Surrounded by hundreds of extras in China’s Forbidden City director Don Tyler (played by Donald Sutherland) is hit with a creative draught and doesn’t know where to go with his latest masterpiece. YoYo (played by Ge You who some of you may remember from Farewell my Concubine) is hired to be the documentary making of camera man befriends the troubled Tyler. Tyler and YoYo discuss film maker and philosophy and happen upon the idea that in Chain if someone over the age of 70 dies the funeral is not sad but happy, Tyler …efers to it a as a comedy funeral as there is a language barrier between him and YoYo who mainly speaks Mandarin. Knowing he is not well and having just been kicked off the film by his studio boss Tyler asks YoYo to give him a comedy funeral as he collapses into a coma.
When the costs for the funeral start to soar YoYo enlists the help of a friend who is one of the biggest concert promoters in China, things get completely out of hand as every square inch of real estate at the funeral is up for bids by advertisers as this unique event will be broadcast worldwide. We also has a romantic subplot between Tyler’s assistant (played by Rosamund Kwan) and YoYo as he tries to convince her that selling advertising space at a funeral is not selling out but, fulfilling the wishes of their boss. Through a couple of interesting plot twists in there and you have a very dynamic movie with an original story line.
Presented in a digitally mastered 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen presentation the video quality is outstanding with breathtaking shots of China’s Forbidden City. There are no noticeable issues with the transfer colors and bright and punchy, contrast is excellent and there is no edge enhancement or film grit present.
The audio in this film is a mix of Dolby Digital 5.1 English and Mandarin with English subtitles, voices are intelligible and easy to understand with no chestiness or nasality. Outside of that there is little to nothing going on in the rear channels and without much in terms of a score the mix here is pretty low key and dry.
The only special features to mention are a couple of theatrical trailers for So Close and Down and Out. The menus are very cool and are animated to look like rotating advertising billboards.
This is a decent film with an original story line even though it ends in typical Hollywood fashion. It can be a little hard to follow at times with the film being half in English and half in Mandarin with subtitles. The video quality is excellent but the audio is boring and disappointing. Check it out if you are really into Asian films.
Special Features List