Badges of Fury (Blu-ray Review)

Badges of Fury - www.whysoblu.comWhen a series of eerie murders erupt across Hong Kong, two trouble making cops are assigned to the case. Young maverick WANG (Zhang Wen) is a reckless risk-taker, and grizzled vet HUANG (Jet Li) is fed up with cleaning up his rookie’s messes. After discovering all the victims were former boyfriends of aspiring starlet LIU, the detectives (one now posing as her lover) are caught in a deadly game to lure the killer out. 

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Badges of Fury is Jet Li’s latest action romp featuring Zhang Wen as his rookie partner. Li is the grizzled old veteran who has been through the ringer and seen it all during his long tenure as one of the police force’s most decorated officers. Did I mention he plays by his own rules? Well, he does. The city has come under siege by someone who is targeting the ex-boyfriend’s of the starlet LIU – the media has taken to calling the murders the “smile killings.” That’s due to the victims all dying with a smile on their faces. Literally.

I do want lay down a big ass disclaimer for Badges of Fury. It is NOT a traditional Jet Li action flick. I’ve seen the trailers and they pretty much try to play it as a straight action flick. That is not the case. Badges of Fury is literally a live action cartoon. People have the ability to leap buildings and are able to do many other super human feats as if they were born with these abilities. There are many instances where the film mocks itself and the actors like the whole “does Jet Li download his own movies via Bit Torrent” and a pretty funny MIB gag to boot. There’s plenty more.

I would say that the comedy element along with the slapstick element in Badges of Fury works well, because the film knows EXACTLY what it wants to be. It’s self-aware. I fear the problem in its audience will be that they didn’t sign up for this type of film. It’s Naked Gun meets any Jackie Chan film along with any American buddy cop film all put through the meat grinder. Do all of the elements work? Not at all. Some of the bits do fall flat like the opening of the film – but give it about 10 minutes after that and you will know what it’s going to be like from there on out.

Jet Li and Zheng Wen play off of each other wonderfully when they are onscreen together. This isn’t the case for most of the film though, because they’re both rarely in any scenes together. Zheng’s character spends most of his time with his female superior (who is also hilarious) running their investigation while Li’s character is off doing his own thing. Once everyone is together then some of the major laughs kick in. Oh, and before I forget, the action and wirework choreography was handled by Cory Yuen (The Transporter), so you’ll see many above average action set pieces in Badges of Fury. Some are very cool, too! They are exaggerated as hell but this is a very exaggerated comedy action movie and it works.

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Badges of Fury is presented in 1080p, 2.40:1 widescreen. Flesh tones appear natural and balanced out. The only time things get a bit hairy are during some of the lesser rendered visual FX that often times to match the real world that they’re supposed to be in. Contrast levels are usually off in those scenes along with the colors. Now when we deal in the real world everything is up to snuff. Black levels are pristine as are contrast levels. Sharpness is never tweaked with and I did not detect any instances of noise or color banding in those scenes. Badges of Fury looks pretty good on Blu-ray.

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Badges of Fury is presented in Mandarin DTS-HD MA 5.1. There is an optional 5.1 English dub, as well. Get ready to duck for cover, because the lossless audio on Badges of Fury is one you do not want to mess with. The LFE is the true star of the film in that we have tons of scenes where people go through concrete walls, people get swung around in slow motion and so on. The subwoofer handled it all with ease. Dialogue is also clean and crisp. The surround sound channels also handle the barrage of effects thrown their way with relative ease, as well. This is an excellent near-reference soundtrack that will give your home theater a nice pummeling.

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There are only 3 extras on this disc and two of them are featurettes that were split off into segments and a trailer. The first set of featurettes details what the male/female cast went through during filming and the second featurette is a making-of segment that is in the same style as the other segments. I don’t really know what they were all separated. They’re also presented in SD, which is a bummer. The U.S. theatrical trailer is included and aside from one scene does not give you the indicator that it’s a full-blown comedy.

  • Making Of (SD)
  • Behind the Scenes (SD)
  • Trailer (HD)

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Again, Badges of Fury is NOT your typical Jet Li action film. It’s a COMEDY action film with the emphasis on COMEDY. Now, knowing this, I do recommend the film, because it does nail some of the comedic moments quite nicely. Some of the references to other films and pop-culture were also a nice touch. The Blu-ray has very good audio and video. The special features could have definitely been beefed up and presented in HD. I don’t know what happened there. Overall, Badges of Fury was a lot of fun.




Order Badges of Fury on Blu-ray!

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Gerard Iribe is a writer/reviewer for Why So Blu?. He has also reviewed for other sites like DVD Talk, Project-Blu, and CHUD, but Why So Blu? is where the heart is. You can follow his incoherency on Twitter: @giribe

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