Chung-king Express

Viewed – 14 Feb 2009  Blu-ray

I’ve always loved this film.  I recall catching it late night on TV around the time that all things Hong Kong movie related got me all moist (Jackie Chan, John Woo, Jet lee).  Yet this offered something different from a bullet-ballet or wire-enhanced kung fu, this had heart head and shoulders above the rest.

Directed by Wong Kar Wai, one of the most celebrated auteurs to come out of the far east, this follows two very similar stories about unrequanted love, break up and loneliness.  Now that may sound a bit depressing, but in-fact this is one of the most uplifting films I have seen with a quirky sense of humour and an abstract, unconventional style brought to life by cinematographer Christopher Doyle.  Starring such far eastern star names as Takeshi Kaneshiro, Brigitte Lin, Tony Leung Chui Wai and Fay Wong, there’s a charm and an innocence to this that just feels so fresh and different.  Bridget Lin’s shady blonde-wigged femme-fatale is an instant cult icon (sadly her last screen role) and Fay Wong’s sparky, free spirited waitress is a joy every time she’s on screen dancing to The Mommas & The Poppas ‘California Dreaming’.  On that note I’ll also mention the use of music in this film is fantastic, from Indian bangra to American jazz and a perfect rendition of the Cranberries ‘Dreams’ by Fay Wong, who is also one of Asia’s biggest music stars.  Sheer bliss.

The Blu-ray from Artificial Eye offers a clean and vibrant picture, which although pleasing to the eye offers little of the format’s fine detail, but the DTS Master Audio is very strong with the music especially impressing.  Extras-wise we have footage of cinematographer Christopher Doyle revisiting key locations from the film, a very informative introduction from Quentin Tarantino, an interview with director Wong Kar Wai, and a trailer.  Not too shabby.

Verdict:  5 /5


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