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One Nite in Mongkok(2004)
Mongkok, one of the most densely populated areas in the world, is the hotbed of illicit business. Lai Fu, a farm boy from Mainland China, is hired as a killer and is forced to enter into the coincidence of gangs of Mongkok. Lai Fu by chance meets a call girl from his home village, Dan, and saves her from the gangsters. The arrival of Lai Fu tenses the police and the triad. Under flashy neon lights, Lai Fu and Dan are rummaged around in Mongkok by police and gangsters. Who will find them first, the lawful force or the lawless one?
For more about One Nite in Mongkok and the One Nite in Mongkok Blu-ray release, see One Nite in Mongkok Blu-ray Review published by Dr. Svet Atanasov on December 5, 2012 where this Blu-ray release scored 3.5 out of 5.
Director: Derek Yee
Starring: Cecilia Cheung, Daniel Wu, Alex Fong, Suet Lam, Anson Leung, Alexander Chan
» See full cast & crew
One Nite in Mongkok Blu-ray Review
Reviewed by Dr. Svet Atanasov, December 5, 2012
Winner of Best Director and Best Screenplay Awards at the Hong Kong Film Awards, Derek Yee's "Wong gok hak yau" a.k.a "One Nite in Mongkok" (2004) arrives on Blu-ray courtesy of Hong Kong-based distributors Universe Laser & Video Co. There are no supplemental features on this release. In Cantonese and Mandarin, with optional English, Traditional Mandarin, and Simplified Mandarin subtitles for the main feature. Region-A "locked".
A brawl leads to the death of the son of a powerful triad boss in Mongkok, one of the most densely populated areas in the world. The boss of the killer immediately offers his condolences, but more blood is spilled and other gangsters are drawn into the conflict.
Small-time smuggler Liu (Suet Lam, Accident, Sparrow) is ordered to bring a hitman from the Mainland to kill one of the triad bosses. Shortly after, handsome country boy Lai Fu (Daniel Wu, Overheard, Protege) enters Mongkok. Liu and Lai Fu arrange to meet in a shady hotel packed with pimps and prostitutes.
While waiting for Liu to arrive in the hotel, Lai Fu rescues a young prostitute, Dan Dan (Cecilia Cheung, Running on Karma, Dangerous Liaisons), from the hands of an angry gangster (Alexander Chan) determined to teach her a very painful lesson. The two then have lunch. For a small fee, the Dan Dan also agrees to be Lai Fu's guide in Mongkok. She has absolutely no idea that he has been paid to kill another man.
Meanwhile, Detective Milo (Alex Fong, The Lost Bladesman) and his men arrest Liu and threaten to put him in jail if he does not tell them how to get the Mainland killer. At first Liu vows to remain loyal to his boss, but later on his angry wife changes his mind. He phones Lai Fu again, arranges a second meeting, and gives Milo a detailed description of the killer.
Derek Yee's One Nite in Mongkok is the type of film that gives me confidence that Mainland producers will not destroy everything that makes Hong Kong action films great. It is raw, dark, very intense, and impressively unapologetic film that looks modern but not kitschy (a very serious issue with a number of big-budget Hong Kong action films from recent years).
Structurally, One Nite in Mongkok reminds about another more recent, also quite impressive action thriller, Dante Lam's The Stool Pigeon. The events in the film are seen through the eyes of a number of different characters as they are forced to go against their principles for a variety of different reasons. As these characters begin testing their limits, the film gets darker and more nihilistic.
Something else worth mentioning is the fact that the film does not force the viewer to like any of these characters. In fact, after some of the initial positive impressions, Derek Yee slowly begins to erode their credibility by placing in them in all sorts of seriously compromising situations. This unusual treatment builds and sustains something of a neo-noir environment, Hong Kong style.
The acting is excellent across the board, with Derek Yee in particular playing the Mainland outsider to perfection. Cecilia Cheung also looks notably relaxed in front of the camera, though her character is most certainly not an easy one to play. Amongst the secondary character Alex Fong and Alexander Chan leave a memorable impression. Veteran actor Suet Lam, however, seems miscast as the bubbly smuggler.
One Nite in Mongkok was lensed by cinematographer Keung Kwok-Man (Daniel Lee's Moonlight Express, Tsui Hark's Seven Swords). The film was edited by Cheung Ka-Fai (Wilson Yip's Ip Man, Derek Yee's Shinjuku Incident).
Note: In 2005, One Nite in Mongkok won Best Director and Best Screenplay (Derek Yee) at the Hong Kong Film Awards. The film was also awarded Best Director and Film of Merit Awards by the Hong Kong Film Critics Society.
One Nite in Mongkok Blu-ray, Video Quality
Presented in an aspect ratio of 2.30:1, encoded with MPEG-4 AVC and granted a 1080p transfer, Derek Yee's One Nite in Mongkok arrives on Blu-ray courtesy of Hong Kong-based distributors Universe Laser & Video Co.
There is some extremely light surface noise that occasionally pops up. It is very easy to spot during the darker sequences (see screencapture #13 and 15), but even where light isn't restricted its presence can be felt. Generally speaking, color reproduction is satisfying, but it is clear that there is plenty of room for improvement here as well. The best news is that edge-enhancement is not an issue of concern. Clarity is also relatively good. Clearly, however, the high-definition transfer was struck from a dated source, most likely a master that was prepared some time ago for the film's DVD release, which is why some of the issues noted above have been retained. To sum it all up, One Nite in Mongkok looks better than it does on DVD, but there is obviously room for sizable improvements. (Note: This is a Region-A "locked" Blu-ray disc. Therefore, you must have a native Region-A or Region-Free PS3 or SA in order to access its content).
One Nite in Mongkok Blu-ray, Audio Quality
There are three audio tracks on this Blu-ray disc: Cantonese DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1, Cantonese Dolby Digital 5.1, and Mandarin Dolby Digital 5.1. For the record, Universe Laser & Video Co. have provided optional English, Traditional Mandarin, and Simplified Mandarin subtitles for the main feature. When turned on, they appear inside the image frame.
The Cantonese DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 track serves the film rather well. There are sequences where depth is very good, while intensity matches that of big-budget Hollywood productions. However, there is some room for improvement as far as balance is concerned as dynamic movement is a bit uneven. The dialog is consistently crisp, clean, and stable. Also, there are no pops, cracks, or distortions. The English translation is good, but I noticed a couple of small syntax errors.
One Nite in Mongkok Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Unfortunately, there are no supplemental features to be found on this Blu-ray disc.
One Nite in Mongkok Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
I've been waiting patiently for some of Derek Yee's early films to come out on Blu-ray, most notably Viva Erotica and The Truth About Jane and Sam, but so far only Full Throttle has transitioned. One Nite in Mongkok is one of the director's darker films, which is on par with the best films Dante Lam, Herman Yau, and Johnnie To have done in recent years. The film's presentation is far from flawless, but the Blu-ray is very attractively priced. RECOMMENDED.
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One Nite in Mongkok Blu-ray, News and Updates
• One Nite in Mongkok Blu-ray - July 27, 2011
Hong Kong-based distributors Universe Laser & Video Co. are set to release Derek Yee's crime thriller One Nite in Mongkok (2004), starring Daniel Wu (Protege), Cecilia Cheung (Running on Karma), and Alex Fong (Don't Open Your Eyes). In 2004, the film won four ...
One Nite in Mongkok Blu-ray Screenshots
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