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PHOTOGRAPHY

DIVERGENCE

DVD Review by David Blackwell

DETAILS: 100 minutes, audio commentary, two featurettes, photo gallery, trailers

STUDIO: Tartan Asia Extreme (Tartan Video)/ Universe Entertainment LTD./ San Xi Film Studio/ Universe Films Distribution Company LTD.

RELEASE DATE: 1-30-2006

 

DIVERGENCE has some of the best action sequences I have seen since the American cop movies of the 1970s and 1980s. The big letdown is that movie is a little too melodramatic for it's own good (probably done to draw in the female audience) and yet it helps the overall character development of this divergent Hong Kong drama. Suen, a cop who still looks for his girlfriend after she disappeared 10 years ago, loses a witness to a sniper's bullet after he went through the trouble of bring the witness back from Canada to testify in a money laundering case. This news starts to make the guy who is the defendant in the case a little happy since his money will be unfrozen soon. However, his pop star son soon goes missing and he wonders if it is his partners in crime are responsible. Also you have the assassin (the sniper from earlier) who wants to help the cop solve the case in a very roundabout way, Finally, you have the lawyer who has a wife that looks just like Suen's missing girlfriend.

The best moments of DIVERGENCE belongs to the action sequences with the best being Suen chasing the assassin through traffic and into a fish market. The climatic sequence is also good except for the unsatisfying end to it. Then you have one part of the ending that leaves a question mark. Everyone except the assassin (who has an agent/girlfriend who is bald) becomes a little unhinged during DIVERGENCE. DIVERGENCE is a trip into insanity that many of the characters may not come back from. One of the best Hong Kong crime dramas I have seen in a while. Better written melodrama than anything I have seen in one of John Woo's Hong Kong action films. Benny Chan has done a good job with the direction of DIVERGENCE. It is a bleak tale of sorrow and action as we learn that our actions have consequences and we better heed them unless we want to be doomed by our actions.

VIDEO: 2.35:1 (Anamorphic Widescreen)

AUDIO: Cantonese 5.1 Dolby Digital, 5.1 DTS, 2.0 Dolby Surround

Subtitles: English, Spanish

The subtitles lag behind the dialogue at times on the movie disc and I hear Tartan is recalling DIVERGENCE to fix the problem.  It is distracting and sometimes funny watching the subtitles show up after the characters finish saying a line.   I love most of the Tartan discs and they fix the problems they have quickly.   The statement from Tartan Video USA is:

“We recently learned of a synchronization issue with the subtitle track on Disc 1 of THE DIVERGENCE SPECIAL TWO DISC SET. We are concerned that some people may have unknowingly purchased this disc before it was removed from stores and replaced. Tartan takes extreme pride in the quality of our product and we are asking anyone who may have purchased a compromised disc to visit our website, www.tartanvideousa.com for information on how to obtain a replacement disc for free. We value our audience tremendously and look forward to the opportunity to correct this matter. As always, thank you for your continuing support.

SPECIAL FEATURES: The audio commentary is with director Benny Chan and a few of the main actors. I sampled the track and it goes into the production and editing in addition to talk about the characters in DIVERGENCE.

Still, I don't agree why DIVERGENCE needs a second disc when I still think they could fit on disc 1 (supposedly the commentary track took up too much space).   Disc 2 has a 15 minute making of featurette which amounts to promo fluff, two Hong Kong theatrical trailers, Tartan Asia Extreme previews, a worthless slideshow photo gallery, and Gala Premiere featurette which should have subtitles.

FINAL ANALYSIS: Due to scant extras on disc 2, DIVERGENCE should be a one disc and not a two disc Special Edition. If space issues were a problem for a one disc, I suggest they should have ditched the photo gallery slide show and some of the Tartan Asia Extreme previews (including the force trailer for Asia Extreme you can't skip of fast forward through before the disc 1 menu).    DIVERGENCE isn't a bad Hong Kong film, but wait for the corrected edition to show up.

this review is (c)2-1-2007 David Blackwell and cannot be reprinted without permission (except for excerpts and a link to the review). Look for additional content at http://enterlinemedia.livejournal.com and send all comments to lord_pragmagtic@hotmail.com