Currently on Digital from writer/director Cheng Er and Well Go USA is a thriller of espionage and suspicions running rampant with a HIDDEN BLADE.
Japanese Officer Watanabe (Hiroyuki Mori) is a man who keeps his emotions and intentions close to his chest. As director of Shanghai’s Political Security Department, he watches everyone in the counterespionage division, especially Director He (Tony Leung). He has also taken Mr. Ye under his wing seeing potential in him. It is openly clear that everyone is loyal to the Wang Jingwei regime and they want to expand.
On an official visit to the Community Party’s Secretary Mr. Zheng (Huang Lei), Director He takes copious notes on the reasons he has chosen to change sides. He gathers information in such a way that Zheng believes he is doing the right thing. Also, Minister Tang (Da Peng), the very dangerous Captain Wang (Eric Wang) and the very young Mr. Ye (Wang Yibo) round out the division.
There are delicate peace negotiations happening between Japan and the Jingwei regime with the offer of taking Manchuria, the gateway to everything. All of this is happening as Mr. Ye’s love Ms. Fang (Zhang Jingyi) is warned to be careful of her Communist Party activities. Everyone is playing the larger game but have smaller events happening as well.
Thinking it is all going smoothly, the Jingwei regime declares war on the United States and Pearl Harbor is attacked. Now everything begins to unravel and the cracks are huge. The Security Department can hold its secrets no longer and who is on what side comes out. Prison awaits some as others believe they have bigger military careers in Manchuria.
Each have a secret and it will all be revealed!
Leung as Director He is the coolest cookie I have ever seen. He comes across as personable when he needs to but Leung gives an air of cold stares and unemotional responses when most people would be freaking out. I absolutely loved every scene he was in and as the story unfolds, it becomes clear what motivates him. I can’t say more because his character has to be experiences.
Yibo as Mr. Ye is another cool customer who, when needs be, can keep it on lock. The only exception is the relationship issues that cause him to show outburst much to the use of a colleague. I enjoyed watching Yibo work and weave his way into each character and it is done with perfection.
Wang as the Captain is a whole lot of issues wrapped up in a tightly wound package. Man, when he wants to take care of something, it is done and without really breaking a sweat. He makes it clear where his loyalty lies and will do anything for the cause without batting an eye. Well done!
Mori as Watanabe also has a game plan and when things begin to slip, he makes plans upon plans which include Manchuria. He watches what everyone does and listens to what everyone says to make it all work. Taking Mr. Ye under his wing is important because, Watanabe doesn’t think people see the young man as a threat. Mori portrays his character with strength and no non-sense.
Jingyi as Ms. Fang sees the bigger picture and no one is going to get in her way. She has a cruel moment that I could help but raise and eyebrow and thing ‘dang dragon lady!’ I’d say more but it would so ruin it. Shout out to Zhou Xun as Mrs. Chen and Jiang Shyuing as Ms. Jiang. Ladies, the roles you have seem small but they absolutely are not and I applaud you both!
Well Go USA Entertainment is a theatrical and home entertainment company specializing in bringing the best Action, Genre and Independent films from around the world to North American markets. As a leader in independent film distribution, Well Go USA Entertainment’s titles can be seen across a variety of platforms including theatrical, digital, subscription and cable VOD, packaged media and broadcast television. Well Go USA Entertainment currently releases three to five films per month. To see more please visit www.wellgousa.com.
HIDDEN BLADE has six nominations for the Shanghai International Film Festival, a Jury Award nomination from the Beijing Student Film Festival, winners for Quality Film of the Year – Er Cheng and Breakthrough Filmmaker of the Year Weibo Award for Yibo Wang and China Movie Channel Award for Most Promising Actor of the Year for Jingyi Zhang.
Subtitled in English and a running time of 139 minutes, it is impossible to take your eyes off the screen. The pieces of a very strategic chess board move to keep the audience guessing and trust me when I say the surprises are everywhere!
This is an extremely layered story which is shot in shadows of secrets and it is in these shadows of film that the story is exposed little by little. I love the grittiness of the story that is just bathing in period piece costuming and surroundings. That is just another layer and another character that draws everything together.
The cast is absolutely stellar and if you remove one the whole house of espionage would come tumbling down into dust. I was totally invested in what each character was trying to do in the story and found myself totally untrusting of anyone for the longest time. It took the actors convincing to have me choose the character I would ultimately root for – and if you are wondering, ask me later and I’d be happy to tell you.
In the end – the secrets will collide!