Chinatown 1999, a war has broken out between two factions of Chinese gangs based in Chinatown. The more violent faction, the Fukenese dragons is laying siege to all non-members, bystanders included. A special taskforce is assembled to root out the gangs & put a stop to the senseless violence & death. Chow Yun-Fat is the unit leader for the strikeforce, which is comprised solely of Chinese-Americans until a new young White detective (Wahlberg) joins the group. Unbeknownst to them, Whalberg is working undercover in an attempt to find out who in the taskforce is on the take from the Chinese underworld! Nothing is, as it seems in the world of the Corruptor! It seems that corruption is on every hand & no one has emerged unscathed. However, mounting pressures to find the traitor & stop the violence are escalating & something or someone is going to have to give. The Corruptor is non-stop action with a twist of suspense.
The audio as presented for the feature is a blistering 5.1 platform that really blasts! The surrounds & sub are in a constant state of how shall we say…rumble! The center is crystalline & the left to right motion is right on the money. Great audio all the way round!
The director's commentary by James Foley was a little light on information. It seemed like he was really trying to intone the "authentic Chinese" attributes he had adorned/immersed the film in. I'm not really sure how authentically Chinese his film is but, he sure feels it is. His insights dealt largely with the fact that his film was edited for the number of deaths on camera. Surprisingly enough, his thoughts are pretty together on this point. Not that he rambled during his commentary or was hard to follow, it's just, you could tell this was definitely a sore spot for him. I have to admit, I agree with his logic on this point. In any event the scenes that were edited are restored & accessible on the disc.
The video portion of the film is just as striking as the audio! The widescreen image is incredible and artifact free! The transfer is so crystalline its' stunning. I could not detect any transfer errors whatsoever. The colors were bright & true, flesh tones were accurate and there was no bleeding of any kind or transfer errors that I could see. Of special note, there is a scene in which Chow yun-Fat is accepting an award for bravery. The white of his shirt is so white, it's unbelievable! All the colors represented in the film are presented with the same clarity & crispness. Impeccable transfer!
The extras are another area where the disc excels. New Line cinema is known for releasing packed Platinum series special Editions & The Corruptor is no exception to that rule! Contained within the disc are: the film's theatrical trailer, a music video from the group UGK entitled "Take it Off"-probably the only portion of the disc that really didn't fit. The video had nothing at all to do with the feature, lyrically or visually. The usual biographies & cast & crew info, and the best part, the making of feature entitled "From the Underground Up"-The Making of The Corruptor. It boasts an impressive array of interviews & behind the scenes shots. Lots of good stuff! Additionally, the DVD/ROM content contains the film's script in its entirety in a program entitled "script to screen". While reading the script you can select segments of the screenplay & be taken to the corresponding scenes in the film. And web links for New Line Cinema as well as links to information regarding the film's stars.
Additionally, I have to mention the film themed interactive menus! These menus are tremendously engrossing and wonderfully presented. At times they may be a bit much to navigate through but overall, they are nicely produced and add to the flavor of the film.
I did enjoy the corruptor but that's not to say that the film was without its share of mistakes & confusion. While it is enjoyable it is flawed in a great many ways. One way is that Chow's acting style is still extremely Hong Kong in nature. While I enjoyed his performance, it could have been a bit streamlined for the average American moviegoer. His performance in Replacement Killers was incredible however, that was something of a less complex character than that of The Corruptor. Mark Wahlberg was actually likeable in his role & quite convincing. While I can never figure out whether he did the Calvin Klein Underwear ads or sang in that boy group from so many years ago, his acting has improved dramatically. Yes, the film does have holes in its plot & borders on the unbelievable at times but even with those issues, it's still worth checking out. The holes in the script deal primarily with dialogue that lead nowhere & scenes that were wholly unnecessary & drawn out to the point of absurdity-namely Uncle Benny's death scene & subsequent post-death bullet riddling. And now that I brought it up, in both films where I have seen "Uncle Benny" (Lethal Weapon 4 & The Corruptor) His name has been Uncle Benny! I know the actor's real name is Benny but come on-Uncle Benny in every movie? Just a little side gripe. Anyway, The Corruptor while not the greatest movie ever made is certainly not the worst either. If you like action & urban sprawl/decay/corruption/ and deceit, then this movie is looking for you to bring it home! Collector's Edition