Exiled (2006)

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Released 2-May-2007

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Western Main Menu Audio & Animation
Featurette-Making Of
Trailer-2 trailers
Trailer-Infernal Affairs, Breaking News, Shadowless Sword
Gallery-Photo
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2006
Running Time 104:25
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (46:54) Cast & Crew
Start Up Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Johnny To
Studio
Distributor
Media Asia
Madman Entertainment
Starring Anthony Wong Chau-Sang
Francis Ng
Simon Yam
Nick Cheung
Richie Ren
Roy Cheung
Josie Ho
Suet Lam
Ka Tung Lam
Siu-Fai Cheung
Ellen Chan
Ping-Man Tam
Shiu Hung Hui
Case Amaray-Transparent
RPI ? Music Dave Klotz
Guy Zerafa


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None Cantonese Dolby Digital 5.1 (224Kb/s)
Cantonese dts 5.1 EX (1536Kb/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 Yes
Annoying Product Placement Yes, Red Bull, anyone?
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

    Wo has returned to the city of Macau after years in exile for his part in the attempted assassination of Boss Fay. As he arrives, two of his old comrades also arrive to help protect him. Not long after, two more of his old comrades arrive to kill him on Boss Fay's order. After a stylish gunfight that tears apart Wo's new, but thankfully empty, apartment it becomes clear why Wo has returned. His wife has given birth to a son and he does not want to raise him on the run. The four visitors agree to postpone their dispute and agree to help Wo find a way to provide for his family should his assassination attempt be successful.

    Meanwhile, Boss Fay has put a price on the life of one of his rival gang bosses, Boss Keung, that would be more than ample to leave Wo's widow enough money to raise his child. Wo and his four companions attempt the hit on Boss Keung, but all does not go to plan. Boss Fay discovers that four of his men are now working with Wo and orders them all killed, forcing the posse on the run.

    Exiled is prolific director Johnnie To's follow up to his critically acclaimed breakout hits Election and Election 2. Exiled takes a very different tack to presenting a triad story than the Election series. Where the Election series opted for a gritty look and modelled its characters as realistic human beings who happened to be in triads, Exiled opts for a highly artistic look and the kind of superhero characters we're a lot more used to seeing in Chinese action films. Exiled is also Johnnie To's homage to westerns, although I think he had watched more Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino movies than Sergio Leone movies in preparation for it. The western style becomes a lot more evident as the film gets further along, to the point that our heroes (well, anti-heroes really) march and act as a posse by the end of the affair.

    While it is well made, stylish and quite enjoyable, Exiled does little to really set it apart form other Hong Kong action fare. The western theme is certainly a little different, but not enough so to make Exiled stand out from the crowd. Everything the film does it does well and it is definitely worth a watch, but genre fans would do well to hire before they buy.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    The film is presented in its original 2:35:1 aspect ratio and is 16x9 enhanced.

    The video looks very good. The image is sharp and only a modest level of film grain is visible. There is a good deal of detail visible in dark areas, which is shown off frequently via artistically lit sequences (virtually every shoot-out in the film falls in this category). There are frequent instances of lens flare (eg 4:36, 28:45 and 88:06), but this is a deliberate part of the film's style.

    The colours in the film are bold and quite distinctive. Filters are frequently used to highlight yellows and browns and the effect has translated very well to DVD.

    The artistic lighting of the film leaves a number of scenes exhibiting mild posterisation, though this fits with the style of the film reasonably well. There are no distracting MPEG compression related artefacts or film artefacts visible throughout the course of the film

    The English subtitles are a bold yellow colour. They are easy to read and well timed to the dialogue.

    This is a RSDL disc. The layer break occurs between scenes at 46:54 and was not noticeable on my equipment.

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

Audio

    Two Audio tracks are available, Cantonese DTS 5.1 and Cantonese Dolby Digital 5.1 (224 Kbps)

    The dialogue is clearly audible and well synchronised to the image.

    The music in the film does a good job of melding the western motif with an otherwise standard Hong Kong action movie. A fairly standard score runs through much of the movie, but a lone guitar kicks over the top to bring the western feel to shoot-outs and posse bonding sessions. The score is well represented in the surround channels.

    The surrounds are put to great effect throughout. Bullets rattle everywhere to give the shoot-outs an all-encompassing atmosphere. The subwoofer is also put to good effect during the action sequence.

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

Extras

Main Menu Audio & Animation

    Fairly stylish menus with a clip of the score looping in the background.

Featurette - Making Of (12:04)

    A short sales pitch for the movie that poses as a making of. This rather pointless featurette consists of interviews with the cast and crew who briefly mention what they did on the movie, how much they love everyone involved with the movie and how great the movie is. This featurette is not worth the effort of watching.

Trailers (1:36 and 2:14)

    Two trailers for the film, one explains the story a little while the other is a pretty mindless collage of gunfights.

Photo Gallery

    35 promotional shots for the movie that can be scrolled through using the remote. There are some rather cool images in this lot.

Madman Trailers

    After the usual irritating anti-piracy trailer, trailers for Infernal Affairs, Breaking News and Shadowless Sword are selectable.

R4 vs R1

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

    Exiled is not currently available in Region 1. The Region 3 Hong Kong edition features an additional Making Of Featurette and a Behind the Scenes Featurette, but I am unaware as to whether English subtitles are provided for these extras. Pending any knowledge of the subtitling on the Region 3 edition, I would suggest the Region 4 edition is the version of choice for English-speaking audiences.

Summary

    A stylish Chinese action movie with a western motif. Alas, for all its style it does little to stand out from the crowd in its genre. Definitely worth watching, but rent this one before you buy.

    The video is excellent and captures the artistic bent of the photography beautifully. The audio is excellent also. The extras, however, barely rate a mention.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Adam Gould (Totally Biolicious!)
Thursday, July 26, 2007
Review Equipment
DVDSony Playstation 3, using S-Video output
Display Samsung 116cm LA46M81BD. Calibrated with THX Optimizer. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 576i (PAL).
Audio DecoderPioneer VSX-D512. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Digital Video Essentials.
AmplificationPioneer VSX2016AVS
Speakers150W DTX front speakers, and a 100W centre and 2 surrounds, 12 inch PSB Image 6i powered sub

Other Reviews NONE
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