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Shanghai Triad (2009)

Zhang Yimou  |  Unrated |  DVD
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)


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Product Details

  • Directors: Zhang Yimou
  • Format: Color, NTSC
  • Language: Chinese
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: Beauty Media Inc.
  • DVD Release Date: November 10, 2009
  • Run Time: 106 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B002IJQ3NO
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #740,431 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

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Editorial Reviews

SHANGHAI TRIAD - DVD Movie

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
27 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Decadent, cool and highly enjoyable September 22, 2004
Format:DVD
This is a movie I think people either like a lot or dislike a lot. I've seen it twice in movie houses and now three times on DVD. It's a cool film, decadent to the core and with only one really likeable character, a 14 year old boy. I'm one of those who like it a lot.

The boy is brought to Shanghai (in the 1930s) by his gangster uncle to work in the "family" of a powerful, aging drug boss. The drug lord's mistress, a nightclub singer, is played by Gong Li. The boy is assigned to fetch and carry for her. Gong Li plays her as a willful, beautiful, selfish and perhaps overly confident courtesan. Gong Li sings and dances several times as the star of the nightclub, and she is wonderful in the part.

Nearly everything is seen from the perspective of the boy -- which means you don't get the full picture at any one time. There's a brutal gang attack and the boss with his key henchmen, his mistress and the boy flee to an isolated fog-bound island to regroup and plot. There's betrayal and merciless, calculated revenge, and practical killing. The ending, needless to say, is not pleasant...except, perhaps, for the boss. The boy, at least, survives.

The film is gorgeous to look at and beautifully lit and photographed. The DVD transfer is excellent.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Haunting, and beautiful. A great film! February 20, 2001
Format:VHS Tape
After hearing Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon's Zhang Ziyi compared in acting ability to Gong Li, I decided to find a film of hers. Not only was Shanghai Triad my find, but Zhang Yimou, the director, also direct Zhang Ziyi 2 years ago in a more simple film. Shanghai Triad concerns young Shuishung Tang, who has come to Shanghai on the order of his Uncle. Tang's Uncle is in the employ of a mob boss, who is getting on in years, but is very powerful. After sometime, Young Tang meets Bijou, The boss's mistress. This of course, is Gong Li. Bijou appears very beautiful when we first see her, but after seeing her backstage, we quickly wonder if she has any redeeming qualities. The city life seems to have spoiled her, and she treats young Tang like garbage. It is after a supposed run-in with trouble that the Boss is injured (along with Tang's Uncle), and the Boss, Bijou, Tang, and several of his associates go to a small island to hide. While, there, Bijou and Tang encounter a widow and her daughter. As she begins to talk and play with the widow and her daughter, Bijou's haughty attitude seems to disappear, and we see the woman she could have become had she not gone to shanghai. The widow and her daughter are almost sentiments to what life could have been like for Bijou: carefree, and almost no troubles like she is in now. The film runs 2 hours long, and you will not believe it when an hour has gone by, becuase of the film's pacing. Gong Li does several wonderful turns, especially in a musical selection called "Moonlight," dressed in Chinese outfit with a delicate pink fan. There is also a cute but touching scene where she and the young widow's daughter do a small duet to a children's song that both know. The ending will leave you either in tears, or feeling empty. For me, it was the former.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
Format:DVD
Having become a recent fan of Asian cinema (one of my favorites being 3 SEASONS), I found this movie, from its outset, to draw me into the world of Shanghi, China during the 1930s. Created with precision and stunning decor both interior and exterior, the director has crafted the story of a boy who comes to the city to work as a servant for a mafia boss's "Miss." The story progresses over a week's time and is evenly paced. It's strength is found in each scene, which maintained my interest with the careful brilliance and awe of each shot, and the obvious abilities of the film's actors/actress. Highly recommended, especially to the film buff who is looking for a story/visual film that goes beneath the surface.
This movie should be in any collection of great films.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Evocative and Enjoyable January 3, 2002
By jarrod
Format:VHS Tape
"Shanghai Triad" still is somewhat of an ambiguous film to me - I found it to be a very good entertainment piece, and visually stunning - yet there were some elements of plot, construction, et cetera (?) that left me with a sense of dissatisfaction.
Certainly not the best of Gong Li's work, yet a wonderful addition to her extraordinary repertoire.
Gong Li is truly in a class by herself, and this movie as I said before rounds out her resume of characters which she has embodied.
Her performance is the main attration to this film, and I think that the remorse which she expresses in the final sequences are heartbreakingly beautiful. Her defiant humor and cavalier attitude at the same point in time makes one admire her ability all the more.
Lush and exciting, yet ultimately unfulfilling.
I still highly recommend this film to anyone who wishes to see Li in a departure from many of her other films - and I would have to say I enjoyed it very much.
I think Yimou made the mistake of relying on decoration in this film far too much, thereby undermining the expressive force of his actors. A sense that much was contrived, and clumsiness abounds - certainly not up to par with his earlier, more subtle works.
A movie worth every cent just for the entertainment value - with the added attraction of one of the most talented actresses the world shall probably ever know - intersting and enjoyable.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Very good
Published 20 days ago by John Copeland
3.0 out of 5 stars Vintage movie
I didn't realize it was so old (silly me for not reading) and that the sets and acting were of that time period. Still, Gong Li is gorgeous!
Published 9 months ago by David A. Schultz
5.0 out of 5 stars review
I have a Asian collection, and this is great to add onto my others.I like any movie with Gong Li.
Published 11 months ago by barbara deering
4.0 out of 5 stars Another lovely Zhang Yimou and Gong Li collaboration
Shanghai Triad is another beautiful and unhurried film from Zhang Yimou. The amazing collaborative streak between Yimou and the remarkable Gong Li (in modern film, there are two... Read more
Published on September 5, 2011 by Steve
3.0 out of 5 stars No happy-endings for denizens of 30s Shanghai
*** This review contains spoilers ***

In some quarters, Shanghai Triad has been acclaimed both for its excellent cinematography and storyline. Read more
Published on May 31, 2010 by Turfseer
1.0 out of 5 stars bad buy
don't get this, it's poorly re-produced, probably by a home dvd factory in some one's basement. It comes NOT in widescreen and audio/visuals were scratchy. Read more
Published on July 18, 2009 by tseng
4.0 out of 5 stars Visuals Are The Highlight Here
The big plus here is in the visual department It is gorgeously filmed with deep, rich colors. I'd like to see this with a good Blu-Ray transfer. Read more
Published on July 1, 2009 by Craig Connell
5.0 out of 5 stars Gangster politics in gorgeous color
(Note: Over 500 of my movie reviews are now available in my book "Cut to the Chaise Lounge or I Can't Believe I Swallowed the Remote!" Get it at Amazon. Read more
Published on June 2, 2008 by Dennis Littrell
5.0 out of 5 stars Thrilling and Edge of Your Seat Gangland Drama
I have read the opinion of the New Yorker and find it sadly wanting in credibility. This is a great movie with a strong plot depicting love, treachery, new horizons, personal... Read more
Published on May 6, 2008 by Kevin Carroll
5.0 out of 5 stars A majuscule film and probably the most relevant of that year!
A country bumpkin cousin in the 1930s, is called to Shanghai to wait on the mobster's girlfriend. And we suspect, a very hazardous love affair will emerge inside this violent... Read more
Published on December 26, 2007 by Hiram Gomez Pardo
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