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Wild Search, by Ringo Lam, on Blu-ray from Spectrum Films

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Back on Wild Search (1989), the Witness by Ringo Lam post-trilogy “On Fire”, to (re)discover on Blu-ray at Spectrum Films.

Summary: Traffickers are caught in the middle of a drug deal by the police. Inspector Lau (Chow Yun-fat) is tasked with protecting the only witness to this massacre from the sadistic murderer who wants him dead, whatever the cost.

Love, peasants and big guns

As Arnaud Lanuque reminds us in his excellent presentation of the film, Hollywood and Hong Kong cinemas have borrowed narrative concepts, aesthetic motifs as well as actors. Wild Searchmade after his “on fire” trilogy, which includes – chronologically – City on Fire (February 1987), Jail on Fire (November 1987) and school on fire (1988).

Inspired by the critical and public success of Witness by Peter Weir released in 1985, Wild Search stands out from the first minutes of its American counterpart by its urban experience. Neon lights reflecting off the windshield, crowds everywhere, smoke coming out of restaurant extractors, nightclub music embracing us as our hero, Inspector Lau (subtly played by Chow Yun-fat ), drops an indicator. With Ringo Lam, the camera captures the essence of the spaces to better immerse the viewer. Hong Kong shines at night, drenches or suffocates by day, with a dull violence that becomes absurd. Witness, as Rafik Djoumi points out in the supplement signed Capture Mag, this gunfight scene at the restaurant where the inspector confronts a killer barely two meters away while turning around a load-bearing beam. Unlike Weir’s film, which leans towards a more classic representation of organized crime, the violence here can reach heights of intensity: we think of this scene where the killer sets fire to our inspector hidden behind a pile of straw , with a Chow Yun-fat ready for anything. We can also remember the beating of our cop hero by the leader of the organized gang and his gang, whose reign is marked by cannon as in the Hong Kong economy.

Facing the insomniac city, Lam presents the countryside not by light and sound, but by the gesture of the peasants, who carry their load of wood, work in the field. Weir quickly set up a crowded, overactive, dirty Philadelphia, which Harrison Ford left to join the Amish campaign and at the same time, really launch the film’s narrative. Through Ford’s prism, the viewer discovered this strange community, shrouded in legends and other bar stories. Above all, he began to take shape in this space which he did not dominate – but which, unlike the city, did not suffocate him – and this, through gesture. Although, unlike Witnessthe work of the gesture contributes more to the spectatorial immersion in Lam than to the enthronement of his character in the peasant community, the two films share a narrative character trait.

In effect, Witness and Wild Search are two initiatory stories. In the first, the policeman played by Ford will reconnect with the land, with the collective gestures that constitute manufacturing and construction, as well as with romantic feelings. It is therefore for him to leave the city – space of urban collective life – where death, betrayal and frenzied individualism reign, to find a form of humanity with the Amish in the large green expanses of Lancaster County. . Ringo Lam will however lead Chow Yun-fat on another initiatory path. Inspector Lau will not reconnect with nature, which is a space dominated by other forms of authority and violence, but will learn to (re)create links. Faced with the muted and explosive violence specific to his style, Lam summons Hong Kong romanticism, never silly, sometimes bluish and above all romantic. We can also think of the grandfather of the child-witness, here a girl, who will refuse to manage it, and who will finally find peace when he agrees to create a bond with her.

Facing the chaos of life, Witness summons through the figure of the Amish a form of return to a primitive social state (in various aspects) but peaceful and functional, whereas Wild Search finds hope in the creation of human connection. So, to quote the Youtuber Infant Terrible responsible for the videos Why I Like This Movie, Wild Search is definitely not a remake, let alone a film vulgarly inspired by its model. Ringo Lam’s film manages to digest its inspirations to offer a singular story with a Hong Kong double tone with more abrupt shifts in the atmosphere than usual, and this, in the service of a vision of the world all in shades of gray beautiful and well marked by the filmmaker.

Wild Search (Ringo Lam, 1989) – Excerpt

Wild Search on Blu-ray

Wild Search is to be (re)discovered in a solid Blu-ray edition from Spectrum Films. At the same time as the English publisher Eureka, Spectrum Films embarked on Wild Search with a completely convincing HD master. A few imperfections (notably tremors) are there, but nothing too disturbing, except for a certain general softness of the image which does not, however, lack sharpness. For good reason, it would probably be the fact, as noted testsbluray.comthat an interpositive has been scanned and not the negative as supported There is little to say about the colorimetry as it seems precisely balanced. Also, we can salute the absence of overprocessing of the image with a presence and a management of the grain that is simply natural. Small clarification: the image is presented here in 1.78 format and not 1.85 as at Eureka who added thin black bands on it.

On the sound side, we will favor the track 2.0 to 5.1. Unlike the second, the first does not lack dynamism and clarity. Also the experience of “surround” effects on the 5.1 track is truly disappointing.

The movie experience is rounded out with some great add-ons. If the various bonuses quickly intersect on the question of the remake, each of them will take different directions. The regular supplements on Spectrum Film editions, Arnaud Lanuquereviews the borrowings between Hollywood and Hong Kong, as well as the place of film in Ringo Lam’s career. The Capture Mag teamhere embodied by Rafik Djoumi and Stéphane Moïssakis, evokes through a podcast Steroids the singular character of the feature film, with strangeness in the action, a very fine interpretation of the cast or the raw violence of the staging by Lam who does not hesitate to plunge into the somewhat “blue flower” romance . As is often the case with Steroids podcasts, we can note clumsy shortcuts and some vague memories. Next, The Youtuber Infant Terrible quickly brushes aside the film’s remake status to return to the elements that appeal to him, such as the fact that the violence is not inconsequential, that the story progresses according to the actions of the characters and not in spite of them, or even on the immersion allowed by the “almost documentary” visual treatment of the real sets. We finally find, in addition to the trailer, an old interview with actor Roy Cheungwhich looks back on his career and in particular on his performances in the cinema of Ringo Lam and his relationship with the filmmaker.

Trailer – Wild Search (Ringo Lam, 1989)


BD-50 – MPEG-4 AVC-HD 1080p HD – 1.78 – 16/9e – Languages: DTS-HD Master Audio Cantonese 2.0 & 5.1 – French subtitles – Hong-Kong – 1989 – Policeman – Duration: 1h38


Presentation of the film by Arnaud Lanuque

See as well

Interview with Roy Cheung

Podcast on the film by the Capture Mag team

Why I Like This Movievideo by Youtuber Infant Terrible

Movie Trailer

Released on 06/30/2021 – Recommended retail price: €25

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