In 1782, Choderlos de Lacios published his French epistolary novel "Les Liaisons dangeruses" (The Dangerous Liaisons). The novel would inspire several films including the 1959 Roger Vadim film, a 1988 Stephen Frears film titled "Dangerous Liaisons", the 1989 film "Valmont" and the 1999 Roger Kumble film "Cruel Intentions".
In Korea, the film would lead to a 2003 film titled "Untold Scandal" by E J-yong and in 2012, a Chinese film by South Korean filmmaker Hur Jin-ho.
Hur Jin-ho is known for his films about love. From his 1998 hit film "Christmas in August", his 2001 film "One Fine Spring Day", "April Snow" (2005), "Happiness" (2007) and "A Good Rain Knows" (2009). The latter film which would feature a Korean/China collaboration between their two main leads.
With his 2012 film "Dangerous Liaisons", Hur Jin-ho and screenwriter Geling Yan ("Xiu Xiu The Sent-Down Girl", "Forever Enthralled") wanted to do a film inspired by the original French novel but with the setting taking place in Shanghai during the 1930′s. And also continuing a collaboration between Hong Kong actress Cecilia Cheung ("The Promise", "Running on Karma", "Shaolin Soccer"), Jang Dong-Gun ("The Promise", "The Coast Guard", "The Warrior's Way", "Tae Guk Gi: Brotherhood of War") and Chinese actress Zhang Zi Yi ("Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon", "Hero", "House of Flying Daggers").
"Dangerous Liaisons" is presented in 1080p High Definition (16:9 widescreen). The film looks fantastic in HD with skintones that are natural, detail on clothing, hair, vehicles that look amazing. But it's the close-ups that look stunning, thanks to the performances and style of shots that were taken. The film looks luxurious, the costume design captures 1930′s Shanghai thanks to the amount of research done for the film and the film looks amazing on Blu-ray!
AUDIO & SUBTITLES:
"Dangerous Liaisons " is presented in Mandarin DTS-HD 5.1. For a dramatic film with a lot of dialogue, as one can expect from this film, dialogue is crystal clear from the center/front channels. Especially the music, including Chinese performances played on stage are clear. There are moments of crowd ambiance through the surround channels but this is primarily a dialogue-driven film.
Subtitles are in English and Chinese.
"Dangerous Liaisons " come with the following special features:
Making of - (16:55) Interviews with the cast of "Dangerous Liaisons"
Behind-the-Scenes - (4:57) Behind-the-scene profiles with each of the three main talents: Cecilia Cheung, Jang Dong-gun and Zhang Ziyi.
Trailers - (6:56) Theatrical trailers for "Dangerous Liaisons".
Featuring a spectacular performance by Jang Dong-gun, Cecilia Cheung and Zhang Ziyi, "Dangerous Liaisons" is a film in which we have never seen these talents take part in before.
While the film reunites "The Promise" (2005) talents Korean actor Jang Dong-gun and Hong Kong actress Cecilia Cheung, the two go farther than they ever have in their performance as Jang Dong-gun as Xie Yifan must make the crowd believe he is the ultimate amoral playboy that would make women's hearts swoon and eventually conquer them.
Cecilia Cheung's performance as Mo Jieyu must portray the role of a powerful woman who never will be conquered. An amoral woman who loves to control situations and also a woman who knows that she has control over Xie Yifan, the man who has always lusted for her.
And while there have been a good number of film adaptations based on Choderlos de Lacios' "Les Liaisons dangeruses", the adaptation of 1930′s Shanghai with exquisite costume design, luxurious settings is a sight to be hold. Both Jang Dong-gun and Cecilia Cheung look as if they belong in that era and they sell the audience of the characters they are portraying, even though these two speak different languages and are from different countries, they make it happen.
For actress Cecilia Cheung, known for taking on comedic, fantasy or feudal-based films, the actress goes all out in playing the vixen. Even smoking all day literally (despite quitting smoking five years ago) in order to play the role, having watched this actress for well-over a decade now, I have to say this is her finest performance yet (considering I have felt her performance on "Fly Me to Polaris" as her breakthrough drama acting role).
And as for Zhang Ziyi, she has taken on many roles in her career over the last ten years, but this role required her to be reserved and later emotional, it was a different role for her to play but she also shines in this film.
But "Dangerous Liaisons" is a fascinating film for director Hur Jin-ho to take on. Always known for his love stories, "Dangerous Liaisons" is about a man who is the ultimate playboy because he can never have the woman that he really wants, but when he engages in a bet with that woman to conquer the cautious Fenyu, he realizes that he may have discovered his one true love. But at the same time, he's a man that has long lusted after Mo Jieyu. Which will he give into... love or lust?
And in an interesting juxtaposition, Mo Jieyu is a woman who doesn't want to love, enjoys being lusted over by Xie Yifan but also not wanting to lose him to any woman. These characters are fascinating and the way that Hur Jin-ho had ended the film, different from other adaptations, is appropriate and it works quite well.
As for the Blu-ray release, the Blu-ray looks amazing. Detail of clothing, vehicles to close-ups of the characters are full of detail. Colors are vibrant and many scenes are well-lit and for the most part, cinematography by Byung-seo Kim is fantastic. Lossless soundtrack is primarily center and front-channel driven as one would expect from a dialogue driven film with ambiance of crowds being heard in the surrounds when needed. And as for special features, there are a few, including a making-of that really shows how challenging it was to make the film for the talents involved.
A wonderful Chinese adaptation of the popular French novel, Hur Jin-Ho's "Dangerous Liaisons" is sexy, captivating and a fantastic film!