Blu-ray Review: The Children of Huang Shi - Twilight Time Limited Edition

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All Twilight Time Blu-ray releases are strictly limited to an initial 3,000 unit pressing. For ordering information on this new title (or anything else not Sold Out in their back catalog), visit distributor Screen Archives or the official Twilight Time site.

The Children of Huang Shi - A much more recent film than commonly offered by Twilight Time, this Australian/Chinese/German co-production first hit screen in 2008. Roger Spottiswoode directs this historical period piece, while Jonathan Rys-Meyers, Radha Mitchell, Michelle Yeoh, and Chow Yun-Fat star. Spottiswoode's ong filmography is quite varied. Early in his career he served as an editor (including Hard Times, Walter Hill's 1975 directorial debut, also released by Twilight Time). Later he directed the 1983 political thriller Under Fire (another TT limited edition), as well everything from the Sylvester Stallone turkey Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot to the Bond blockbuster Tomorrow Never Dies.

Huang Shi, based on a true story, focuses on British journalist George Hogg (Rhys-Meyers). The year is 1938. Japan has invaded and occupied parts of China. Hogg undergoes trial by fire as he documents the horrors of that occupation after managing to sneak into Nanjing. Spottiswoode quite effectively chronicles Hogg's journey, a truly stunning and dangerous undertaking to escort dozens of orphaned Chinese children to safety amidst the Second Sino-Japanese War (1937-1945). In addition to incisive acting by Rhys-Meyers, Chow Yun-Fat is striking as Chinese resistance fighter Chen Hansheng and the always-reliable Radha Mitchell is strong as nurse Lee Pearson.

Twilight Time's Blu-ray offers a fantastic visual presentation of Zhao Xiaoding's cinematography. The film was shot in numerous locations throughout China, all captured beautifully by the Oscar-nominated Xiaoding (House of Flying Daggers). David Hirschfelder's score is available here as an isolated track (the film itself is presented in DTS-HD MA 5.1). "The Challenge of Huang Shi" is a welcome (but too-short at 12 minutes) 'making of' featurette.

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Chaz Lipp writes for The Morton Report.

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