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Ashes of Time Redux (2008)

Brigitte Lin , Maggie Cheung , Kar Wai Wong  |  R |  DVD
3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (58 customer reviews)

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Ashes of Time Redux + 2046 + In the Mood for Love (The Criterion Collection)
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Product Details

  • Actors: Brigitte Lin, Maggie Cheung, Leslie Cheung, Tony Chiu Wai Leung, Jacky Cheung
  • Directors: Kar Wai Wong
  • Writers: Kar Wai Wong, Louis Cha
  • Producers: Kar Wai Wong, Jacky Pang Yee Wah, Jeffrey Lau, Johnnie Kong, Kei Shu
  • Format: Multiple Formats, AC-3, Color, Dolby, Dubbed, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: Cantonese
  • Subtitles: English, French
  • Dubbed: French
  • Region: Region 1 encoding (US and Canada only)
    Some Region 1 DVDs may contain Regional Coding Enhancement (RCE). Some, but not all, of our international customers have had problems playing these enhanced discs on what are called "region-free" DVD players. For more information on RCE, click .
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.77:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: March 3, 2009
  • Run Time: 100 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (58 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B001O7SWHG
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #117,480 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Ashes of Time Redux" on IMDb

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

From Director Wong Kar Wai comes the definitive version of Ashes of Time, an epic martial arts masterpiece of larger-than-life characters, breathtaking landscapes and exquisite fight scenes. The story centers on Ouyang Feng (Leslie Cheung), a heartbroken and cynical man who spends his days alone in the desert, connecting expert swordsmen with those seeking revenge and willing to pay for it. As Ouyang narrates his tale, interweaving the stories of his unusual clients, old friends and future foes, he begins to realize the mistakes of his own past, and how his fear of rejection may have led him to a life of exile.

A complicated, sparse, and beautiful film, Ashes of Time Redux is the slightly tweaked version of Wong Kar Wai’s 1994 film. Like some of his other work, the movie borrows a few characters from novelist Louis Cha, but the film is definitely classic Wong. Ou-yan (Leslie Cheung) is heartbroken, after losing the love of his life to his brother. His friend Huang (Tony Leung Ka Fai) also is broken hearted. Ou-yan provides an unusual service--he connects swordsmen with people seeking revenge. He faces a moral dilemma when he is hired by both a man named Yang and a woman named Yin to kill Huang. There is a clever secret about Yin and Yang's motives that unfolds nicely. The fight sequences are artistically choreographed by Sammo Hung and Wong lovingly presents the action in a slow motion blur that showcases the languid beauty of martial arts. Other characters meander in and out of the plot. The most compelling is a blind swordsman (Tony Leung Chiu Wai) whose wife has a connection to Huang. The storyline at times gets confusing, but the narration by the two male leads offers nice clarity. Wong chooses to keep his set uncluttered, letting the camera focus on one or two characters rather than a sea of extras. Cinematographer Christopher Doyle enhances the melancholy tone of the film by utilizing sepia tones and dramatic framing that captures an otherworldly essence. --Jae-Ha Kim

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
58 of 59 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars good movie, botched dvd July 16, 2005
This DVD is a botched production job, and Amazon will charge you to return it because it's "not the result of our error." Amazon's error is to distribute this dog of a product. Wait for a better release. Caveat emptor.

The sound track lags several seconds behind the picture (and the subtitles) for the first 45 minutes of the movie. And there's a lot of dialog. It's almost impossible to figure out who is saying what to whom.

But maybe the visuals alone are worth it? Not really: The bottom quarter of the picture is blacked out, to cover the Chinese subtitles -- which nonetheless peek out from time to time when there are two lines of them. This provides a nice black background for the English subtitles (which contain the predictable dumb typos), but wouldn't you like to see the whole picture? I know I would.

Only a couple of times, there are pixilated intrusions of images from some other movie, with white people in it, for a second or two. Spoils the willing suspension of disbelief, you know?

And only once, there is a snatch of dialog in English -- not likely part of this movie, whose setting is earlier than the advent of English.

