Vengeance (Fuk sau) (2009)

If you create a user account, you can add your own review of this DVD

Released 9-Mar-2010

Cover Art

This review is sponsored by
BUY IT

Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Thriller Theatrical Trailer
Trailer-Eastern Eye trailers x 5
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 2009
Running Time 104:16
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (63:46) Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Johnnie To
Studio
Distributor

Madman Entertainment
Starring Johnny Hallyday
Sylvie Testud
Anthony Wong Chau-Sang
Lam Ka Tung
Lam Suet
Simon Yam
Cheung Siu-Fai
Felix Wong
Ng Ting Yip
Maggie Siu
Vincent Sze
Case Amaray-Opaque
RPI $29.95 Music Lo Tayu
Barry Chung


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1
dts 5.1
English
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
English for the Hearing Impaired
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

     French chef and restaurant owner Costello (Johnny Hallyday) comes to Macau when his daughter’s Chinese husband and two children are murdered in a home invasion and his daughter left in a critical condition. Costello may be a chef now, but 20 years ago he had been a mob hit man in France until he was shot in the head. With the bullet still in his skull and his memory failing, Costello needs to take vengeance for the killing of his daughter’s family before his memories fade; as it is he has to take Polaroids of people and write down names as physical cues to jog his memory. When he inadvertently witnesses a triad hit ordered by gang boss George Fung (Simon Yam) and carried out by Kwai (Anthony Wong), Chu (Lam Ka-Tung) and Fat Lok (Lam Suet), Costello hires the three assassins to help him find and take revenge upon the killers of his daughter’s family. The trail leads to Hong Kong, and the killers are identified quickly enough, but complications arise when it becomes clear that the murderers of his family work for George Fung. What is the connection, and where will Kwai, Chu and Fat Lok’s loyalties be?

     Vengeance (original title Fuk sau) is an action thriller directed by Johnnie To and written by his regular collaborator Wai Ka-Fai. To has a pedigree of unusual and intelligent action films on his CV including the impressive Mad Detective (2007) (with Wai) and the well regarded Election (2005). Vengeance is not at the level of To’s best films, but it is nevertheless stylist, action packed and entertaining. Indeed, the action sequences are varied and well staged including a gun battle in a forest at night, an urban sequence up and down stairs and over balconies and a mad fight in a refuse dump using bales of compacted paper as shields; now that is something one does not see every day!

     On one level Vengeance is a good, entertaining action film but there are glimpses that it could have been so much more. The film raises complex ideas about memory and vengeance; can one really take revenge if one cannot remember why? The nature of loyalty also is raised, but in both cases these themes are not really explored or developed, the film taking easy options when a little more thought could have made it so much more intriguing. On the other hand, the pacing of the film is excellent; there are enough quiet interludes between the action, including when a family picnic delays a gunfight, to allow us to get to know the characters of the assassins. The rival assassins are also more than just fodder to be shot; they have wives and family too and are professionals fulfilling a contract, just like those working with Cassidy. The acting is varied: Anthony Wong and Lam Ka-Tung are both very good and natural, whereas Simon Yam is a sleazy over the top villain while Johnny Hallyday’s is a low key, one note performance.

     Vengeance is stylish, action packed and entertaining. The action sequences are impressive, varied and well staged but there is a strong sense that this film could have been so much more.

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Transfer Quality

Video

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

     The print is variable, but excellent when it counts. Some wide images of the cityscape could be sharper, and here colours are flat and dull. Brightness and contrast did vary, especially where light sources were behind the actors. However, in the sequences shot in the dark the print is crisp and sharp, blacks solid and shadow detail excellent, allowing you to see what is going on.. Skin tones are natural. Film grain is evident but I noted no obvious marks, film or video to film artefacts.

     The English subtitles are in a yellow font. They are easy to read, except when they sometimes flashed by too quickly. There are occasional spelling errors, such as “Cro” for “Crow” (69:37) but noting distracting.

    The layer change at 63:46 resulted in a slight pause.

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

Audio

     Audio is a choice between English dts 5.1 and English Dolby Digital 5.1. In truth, the dialogue in the film is a mixture of English, French and Cantonese. Picking either audio track automatically turns on the subtitles for the non-English dialogue.

     Both tracks were fine and nicely enveloping, with the dts having more subtlety and separation (just). Dialogue is clear, although sometimes with Johnny Hallyday’s accent he is hard to understand. The surrounds are used frequently for ambient sounds, gunshots, weather effects and music. The sub woofer was not over-extended but did provide bass when needed.

     With the different nationalities involved, lip synchronisation was actually very good .

     The score by Lo Tayu and Barry Chung was minimalist, haunting and not overdone. It provided effective support to the visuals.

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

Extras

Original Trailers (3:03)

     Two trailers for the film play in succession.

Eastern Eye Trailers

     Trailers for other films from Madman: Exiled (2:22), Vampire Girl vs. Frankenstein Girl (1:14), Haeundae (2:37), Thirst (1:56) and The Good, The Bad, The Weird (2:00).

R4 vs R1

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

     There apparently is a Region 1 US release but I cannot find any details. The Region 3 Hong Kong release has Chinese language options, the English dub and only the trailer as an extra. Our Region 4 is fine.

     The Region A Hong Kong Blu-ray has the trailer and more language options, the Region B UK Blu-ray has a “making of” (10:10) and different language options.

Summary

     Vengeance is stylish, action packed and entertaining. The action sequences are impressive, varied and well staged but there is a strong sense that this film could have been so much more.

     The video and audio is good; a trailer is the only real extra.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Ray Nyland (the bio is the thing)
Thursday, September 29, 2011
Review Equipment
DVDSony BDP-S350, using HDMI output
DisplayLG 42inch Hi-Def 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

Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add) NONE