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Genre: Drama
Starring: Tony Leung, Tang Wei, Wang Li Hom, Joan Chen, Chin Kar Lok, Tou Chung Hua
Director: Ang Lee
Rating: NC-16 (Scenes of Intimacy)
Year Made: 2007








Languages: Mandarin
Subtitles: Traditional Chinese/Bahasa/Malay/Simplified Chinese/Thai
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
Presentation Size: 16x9 Widescreen
Sound: Dolby Digital 5.1
Running Time: 2 hrs 28 mins
Region Code: 3
Distributor: Scorpio East




The new film from Ang Lee, the Academy Award® winning director of Brokeback Mountain and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. A startling erotic espionage thriller about the fate of an ordinary woman's heart, it is based on the short story by revered Chinese author Eileen Chang, and stars Asian cinema icon Tony Leung opposite screen newcomer, Tang Wei.

Shanghai 1942, The World War II Japanese occupation of this Chinese city continues in force. Mrs. Mak, a woman of sophistication and means, walks into a cafe, places a call, and then sits and waits. She remembers how her story began several years earlier, in 1938 China.

She is not in fact Mrs. Mak, but shy Wong Chia Chia (Tang Wei). With WWII underway, Wong has been left behind by her father who has escaped to England. As a freshman at university, she meets fellow student Kuang Yu Min (Wang Leehom) Kuang has started a drama society to shore up patriotism. As the theatre troupe's new leading lady, Wong realizes that she has found her calling, able to move and inspire audiences-and Kuang. He convenes a core group of students to carry out a radical and ambitious plan to assassinate a top Japanese collaborator, Mr. Yee (Tony Leung).

Each student has a part to play; Wong will be Mrs. Mak, who will gain Yee's trust by befriending his wife (Joan Chen) and then draw the man into an affair. Wong transforms herself utterly inside and out, and the scenario proceeds as scripted until an unexpectedly fatal twist spurs her to flee.

Shanghai, 1941. With no end in sight for the occupation, Wong having emigrated from Hong Kong goes through the motions of her existence. Much to her surprise, Kuang re-enters her life. Now part of the organized resistance, he enlists her to again become Mrs. Mak in a revival of the plot to kill Yee, who as head of the collaborationist secret service has become even more a key part of the puppet government. As Wong reprises her earlier role, and is drawn even closer to her dangerous prey, she finds her very identity being pushed to the limit.


Sex always sells. Ang Lee's "Lust Caution" is the perfect example of it. The explicit sex scenes overwhelmed the other merits of the movie and garnered the wrong attention as a result of it.

First of all, the Chinese censors demanded that Lee cut away the naughty bits. Following that, our dear local distributor decides to release this "clean" version for public screening and after a big outcry, the original version was later released but by then, the movie already achieved a substantial box-office given it's rather arty genre. Thus the internet world was buzzing with people questioning the motives of the distributor. It was truly a movie of 2007 that never really require the use of the marketing budget.

Enough of the grapevine, let's talk about the movie "Lust Caution" which is adapted from the short story by one of China's renowned woman writer, Eileen Chang. As this is the original theatrical version which is slapped with an NC-16 rating, I shall approach it from this perspective instead (though I watched both versions).

Newcomer Tang Wei plays Wong Chia Chi, a student who enters the world of espionage for the sake of her country and the insistence of her schoolmates led by Kuang Yu Min (pop star Wong Leehom). The group of greenhorns only have one target in mind, which is to assassinate Mr Yee (Tony Leung), a top man working for the Japanese army. Disguising herself as the wife of a businessman, Wong won the trust of Yee's wife (Joan Chen) through numerous mahjong sessions and tries her best to grab Yee's attention hoping to assassinate him through lust.

I personally find Leung's performance wanting although a lot of professional critics agree otherwise. Indeed Leung puts in one of his finest and stellar act in his twenty-over years as an actor however his constant deadly, ominous stare in this 148 minutes movie can get a bit stale after a while. Tang Wei on the other hand deserves all the attention and I wouldn't mind giving her all the credits for salvaging "Lust Caution". For a first-time actress, she is tremendously versatile in her role as Wong Chia Chi. The role of Wong requires her to be innocent, pitiful, sexy, nude of course and in dilemma. And Tang has no problem fulfilling all these proving her potential to be far more bankable than a certain Zhang actress in the coming future.

The intensity and tumultuous relationship of Yee and Wong is downplayed in this version. Obviously, all the touted explicit sexual scenes are removed here, you should be glad however that Ang personally see to the cut of this 'friendlier' version and I doubt you will notice any abrupt jump that will distract your viewing pleasure. But since it's sex-free and violence free as well, some of you might feel less attached to the characters and their intention which I feel is a huge pity.

At the end of the day, everyone forgot that "Lust Caution" is again a wonderful piece of cinematic gem carved by Ang Lee. The performance of the cast, the beautiful cinematography by Rodrigo Prieto (who did Ang's "Brokeback Mountain", "Alexander") and the lush score by Alexandre Desplat are all overshadowed by the 'kamasutra' sex scenes.

Slow, at times flow like a well-versed poetry, "Lust Caution" or "Se Jie" will go down in cinematic history as one of Ang's daring works and Tang Wei's interpretation of Wong Chia Chi is simply too good to be true.


Maybe there's too much skin to be shown behind-the-scenes so this DVD comes with zero features. Hey! I'm kidding but not the zero features part.


Equipped with only Chinese subtitles and mostly dialogue based, I have no problem with the visual and audio of this Code 3 "Lust Caution" DVD. Colours do look a bit saturated perhaps it's Ang's intention to make it look a bit closer to the WWII Shanghai era. There are little scenes to make use of the Dolby Digital 5.1 except the beautiful musical notes from the score to delight you.



Review by Linus Tee


. Lust Caution (Movie Review)

. Lust Caution (Soundtrack Review)

Other titles from Scorpio East:

. Underdog

. Keeping Up With The Steins

. Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End

. The Santa Claus 3: The Escape Claus

. High School Musical 2: Extended Edition

. Mickey Saves Santa

. Ratatouille

. Pixar Short Films Volume One

. The Invisible

. The Lookout

. Who Slept With Her?

. The Jungle Book

. Disney Princess Enchanted Tales

. Meet The Robinsons

. Goal II: Living the Dream

. Hanna Montana

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. Wild Hogs

. Breaking And Entering

. Jump In

. Primeval

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. The Fox and the Hound 2

. The Fox and the Hound

. Dumbo

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. Operation Undercover

. Diary

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. Rob-B-Hood

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. Unarmed Combat

. Crazy Stone

. Election 2

. We Are Family

. I Not Stupid Too

. The Shoe Fairy

. 2 Becomes 1

. 49 Days


. Dragon Eye Congee

. A Chinese Tall Story

. Perhaps Love


. Election

. The Myth

. Wait 'Til You're Older

. The Maid


This review is made possible with the kind support from Scorpio East


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