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Polar Rescue (Well Go USA) Blu-ray Review

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    Ian Jane
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  • Polar Rescue (Well Go USA) Blu-ray Review

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    Released by: Well Go USA
    Released on: March 26th, 2024.
    Director: Lo Chi Leung
    Cast: Donnie Yen, Cecilia Han, Jia Bing, Tang Xu
    Year: 2022
    Purchase From Amazon

    Polar Rescue – Movie Review:

    Released domestically in China as Please Come Home, writer/director Lo Chi Leung’s 2022 film, retitled Polar Rescue for its North American home video release, introduces us to a man named Ah de (Donnie Yen), an architect from Shenzhen who heads out to the Chingbai Mountains with his wife Minxuan (Cecilia Han) and their two young children for what he hopes will be a nice, relaxing ski vacation.

    When Ah de, quite the disciplinarian, gets into an argument with his eight year old son, Lele (Yuan Jinhui), he leaves him alone in an attempt to teach him a lesson with every intention of coming back to pick him up in a few minutes. Oops. A short time later, the kid runs off into the mountainous area before his parents can stop him. With the kid missing, Ah de teams up with the local police, led by Jun Qian (Jia Bing), to try and find him before something bad happens, but the mountainous terrain proves to be a most inhospitable environment rife with danger and, on top of that, Ah de really doesn’t want to listen to the professionals there to help him, letting his hotheadedness get the best of him time and time again. Oh, and there are some kidnappers about that are up to no good.

    Polar Rescue has its moments – there’s an avalanche scene that, despite some dodgy CGI and that fact that it seems to have been thrown into the movie only to pad the running time, works fairly well on a technical level and does build some decent tension, but Ah de is such a dick in this movie that you never really get behind him. On top of that, there are plot threads that are introduced only to go nowhere (at one point, Minxuan leaves Ah de, possibly because he’s abused the kids but just as possibly because he’s a jerk but this is never really properly resolved) and the storyline is, in a word, predictable. There are very few surprises here and it isn’t a surprise to learn that the movie flopped at the Chinese box office when it was released in October of 2022.

    The first film to be directed by Lo Chi-leung since 2015’s The Vanished Murderer, Polar Rescue moves at a reasonably good pace and features pretty solid production values. The cinematography is solid and the score works nicely.

    Those used to seeing Donnie Yen in action movies might be surprised with how well he handles the dramatic side of things in this picture. There aren’t really any martial arts here and he isn’t really required to fight a bunch of people or do anything you’d expect him to do given his past films and he plays his part well – the problem is, again, his character is an unlikeable jerk. Cecilia Han is fine in her role as Yen’s wife, but her character also makes some pretty telling gaffs that showcase the weakness in the script (why would you wash an article of clothing belonging to a missing kid if you’re going to have dogs, that will need to get the scent, go out and look for said kid?).

    Polar Rescue – Blu-ray Review:

    Well Go USA presents Polar Rescue on a 25GB Blu-ray disc, with the feature using 21.85Gbs of space, in an AVC encoded 1080p high definition transfer properly framed at 2.35.1 widescreen and it looks excellent. The digitally shot feature is pristine, just as you'd expect, while fine detail is excellent throughout. Color reproduction is great throughout, while skin tones look nice and lifelike and there are strong black levels as well. No complaints, the movie looks great on Blu-ray.

    Mandarin language options are offered in offered in 16-bit DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio and Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo with removable subtitles offered up in English only. For review purposes, the movie was watched with the Mandarin DTS-HD 5.1 mix, and it's quite strong. The action scenes make the most of the surround channels while there's decent LFE action present throughout. The score sounds strong without burying the performers while dialogue remains nicely balanced.

    Extras are limited to a trailer for the feature and trailers for a few other Well Go USA properties.

    Polar Rescue - The Final Word:

    Polar Rescue has decent production values and solid acting but the script has a lot of problems and the storyline is predictable. That said, for those who enjoy the film, the Blu-ray looks and sounds really nice, though it is low on extra features.



    Click on the images below, or right click and open in a new window, for full sized Polar Rescue Blu-ray screen caps!

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