New to Blu: Well Go USA: The Bodyguard (2016)

Sammo Hung Hong Kong Martial arts
New to Blu-ray
Available on Blu-ray September 6th is the Hong Kong action drama The Bodyguard AKA My Beloved Bodyguard, being distributed by Well Go USA Entertainment. The star power of Sammo Hung and Andy Lau coupled with excellent production values can’t save this one, which suffers from a ridiculous plot, baffling tonality shits, and some questionable slow-motion action sequences. Sammo Hung directs and stars in this story about a retired Central Security Bureau officer that is suffering from the early stages of dementia. He befriends a young girl that lives near him and must use his martial arts skills in order to protect her from a local crime boss, who wants to lure her father out of hiding.

The first thing to address is the plot, which is a retread or slightly similar to Man on Fire, The Man from Nowhere, The Memory of a Killer, and Dying of the Light. Some people are going to instantly have an issue with this. I have more of a problem with the fact that heavy editing and narration were used to quickly gloss over and introduce the viewer to the story and characters, combined with bizarre changes in tone. There is a mixture of comedy and downright silliness mixed together with extremely dark and violent sequences; it would be the equivalent of incorporating Oldboy with Seth Macfarlane’s style of humor. It may have worked in previous Hung movies, but it just doesn’t feel right in this one.

The production values and a majority of the camera work are outstanding. It has nice color and very skillful camera work, with multiple sequences featuring sweeping picturesque shots over the cities and towns. Things go downhill when it comes time for the action scenes, which mostly involve the choice of having them done in slow motion. I can’t understand the reasoning behind this decision, as it ruins what appears to be good fight choreography and just leads to giving the viewer a headache. If you think that shaky cam found footage is difficult on the eyes, then this will give you sea sickness.  On top of that is the bad choice of showing CGI bone breaks, something that went out of date in the mid-1990’s. The modern score may seem as weird as the tonal shifts, including Hong Kong pop, French rap, jazz, surf, and American classic rock.

Sammo Hung Hong Kong Martial Arts
Give me back my AARP card!!!

Hung and Lau both give good performances, but that isn’t enough to recommend this. Had some alterations been made to eliminate the comedy and focus more on the thriller or dramatic elements, this could have been on the same level as say Man on Fire.
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-Raul Vantassle