You don't need to spend any money on this product. Amazon should be ashamed of itself for selling it.
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34 of 35 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Good movie, awful DVD January 22, 2004
By A Customer
This is great movie. No doubt about it, but quality of DVD is horrible. Picture sometimes got blurred, sound is very low quality. This is worst DVD ever. Movie is more then worth to watch, but not from that DVD.
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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars a brilliant, beautiful movie - on VHS. October 24, 2000
This is one of my favourite movies of All Time - the story is moving, the cinematography is painfully beautiful, and the characters are fascinating.
The DVD mastering, accoringly, is perhaps the greatest injustice the movie could have possibly suffered. The source from which the DVD was dubbed was in *terrible* condition. Your local rental store's VHS copy probably looks like it's in better shape. The picture is very scratchy.
Even worse is the subtitling. The subtitles in the VHS version were very thoughtfully written and give a good sense of the poetry of the original script. The only problem is that they are sometimes a little (read: teeny bit) hard to read. The DVD version "overcomes" this problem by BLACKING OUT the bottom 20% of the screen and displaying new subtitles on the black bar.
Two problems with this method - they didn't resize the picture at all. You simply lose the bottom fifth of the picture. Also, the subtitles in the DVD version are a much poorer translation of the original. They are almost comical at times, they depart so far from Wei's original vision.
I would whole-heartedly recommend this movie to anybody, especailly lovers of Hong Kong cinema or Asian period peices. Please save yourself a lot of disappointment, though, and pick up the VHS version.
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30 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wong Kar Wai's best January 26, 2000
Format:VHS Tape
This too is my favourite Wong Kar Wai movie. The non-linear story of love, lost, betrayal and regret is achingly beautiful. The cinematography is stunning. It's almost worth watching the film just for that alone. That said, it's not an easy movie to watch at all. It's one of those that require repeated viewings. And it's definitely one of those that you either hate or love. There are actually 2 dvd versions of this movie. The one released by World (?) video is hideous. However, if you can find the one released by Mei Ah, I hear it's pretty good. I'm going to sell my horrid dvd version of the movie and try and pick up the Mei Ah version.
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Haunting movie, frightening DVD April 5, 2005
'Ashes of Time' is the rarest of Wong Kar Wei's films and best remembered as the one that so confounded him that he went off and made 'Chungking Express' to clear his mind before finishing it. Actually, it's worth remembering in its own right, as he brings his uniquely romantic take on the world to the fantasy swordplay genre with the expected unexpected results. There are swordfights, most of them pretty good, but the fantasy is kept to the bare minimum with the focus on the emotional cost of being a professional killer. Love is lost and so are memories, vengeance is sought and denied, characters meet but fail to connect, secrets are kept and regrets shared, all filtered through Leslie Cheung's inn on the edge of the desert where he acts as agent for killers for hire. The interest here isn't in action but reasons, and in the emotional cost of pursuing a life of violence, all captured via his usual dreamlike imagery and poetic confessional narration. Part Hong Kong, part European, part Leone (acknowledged/plagiarised at times in the score), not everything works, but the parts that do are quite magnificent, whether it's a woman tracing her hand over the sleeping body of a man who is not her lover or the curiously memorable shots of the horse thieves waiting their turn in a battle.

It can get confusing - not only do the characters sometimes blur into each other but he even hires both Tony Leungs for key roles in the same film while Brigitte Lin plays dual roles and, just to add to the clarity, the film's chronology is very misleading - but it's worth bearing with. A film I'll definitely be returning to, and I suspect more than just the once.

However, this DVD edition is one to avoid for reasons already outlined in other reviews here. Instead, track down the Hong Kong Mei Ha release: the picture quality is grainy, but the English subtitling is much better handled.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Love the music and all the talented acting, especially Leslie Cheung, he is my favorite!
Published 1 month ago by cynthia sodec
5.0 out of 5 stars Poetic Meditation on Wuxia Pian Motifs - Not Your Typical Martial Arts...
ASHES OF TIME, whether in its original 1994 version or the restored 2008 one known as "Redux", is not a conventional martial arts (wuxia pian) film. Read more
Published 8 months ago by Thomasius
1.0 out of 5 stars Art Form!
But Not my type of art, with whacked colors and dreamy scenes , it is a bit too much with very little sense of story plot.
Published 9 months ago by Mohammad Saadat
5.0 out of 5 stars With taste of Kurosawa
The name of Wong Kar Wai is widely known all around the world. Since his cult film 2946, this master director has elolaborated an own style among the most brilliant filmmakers of... Read more
Published 10 months ago by Hiram Gomez Pardo
4.0 out of 5 stars LOL - Toxic West is Germany and Pervert East is Japan
So Wong Kar Wai further HIDES Jing Yong's representation of the two Axis tag team partners as arthouse relationship neurotics. Read more
Published 12 months ago by Dwight
5.0 out of 5 stars These ashes are burned into my memory...
Wong Kar Wai is one of those directors who creates such vividly beautiful art pieces that his films become languid and dreamy in composition, truly evoking a physical reaction to... Read more
Published 12 months ago by Andrew Ellington
5.0 out of 5 stars Genius
The thing about Wong Kar Wai movies is you can watch them a hundred times and each time you feel like you are watching it for the first time. Read more
Published 15 months ago by VanHatten
5.0 out of 5 stars Wong Kar Wai is the best!
Watched the original version many years ago, so my memory of it is pretty bad. After watching the Redux however, I've got to say it couldn't get much better than this. Read more
Published 15 months ago by parkym
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant meditation on loss and memory
I love Wong Kar Wai and his movies, 2046 and this movie especially. It's difficult to explain if you haven't seen his movies before but the stylistic nature and meditation on life... Read more
Published 21 months ago by Dow Jones
2.0 out of 5 stars Dream emsemble, nightmare of a movie.
I watched the movie the first time in a theater in Taiwan about 20 years ago. As the credits rolled at the end the crowd boo'ed and largely classified the movie as a failure. Read more
Published 21 months ago by Hank
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