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No synopsis for The Detective.
For more about The Detective and the The Detective Blu-ray release, see the The Detective Blu-ray Review published by Dr. Svet Atanasov on August 22, 2011 where this Blu-ray release scored 3.5 out of 5.
Starring: Aaron Kwok, Kai Chi Liu, Siu-Ming Lau, Tak-bun Wong, Jo Kuk
Director: Oxide Pang Chun
» See full cast & crew
The Detective Blu-ray Review
Reviewed by Dr. Svet Atanasov, August 22, 2011
Winner of Film of Merit Award at the Hong Kong Film Critics Society Awards, Oxide Pang's "C+ jing taam" a.k.a "The Detective" (2007) arrives on Blu-ray courtesy of Hong Kong-based distributors Universe Laser & Video Co. Unfortunately, there are no supplemental features on this Blu-ray disc. In Cantonese and Thai, with optional English, Traditional Chinese, and Simplified Chinese subtitles for the main feature. Region-A "locked".
Bangkok, Thailand. Private detective Tam (Aaron Kwok, Throw Down, City Under Siege) gets into a lot of trouble when Lung (Shing Fui-Oi, The Killer, A Better Tomorrow), a local drunk, hands him a large amount of money and the photo of a girl whom he insists is trying to kill him. He begins looking for the girl but soon becomes frustrated with the case because he can't get any leads.
When Tam begins questioning the girl's best friends, things really get bizarre - the men and women start dropping like flies and Tam is nearly killed in a freak accident. Convinced that there is a serial killer on the loose, Tam approaches Chak (Liu Kai-Chi, The Stool Pigeon, The Detective 2), an old policeman buddy who does not mind leaking confidential information for the right amount of money.
But the deeper Tam digs into the mysterious girl's past, the more confused he becomes. Eventually he visits Lung's place, but the drunk can't remember ever talking to him. When Tag shows him the photo with the girl, he loses his mind.
Oxide Pang's The Detective is a dark, very stylish thriller that often crosses into horror territory, where detective Tam is left struggling to figure out exactly who or what he is after. There are tiny bits of humor as well, but they are added up mostly for flavor.
The initial impression the film creates is that its story will climax in a familiar fashion, but the more detective Tam learns about the girl from the photo, the more fragmented and unpredictable the film becomes. A serious subplot is also introduced well into the final third of the film, when it appears that all of the scattered pieces of the story are finally properly aligned.
The film's greatest strength, however, is the tense, at times suffocating atmosphere (which should not be surprising as this is also the case with most Pang Brothers films). While looking for the mysterious girl, detective Tam ends up in some truly creepy places populated with very odd characters. Like the viewer, he often tries to make sense of what is happening around him, but it isn't easy.
Kwok is the perfect man for this stylish piece of Hong Kong neo-noir. His character is a believably naive, extremely easy to like amateur who does not look or act like a clown by the time the final credits roll. However, a few of the supporting actors are miscast.
Decha Srimantra's (Re-Cycle, The Storm Warriors) cinematography is wonderful. The images from the busy streets of Bangkok are imbued with remarkably lush yellows and browns that feel like the perfect answer for the deep and cold shadows that follow the detective. There are also some very effective camera cuts and zooms during the chase sequences.
With the exception of the rather lengthy epilogue, which feels out of place, Curran Pang's (Infernal Affairs Trilogy) editing is brisk and clever. Naturally, the film moves at a steady pace and maintains a convincing visual personality without affecting the integrity of the story.
A trendy music score, courtesy of Jadet Chawang and Payont Permsith, also compliments the film.
Note: In 2008, The Detective won Film of Merit Award at the Hong Kong Film Critics Society Awards.
The Detective Blu-ray, Video Quality
Presented in an aspect ratio of 2.35:1, encoded with MPEG-4 AVC and granted a 1080p transfer, Oxide Pang's The Detective arrives on Blu-ray courtesy of Hong Kong-based distributors Universe Laser & Video Co.
The high-definition transfer is very strong. Detail is excellent throughout the entire film - even during the very dark sequences where detective Tam is seen wandering the back alleys of Bangkok - and clarity pleasing. Contrast fluctuates, but the inconsistencies are intentional. Colors also fluctuate - the daylight scenes favor heavy yellows and browns, while the nighttime sequences feature prominent dark greens and heavy blacks. Edge-enhancement is not a serious issue of concern and there are no traces of harmful noise corrections. Banding and aliasing do not plague the high-definition transfer either. There are, however, a couple of sequences where minor compression artifacts are visible. Still, the presentation is indeed very convincing. (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).
The Detective 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 (with large portions of Thai). For the record, Universe Laser & Video Co. have provided optional English, Traditional Chinese, and Simplified Chinese subtitles for the main feature. When turned on, they split the image frame and the black bar below it.
The Cantonese DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 track services the film exceptionally well. It has a very impressive dynamic amplitude while surround activity is amongst the best I've heard on an Asian Blu-ray release this year. Balance is also handled convincingly - there are no sudden dropouts and the special effects do not overshadow the dialog. There are no problematic pops, cracks, or hissings to report in this review. The English translation, however, could have been a lot more convincing. I noticed quite a few small spelling and syntax errors.
The Detective Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Unfortunately, there are no supplemental features on this Blu-ray disc.
The Detective Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
Oxide Pang's The Detective is a very dark and very stylish piece of Hong Kong neo-noir. It is true, it is not perfect, but it tries hard to be different and it almost succeeds. With a slightly more coherent script it could have been a fantastic film, rather than a good one. The presentation is very good, but the Blu-ray disc is Region-A "locked", so keep that in mind if you reside in a Region-B territory and wish to add The Detective to your collection. RECOMMENDED.
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