Badges of Fury (Bu er shen tan) (2013)

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Released 20-Nov-2013

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Action Comedy Featurette-Behind The Scenes-Acting Breakthroughs
Featurette-Making Of-The Queens and the Stars
Featurette-Making Of-The Comedy
More…-Blooper Reel
Featurette-Wen Zhang Action
Theatrical Trailer
Trailer-Eastern Eye trailers x 4
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2013
Running Time 93:50 (Case: 97)
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Wong Tsz Ming
Studio
Distributor

Madman Entertainment
Starring Jet Li
Wen Zhang
Michelle Chen
Liu Shi Shi
Liu Yan
Case Amaray-Transparent
RPI ? Music Wong Ying Wah


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None Mandarin Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.35:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits Yes, Outtakes with closing credits

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

     When an undercover police operation is botched, veteran policeman Huang Feihong (Jet Li), his impetuous young partner Wang Bu Er (Wen Zhang) and their boss Angela (Michelle Chen) are reprimanded. But they soon become involved in a case where a number of men have been killed; the common element is that all the victims died smiling and all had been involved romantically with actress Liu Jinshi (Liu Shi Shi) and her glamorous and seductive sister Dai Yi Yi (Liu Yan). But can the police team stop their squabbling long enough to solve the case?

     Anyone familiar with the Hong Kong action comedies of the 1980s starring Jackie Chan or Sammo Hung, such as the Lucky Stars series or films like Project A (1987), will be familiar with the tone of Badges of Fury. There is broad comedy, often at the expense of the female characters, in-jokes, cameos by a range of up and coming and veteran actors (including Stephen Fung although few others will be familiar to western audiences) plus athletic action sequences and stunts.

     The stunt coordinator on Badges of Fury is Corey Yuen, who has been working in the industry for over 40 years, including with Sammo Hung on Eastern Condors (1987) and more recently on historical productions such as Shaolin (2011) and Wu Dang (2013). Badges of Fury uses a great deal of wire work, and the skills of Jet Li are not fully utilised, but the fights are loud and energetic with lots of destruction of furniture and fittings as bodies thud and crash around the set although in keeping with the comedic tone of the film there is no blood and no-one really gets hurt in all the mayhem. Perhaps the best fight is this film’s take on the traditional kung fu fight in a tea house where benches, tables and just about everything else on the set is used in the fight and destroyed.

     Badges of Fury is director Wong Tsz Ming’s first film and, while the extras show what a good time everyone was having on set, the film could have benefited from a tighter control. The broad comedy is quite silly and would play better in Hong Kong than with western audiences and the film does nothing that has not been done before, and better, but Badges of Fury is light-hearted and entertaining and the fights worth watching.

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Transfer Quality

Video

     Badges of Fury is presented in an aspect ratio of 2.35:1, the original theatrical ratio, and is 16x9 enhanced.

     The print looks good, showing off the stunning Hong Kong locations. It is sharp with good detail and the colours are pleasantly natural, except for that digital yellow tinge with lights in the evening scenes. Blacks and shadow detail are fine, brightness and contrast consistent and skin tones, except for the above mentioned yellowness at night, fine.

     Other than slight ghosting and some aliasing against slotted doors and blinds, artefacts and marks are absent.

    English subtitles are available in a yellow font. They are clear and easy to read except on the few occasions when they went by very quickly. I did not notice any spelling or grammatical errors.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

     Audio is a Mandarin Dolby Digital 5.1 track at 448 Kbps.

     This is quite an aggressive audio mix. Dialogue was clear and centred while the crash and thud of the impact hits were loud and deep. The surrounds constantly carried music, impacts, debris and engines and there were some panning and directional effects. The subwoofer made itself felt with thumps, hits, engines, thunder and music, and threw in some other effects such as heightened heartbeats. It drew attention to itself, but that was the intention.

     The music score by Wong Ying Wah was pretty generic.

     The lip synchronisation was occasionally off, and I think that some Cantonese speakers in the cast had trouble with the Mandarin dialogue.

     The layer chance was at 65:12, creating a slight pause during a scene change.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Acting Breakthroughs (2:44)

     An extended promo for the film, but showing some of the wire stunts and clowning around on set.

Blooper Reel (1:31)

     More clowning around on set; some footage repeated from the extra above.

The Queens and the Stars (13:53)

     First part of a making of, this concentrates upon the three female leads: Liu Shi Shi, on her role and crying, Michelle Chen, on her action scenes, and Liu Yan, on costumes and the look of her character. A whole range of actors who had cameos explain their roles. Also includes on set footage and interviews with the director, costume designer, action choreographer and a lot of the cast, although Jet Li is absent.

The Comedy (14:59)

     The second part of the making of, this concentrates upon the director’s and actors’ ideas about acting in a comedy and clowning around on set. Focus is on Wen Zhang; basically the same participants as the first part.

Wen Zhang Action (2:57)

     The actor preparing for and performing an action sequence, plus a comment from experienced action choreographer Corey Yuen.

Theatrical Trailer (1:34)

     Emphasises the action.

Trailers

     Trailers for other Eastern Eye films from Madman: The Tower (1:37), Ace Attorney (1:36), Wu Dang (1:18) and Doomsday Book (1:03).

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

     From what I can see in reviews the extras are arranged differently on the Region 1 US version of Badges of Fury but I don’t think they get anything extra.

Summary

     Badges of Fury could have benefited from tighter control by the first time director and the film does nothing that has not been done before, and better. But it is still entertaining enough and the fights are worth watching so fans of Hong Kong action comedies should find something to enjoy.

     The DVD has good video and loud audio. The extras are worth watching once.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Ray Nyland (the bio is the thing)
Thursday, February 13, 2014
Review Equipment
DVDSony BDP-S580, using HDMI output
DisplayLG 55inch HD LCD. This display device has not been calibrated. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderNAD T737. This audio decoder/receiver has not been calibrated.
AmplificationNAD T737
SpeakersStudio Acoustics 5.1

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