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An American man returns to a corrupt, Japanese-occupied Shanghai four months before Pearl Harbor and discovers his friend has been killed. While he unravels the mysteries of the death, he falls in love and discovers a much larger secret. Written by
The project was set to roll early 2008 in China but the authorities blocked the shoot just weeks before production was set to begin. China's exit meant walking away from sets that had been built at a cost of $3 million. Weinstein Co. shifted the shoot to London and Thailand, where sets have been built re-creating Shanghai's old colonial architecture. See more »
Conner and I had joined the Navy like our fathers and grandfathers before us. Our lives were set. Birth, school, Yale, war. The great American tradition.
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Composed and Arranged by Stephen Edwards
Courtesy Source in Sync Music - provided by 5 Alarm Music See more »
The plot takes place in Shanghai a part of China the Japanese didn't completely take over yet during the Japanese invasion and occupation of China in 1940's. Jeffrey Dean Morgan has a scene in the beginning a very short scene and you wonder why he would want to be cast for this movie. But he gets some flashback scenes which makes his decision sort of makes sense. Anyways the plot mainly revolves around Paul Soames(John Cusack) investigating a friends death while the Chinese and the Japanese are basically having something similar to a gang war between each other in Shanghai. Mainly between the Chinese resistance and the Japanese servants to their emperor. The movie also has spy elements to it and doing espionage on the Japanese and Nazis, mostly on the Japanese. The flaw of this film is that it just doesn't have good character interactions sometimes and not very clever and sometimes not all that believable. I could tell this movie is a homage to noir and even if the topic at hand is interesting, the movie as a whole just wasn't that great. The movie moves slowly and doesn't cover as much as it should with it's run time. both actors play a role they probably wasn't proud of. Not much is accomplished during the run time of this movie. This is a decent film and a good homage to noir, but I can see why this movie didn't do so well. It just isn't for mainstream audiences and and besides the performances it just seemed like a straight to DVD film despite the large budget. Even if the film to some degree accomplished what it tries to do to some degree. I was disappointed in a way since the movie didn't go the direction I wanted it to go, which isn't anything against this film but my own wants. Mainly because almost all the screen-time is on John Cusack despite it having well known Asian actors. The second most screen-time goes to Gong Li. The biggest reason I wanted to see this movie is because it has Chow Yun-Fat and Ken Watanabe and was expecting a face off between the two different characters these actors will play in a clever manner. Which would have been cool, but that wasn't the case. And another disappointment is how these two Asian actors hardly has any screen-time, their roles are small. The main element that drives this film is the characters impulses and intentions, which will keep you guessing and until everything is put together and everything comes together is a above average manner.
5 of 7 people found this review helpful.
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