MR. WONG, DETECTIVE:
Mr. Wong (Boris Karloff) investigates the
death of a partner in a poison gas company and more murders may be to come.
THE MYSTERY OF MR. WONG:
Chinese criminologist Mr. James Lee Wong
(Karloff) investigates the death of a curio collector who had smuggled the famous gem known as the "Eye of the Moon" out of
China. Wong has to figure out if it has something to do with the man's will, the gem,
or the man that the dead man's wife wants.
The Mr. Wong pictures came at a time in
the 1930s where white actors were playing Asian characters like Charlie Chan and Mr. Moto.
The Mr. Wong films are entertaining to watch and yet their writing isn't as snappy as the Chan or Moto films. Also Boris Karloff looks less Asian than the actors who played Chan or Moto. It is a period where Asian actors didn't
get the lead roles, but you see them in supporting roles. So one could
argue Hollywood was being discriminating in casting whites as Asians instead of
getting actual Asian actors for the roles. However, it is interesting to see
Karloff as a different and quite charming character than some of the bad guy or monster roles he played.
Both of the two MR. WONG feature villains
only to have the actual bad guy doing it as a way to get revenge and surrender when they are uncovered by Mr. Wong. Also The two films released on separate DVDs suffer from formulaic plots.
Wong also doesn't have much in the way of a sidekick like Charlie Chan had with his sons and even his driver. The films are average diverting fare.
THE MYSTERY OF MR. WONG kept me guessing. Both films surprise you with
who the main bad guy is. I do wish MGM didn't spoil part of the plot for MR.
WONG, DETECTIVE on the back of the DVD jacket.
VIDEO and AUDIO quality:
The first disc for MR. WONG, DETECTIVE
comes from a better print source where as THE MYSTERY OF MR. WONG is a print with some damage like scratches and more noise
from the source material itself. Too bad they couldn't have done a quick
clean up of the two movies for DVD, but the DVD-R releases probably don't allow for even a small budget for print clean up. The compression isn't up to the same standards as regular DVD compression standards,
but the DVDs will look fine on a regular TV where bigger TV sets and computer monitors will show the compression quality more.
These DVD reviews are (c)7-1-2011 David Blackwell and cannot be reprinted without permission. send all comments to firstname.lastname@example.org