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DVD Review

DVD cover

Bodyguard - A New Beginning


Starring: Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa, vincent Sze and Richard Ng
Action Extreme
RRP: £14.99
Certificate: 15
Available 08 June 2009

Bodyguard: A New Beginning’ tells the story of Leung, the bodyguard of a Hong Kong Triad boss, Wong, who is sent to the UK to protect a woman whose identity is known only by his boss. Even the boss’ own errant son, Yuen, is kept in the dark. The efforts of a rival boss, Kai to take over Wong’s territory leads Yuen to a betrayal that threatens to destroy all that his father has worked hard to protect...

Bodyguard - A new Beginning (2008 - 1 hr, 41 min, 28 sec) is the follow up martial art film to Underground directed by Chee Keong Cheung and once more we are looking at an independent film, with all the restriction that this means. Whereas Underground was a balls out homage to martial arts, this film makes a quantum leap into the realms of full blown movie. Bodyguard has a full script and a desire to be taken seriously and therein lays some of the problems for this indie flick. The film's rough edges betray the fact that Cheung is still in the process of learning his art.

The basic premise of the film is fairly simple with an east meets west love story interspersed with some well choreographed martial arts scenes. One of the things which struck me early on is the amount of elements which seem to have been lifted almost directly from other film like The Godfather, Richard Ng (Wong) even takes on the role or an oriental Don, who has a head strong son. Yuen (Carl Ng), his wayward son even gets to beat someone with a dustbin.

It’s odd, although the star of the film should be Leung (Vincent Sze), who is a lieutenant of Wong, sent to protect a mysterious woman in London, his brooding presents and lack of dialogue meant that many of the other characters come across as much more rounded. Carl Ng especially shines as the son who is willing to sell his own father out for a little bit of power in the drugs trade. For a love interest Stephanie Langton also puts in a surprisingly strong performance, although my favourite had to be Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa (Pearl Harbour, Heroes) portrayal of the deliciously amoral Kai.

The 16:9 widescreen picture is clear and an improvement over Underground - looks like someone found the white balance button this time and the 5.1 track does a good job immersing you into the bone crunching action. The direction and editing remain impressive.

The finished disc comes with a number of extras, including a Behind the Scenes (8 min, 33 sec) look at the UK shoot, with contribution from some of the cast and crew extolling the virtues of independent film making, one impressive thing about this is watching the fight scenes being filmed, which proved that those guys really can execute their fight choreography in reality. Next up is the original theatrical trailer (2 min, 24 sec), a photo gallery with twenty pictures, thirteen cast and sixteen crew biographies, these are text based pages. The disc round off with three pages of production notes as well as a trailer for Underground (2 min, 03 sec). It’s a shame that there isn’t a commentary as these are often more interesting for independent films.

So Cheung has had a bigger box of sand to play with this time and in truth there are many things to like about the film, not least of which are the superbly choreographed fight scenes, but it does suffer from a lack of focus and a tighter script, or some judicious cuts would have made for a tighter, more exciting film.


Charles Packer

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