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City Under Siege

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    Mark Tolch
    Senior Member

  • City Under Siege


    Released By: Funimation
    Released On: 12/27/2011
    Director: Benny Chan
    Cast: Qi Shu, Aaron Kwok, Collin Chou

    The Film:

    Here's a little historical information that you may not know about; towards the end of the Second World War, Malaysia was a hot spot for chemical testing, and the attempted creation of super-strong mutants who would be able to win the war with their special mutant powers. The government, however, was never able to get the balance of chemicals just right, and these super-strong mutants died shortly after ripping the arms off of the test subjects that were thrown into underground cells with them. Before perfecting the process, these experiments were shut down when the British bombed the Malaysian hills holding these underground labs and prisons.

    Years later, (present day, in fact) a circus troupe discovers the test facilities when they track down a rumour of hidden Japanese gold in the hillside. Led by Cheung Tai Chu, the circus' master of the flying daggers, the troupe finds gold but also gets exposed to a whole lot of mysterious gases. Along with Sunny, the outcast circus clown who wishes to become a master of the flying daggers like Chu, they become seriously ill before attempting escape on a boat. During the long night on the heavy sea, the super-strong and mutated troupe throw the less exposed and not super-strong Sunny into the waves, laughing maniacally at their evil deed. Sad face.

    Sunny washes up on the shore strangely fat and hungry, and catches a ride with Angel, a good-looking reporter (who American audiences will probably remember from The Transporter). With his giant jowls, Angel doesn't recognize him days later when he shows up at the scene of a hostage situation at a local police station, and brushes him off. Sunny has gone through a few changes since his exposure to the gas at the test facility, though, and takes charge of the situation by disarming the gunman with a well-thrown stick….which travels a quarter mile through the air, a plate glass window, and into the gunman's arm. Impressed by his super-human abilities, Angel becomes Sunny's agent, and he quickly becomes famous marketing “products strong enough for mutants”.

    Meanwhile, Sunny's former circus cohorts have become nasty, ugly, mega-strong mutants, bent on destruction, robbery, and mayhem in general, using their powers for evil, natch. With the police powerless to stop them, the bad guys attract the attention of an X-files-like government group who are trained to fight mutants with badass kung fu moves. But even the Asian Mulder and Scully aren't badass enough to take down the veiny and bubbly Chu, and Sunny has to use his mutant powers to stop his former friends from taking over the city. Happy face.

    City Under Siege is one of the most ridiculous films that I've watched in a long time. It stretches the boundaries of realism so far that you can't help but laugh at it throughout the running time. The excessive use of CGI fits in perfectly with the movie on that level, amping up the lack of realism. But for some strange reason, it works perfectly. City Under Siege is funny and entertaining from start to finish because it has basically done away with taking itself too seriously, and decided to be an action film with a science fiction element. There's a story, to be sure, and there is a moral point of view, but that falls to the side to make way for crazy-ass wire fighting and stuff blowing up. Tight editing contributes to fantastic pacing as well, with only one section dragging things down with sentimental flashbacks and a stupid love song.

    Performances also make the film, with Sunny (Aaron Kwok) standing out as a likable hero worth rooting for. Likewise, Qi Shu as Angel is surprisingly not annoying, and the host of bad guys are convincing even when they're pulsing with CGI veinwork. Benny Chan's direction is also steady with a good eye for capturing the outlandish fight sequences, and the stunts and makeup effects round out an altogether entertaining film. It's not going to air on the History Channel anytime soon, but if you want one crazy mutant smackdown after another without the pretention and politics of the X-Men, City Under Siege is the way to go.

    Video/Audio/Extras:

    City Under Siege comes to blu-ray from Funimation in a 2.35:1 transfer with Dolby TrueHD 5.1 audio tracks in English and Cantonese. The picture is solid, appearing a little dodgy just for some of the more obvious CGI moments, but blacks are strong and consistent and artifacts aren't readily apparent. The audio tracks are both more than adequate for this film; the English track isn't too ridiculous compared to other dub jobs, and both make exceptional use of the surrounds and subwoofer.

    A 22-minute Making Of featurette is also included on the disc, in which Benny Chan talks about switching things up from his typical action films, and the actors discuss their characters, as well as the stunts and makeup involved in the film.

    A Trailer for City Under Siege is also included, as are 8 other previews.

    The Final Word:


    Put disc in; shut brain off. If you're looking for entertainment, Funimation's got your number.

    Click on the images below for full sized Blu-ray screen caps!



















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