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A view on Blu-ray and DVD video by Leonard Norwitz

Lady Cop & Papa Crook [Blu-ray]

Aka: Daai sau cha ji neui

Aka: Great Female Investigator (Hong Kong: English literal title)

 

(Felix Chong & Alan Mak, 2008)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Review by Leonard Norwitz

 

Studio:

Theatrical: Media Asia & Bejing Silver Moon
Video: MegaStar (Hong Kong)

 

Disc:

Region: ALL (as verified by the Momitsu region FREE Blu-ray player)

Runtime: Theatrical cut: 91 min.  Director's cut: 98 minutes

Disc Size: 24,139,625,104 bytes

Feature Size: 20,597,127,168 bytes

Video Bitrate: 20.28 Mbps

Chapters: 20

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: February 27th, 2009

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 1.78:1

Resolution: 1080p

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Bitrate:

 

 

Audio:

Dolby TrueHD Audio Chinese 3214 kbps 7.1 / 48 kHz / 3214 kbps / 24-bit (AC3 Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 640 kbps)
Dolby Digital Audio Chinese 640 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 640 kbps
Dolby Digital Audio Chinese 640 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 640 kbps

 

Subtitles:

Feature: Traditional & Simplified Chinese, and English. Bonus: English

 

Extras:

• Making of . . . in 3 parts – in SD

• Trailer

 

Product Description: John Fok (Eason Chan) is the kingpin of illegal red oil in Greater China. When an oil tanker explodes accidentally, he becomes the focus of investigation by Hong Kong and Mainland Chinese police and is forced to halt his business to wait things out. While his business rivals start closing in, a member of his household is planning to betray him. On the surface, John seems totally helpless, but in reality, he's been staging a major comeback for months. Just as he is finally ready to turn his fortune around, however, his only son is kidnapped!

Senior Inspector Molline Szeto (Sammi Cheng) is the rising star in the police force, who is well praised for busting crime with her characteristic sangfroid and precision. However, in matters of love, she is totally at wit's end. After dating the same man for more than ten years with no likely prospect of an imminent wedding, she determines to cut the knot once and for all, before she becomes too old for childbirth. Poised at the crossroad of her life, she is thrilled to be assigned to investigate the kidnap of John's son.

John dispatches his whole gang to ferret out his son's whereabouts, only to find out that his rivals are redeploying people in China to assail him. Just when he is about to order an all-out fightback, Molline suddenly arrives with her team to garrison at his house. Spurning her at first, he soon finds her critical analysis of the situation at hand both apt and useful. An unlikely cooperation between cops and crooks thus ensues, leading to conflicts and clashes galore at every step till the very end.

 

 

Comment

The Movie: 7

“Chaotic” is a word that crops up in reviews of this film and, while apt in some ways, a little pandemonium is not entirely a bad thing.  I found its sense of anarchy not only consistent with the basic premise of the story - who’s in charge here? (a better title, in any case) – and the madness of it star character: Inspector Maureen Szeto Mo Lin, played by the effervescent and sassy Sammi Cheng (Chung Mo Yim, Needing You and My Left Eye Sees Ghosts – all directed by Johnnie To and Wai Ka-Fai).  Maureen has been living with a sculptor who, for some years, has promised he will marry her once he finishes his long-suffering present project – which happens to take up a good portion of their apartment.  The artist’s life does leave a certain amount of time to indulge in love-making and Maureen finds herself pregnant at about the same moment that she begins to suspect that her boyfriend may have other romantic interests.

 

Elsewhere, and very much in the foreground, is the case that Inspector Maureen is now in charge of: The kidnapping of the young son of crime boss, John Fok.  Naturally, Fok would prefer to take care of the matter himself, but the police insist they have a good track record in such cases, providing they get the cooperation of the relatives.  The problem of course is that Fok must take care not to reveal anything about his business that could be used against him later.  As it happens there is an ongoing investigation of a case that resulted in the manslaughter deaths of an innocent mother and child.  The driver of the truck that killed these people is clearly connected with Fok’s organization.  Added to all this, there are moves within his group to see these events as an opportunity to alter the chain of command.

 

Boss Fok is played by Eason Chan in an agreeable, if broad manner.  We like him, even though he is in the business he is.  Maureen finds Fok’s cordial manner disorienting.  It’s not that he’s trying to charm her – that would be too obvious - but, especially as she has just learned of her pregnancy and is pulled in different directions in her personal relationship, she doesn’t know whom to trust.  She opts for a kind of abrasive hysteria.  I found it all very refreshing.

 


 

Image: 9/9    NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were ripped directly from the Blu-ray disc.
The first number indicates a relative level of excellence compared to other Blu-ray video discs on a ten-point scale. The second number places this image along the full range of DVD and Blu-ray discs.
 

Slick and polished.  A superb transfer.  This has all the credentials of classic Blu-ray: dimensionality, sharpness, resolution, shadow and highlight detail, absence of artifacts, noise, EE, DNR and blemishes.

 

CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio & Music : 8/8

The uncompressed Cantonese Dolby TrueHD 5.1 mix is clear, dynamic, immersive as required, with plenty of realistic, but not big action movie, touches as in the opening car chase and truck crash.  In this respect it is more like Infernal Affairs than Exiled.

 

 

 

Operations : 6

The English subtitles have very few spelling or grammatical mistakes.  The menu is straightforward.  Alas, once again Tai Seng tries to make more of the Making of featurette by dividing it pointlessly into three brief segments without a Play All.

 

Extras : 3

Very little here: a trailer in SD and a Making of featurette that is all of 12 minutes and lacks subtitles.  I suspect it doesn't say much.  Image quality is fair to good, and much can be inferred from the picture alone.  Too bad, though, since this appears to have actual content.

 

 

Recommendation : 7

Lady Cop & Papa Crook is nothing if not a fun ride.  It blends romance, suspense, action and comedy.  I think it works, though only a second viewing, to which I am looking forward someday, will tell for sure.  By the way, hidden away in small supportive roles are well known actors like Chapman To, Zhang Guoli and Patrick Tam.  This is one instance where the Director's Cut is clearly to be preferred, since chaos is certainly to be preferred to confusion.

 

Leonard Norwitz
July 1st, 2009

 

 

 

 

 


 

About the Reviewer: I first noticed that some movies were actually "films" back around 1960 when I saw Seven Samurai (in the then popular truncated version), La Strada and The Third Man for the first time. American classics were a later and happy discovery.

My earliest teacher in Aesthetics was Alexander Sesonske, who encouraged the comparison of unlike objects. He opened my mind to the study of art in a broader sense, rather than of technique or the gratification of instantaneous events. My take on video, or audio for that matter – about which I feel more competent – is not particularly technical. Rather it is aesthetic, perceptual, psychological and strongly influenced by temporal considerations in much the same way as music. I hope you will find my musings entertaining and informative, fun, interactive and very much a work in progress.


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