Badges of Fury (Bu er shen tan) (Blu-ray) (2013)

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Released 26-Feb-2014

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Action Comedy Featurette-Making Of-The Guys / The Girls / Wen Zhang Action / Funny Stuff
Featurette-Behind The Scenes-The Queens and the Stars
Theatrical Trailer
Trailer-Go Well US trailers x 3
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2013
Running Time 97:46
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By Wong Tsz Ming
Studio
Distributor

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


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None Mandarin DTS HD Master Audio 5.1
English DTS HD Master Audio 5.1
Mandarin Dolby Digital 2.0
English Dolby Digital 2.0
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.35:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 1080p
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English Smoking Yes, outtakes with end credits
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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Plot Synopsis

     I recently reviewed the DVD release of Badges of Fury on this site here. The plot summary is taken from that review.

     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, using the MPEG-4 AVC code.

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

     There is some slight aliasing against vertical lines such as at 64:45 but otherwise artefacts and marks are absent.

    English subtitles are available in a white font which are sometimes hard to read against light backgrounds – the yellow subs on the DVD were easier to read. 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 choices are Mandarin DTS- HD MA 5.1 and Dolby Digital 2.0 plus English DTS- HD MA 5.1 and Dolby Digital 2.0. I listened to the Mandarin audio and only sampled the English dub, which was pretty poor.

     This is an aggressive audio mix. Dialogue was clear and centred while the crash and thud of the impact hits were loud and resounding. 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 fairly generic.

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

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

Extras

Previews

    These trailers play on start-up and can also be selected from the menu: Special ID (1:29), Wrath of Vajra (3:00) and On the Job (2:07). A Go Well US promotion (1:00) also plays on start-up.

Making Of (26:13)

     This consists of four sections:

    The Guys: An EPK concentrating upon the male stars Jet Li and Wen Zhang clowning around but it also shows some of the wire enhanced stunts.

    The Girls: An EPK concentrating upon the female stars Liu Shi Shi, Michelle Chen and Liu Yan.

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

     Funny Stuff: Concentrates upon the director’s and actors’ ideas about acting in a comedy and clowning around on set although the focus is on Wen Zhang.

Behind the Scenes: The Queens and the Stars (13:55)

     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 also explain their roles. Includes on set footage and interviews with the director, costume designer, action choreographer and a lot of the cast, although Jet Li is absent.

Theatrical Trailer (1:39)

     Emphasises the action rather than the comedy.

R4 vs R1

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

     This all region release is identical to the US version, including Go Well USA promotion and FBI anti-piracy warning.

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 video and audio are good. The extras are worth watching once.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Ray Nyland (the bio is the thing)
Tuesday, April 01, 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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