Blu-ray Review “The Flowers of War”

Directed by: Yimou Zhang
Starring: Christian Bale, Ni Ni, Xinyi Zhang, Paul Schneider, Tong Dawei
MPAA Rating: R
Distributed by: Lions Gate
Release Date: July 10, 2012
Running Time: 146 minutes

Film: 2.5 out of 5 stars
Extras: 3 out of 5 stars

when Christian Bale goes…I follow. Since “Empire of the Sun”, I have been a fan of mostly everything he has done. “The Flowers of War” is a unique film, a completely Chinese production, with Bale just thrown in for his “The Dark Knight” fame. Due to this it only features about 40% English speaking and the rest is Chinese and Japanese. The film is also extremely long running almost two and a half hours and after 90 minutes it feels very stretched out. Bale’s performance is good but nothing like his role in “The Fighter”. Props needs to be given to director Zhang Yimou, who has done some of my favorites “Hero” and “House Of Flying Daggers”, who is great at what he does but this one doesn’t come close to his best work.

The story follows the classic story of love and war. Taking place during WWII on the streets of Nanjing, we meet a group of opposites who all seek refugee in a church.  There is a group of schoolchildren, a dozen prostitutes and an American mortician posing as a priest. When they become prisoner in the church by Japanese soldiers, it is up to the priest to unite with the group and put together a plan to protect the children from the on-going events of the war.

Besides my issues with the film, its Blu-ray presentation is superb.  It looks fantastic with its 1080p transfer and packs a nice aspect ratio of 2.40:1.  The star of the film, sorry Christian, is its audio track of DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1.  During the war scenes, it is absolutely fantastic and works so well.  The special features are not bad overall.  There is a behind the scenes extra look into the film’s production featuring the following five featurettes “The Birth of The Flowers of War”, “Meeting Christian Bale”, “The Newborn Stars”, “Hard Time During War” and “Perfection of Light and Color”.  Very thorough and informative overall.  Lastly there is a trailer included.

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