
Note: This film is also being released by Well Go USA on DVD.