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

Rebellion [Blu-ray]

(aka "Tung moon")


(Herman Yau, 2009)





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Review by Leonard Norwitz



Theatrical: Universe Entertainment

Blu-ray: Universe Digital Entertainment (Hong Kong)



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

Runtime: 1:36:32.708

Disc Size: 24,578,800,740 bytes

Feature Size: 23,784,535,872 bytes

Video Bitrate: 21.80 Mbps

Chapters: 8

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: December 10th, 2009



Aspect ratio: 1.78:1

Resolution: 1080p / 24 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video




Dolby TrueHD Audio Chinese 1564 kbps 7.1 / 48 kHz / 1564 kbps / 16-bit (AC3 Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 640 kbps)
Dolby TrueHD Audio Chinese 1594 kbps 7.1 / 48 kHz / 1594 kbps / 16-bit (AC3 Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 640 kbps)
DTS-HD Master Audio Chinese 2073 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 2073 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)



English, Chinese (traditional and simplified), none



• Making Of – in SD/Ltbx (6:22)

• Photo Gallery

• Trailer



The Film:

REBELLION is set over a single night, as five gang bosses - Jimmy, Sand, Jupiter, Coffee and Man Ching - break their uneasy alliance and a vicious turf war threatens to engulf the city. Over the past few years, these five big brothers have remained peaceful and amicable with each other, agreeing to separate territories and keeping violence to a minimum.

Po (Shaun Yue) is Jimmy's number one bodyguard and after [Po] is given the night off to celebrate his birthday, Jimmy is gunned down in the street and lies in critical condition in a backstreet surgery. Everybody is in agreement the assassination attempt was an inside job and the prime suspect is the hotheaded Blackie (Chapman To), Jimmy's No.2 whose thirst for power is well known.

Jimmy's wife, Cheung Wah (Ada Choi), commands a great deal of respect but is in Taiwan on the night of the attack. Blackie should automatically become the new head, but because of his volatile personality, Cheung Wah elects Po to oversee things until she can get the first flight back in the morning.

Unfortunately, Po has just polished off a bottle of Johnnie Walker and is blind drunk. Not only is he struggling to function properly, he is constantly heaving his guts up. Suffice to say he is not in the best condition to play peacekeeper. It is up to Po to track down the assassin and find out who is responsible before Blackie or any of the other bosses turns Kowloon into a war zone. – James Marsh

Excerpt of review from Twitch located HERE

The Movie : 7
I am of three minds about this movie: The English translation provided on this Universe Blu-ray is unbelievably bad. Usage errors abound in every sentence, it seemed. I'm not sure how, but I thought I got the hang of this peculiar dialect of Engrish after about 15 minutes, especially once I convinced myself Rebellion was no comedy. (I thought this sort of thing was well past us for movies from this neck of the planet – guess not.) Translation aside, and right up to the final showdown, I was giving Herman Yau and company high marks indeed: characters, performances, photography, movement, choreography of violence (until the final reel), use of music, suspense. But then, the whole mousetrap came apart over a game of mahjong, depending for its success by "forcing" an unlikely play by the bosses. For a scheme of this nature - with all the time, money and personnel involved – to come down to the opposition going along with a demand that I wouldn't have agreed to, let alone a hard boiled boss (even if tempers and judgment were fried), spoiled the ending that followed.



Image: 8/8    NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken 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.

Universe's AVC transfer makes full use of the 25 GB single layer disc offered to it. The image is sharp and coherent with tightly controlled grain. Blacks are solid and shadow detail goes on forever whenever DP Chan Kwong-hung wants us to know about it. Color is good, often cyan filtered as intended. Contrast is excellent, though there is the impression of some oversharpening and mild edge-enhancement.
















Audio & Music: 7/9
The way in which Yau uses Paul Wong's music is what sets Rebellion a cut above the average HK gangland thriller. He sets it almost entirely in the background, coming to the fore only now and then and during the few big skirmishes. The music is not much more than a blanket pulse that keeps the suspense up and Po's confusion cobwebby. We expect things to break into bedlam at any moment, and Lau delays and diverts that impulse for as long as he chooses. Surrounds are used primarily for ambiance and localized effects. Knife thrusts are undistinguished (like old Kung Fu kicks and body bows), but they do have the necessary edge.


Operations: 2
Menu operation is sensible, but my OPPO was unable to access either of the two non-default Dolby audio choices: the Cantonese or a Mandarin dub. The other two could be clicked on, but were silent. The English translation provided on this Universe Blu-ray is unbelievably bad. While spelling errors were few, usage errors permeated every sentence, it seemed. Even one of the producers name's is misspelled as "Daneil Lam" on the opening credits – that's on the film, not in the subtitles!



Extras: 1
There is a brief six-minute making-of featurette that, despite its not having English subtitles, did not look promising. Image quality is SD/Letterboxed and not very good quality to start with.



Bottom line: 7
The movie makes a very good start, but is marred by an unlikely turn of events and arbitrary confusion instead of controlled mayhem. It's worth a look all the same. Universe's Blu-ray image is good, if unexceptional, the audio decent with excellent use of music. Worth a look.

Leonard Norwitz
March 12th, 2010




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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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