What does a movie cop do when he gets in trouble? Well, obviously he accepts a risky assignment that nobody else wants to do. And it will definitely have to involve going undercover. Yep, that is why our hero is endangering his life in Beyond Redemption.
That is right, we get a pretty basic set up here. Brian Ho stars as Billy Tong, an undercover cop. For this assignment, Billy must infiltrate a gang as if one of their own for his latest assignment. While he tries to maintain his cover, he also must save the daughter of a Triad boss. These two goals are frequently at odds with each other, as Billy must constantly keep her safe despite the other gang member’s plans. As he keeps her from being harmed, he must do so in a way that keeps his fellow gang members from suspecting him. This is mostly successful despite a few times when a colleague questions some of his actions.
Now, really, Beyond Redemption just wasn’t all that good. Brian Ho isn’t bad as Billy, but he also isn’t all that great. It probably isn’t really his fault because for the most part none of the characters are too interesting or played extremely well. Most characters are pretty wooden. I suspect that is because this was a movie full of stuntmen with limited acting experience carrying on acting roles. It is even directed by a successful veteran in the stunt business, Bruce Fontaine. The weakness of the acting could very well be a reflection of an inexperienced or ineffective director. Only time can tell. The screenplay helps very little as it is also written by those with limited experience in that side of the business. On all fronts, this movie is a product of people playing outside of their background and strengths.
Do I think it is bad that these individuals are stepping out of their comfort zones to make this movie? Not by any means. But I’m also not going to give it a pass as a better movie just because of that. Beyond Redemption has a lot of issues stemming from this inexperience. Pacing issues caused the movie to feel like it frequently drug on and lingered on scenes where it shouldn’t. Even technical aspects of the film such as framing and lighting felt off throughout scenes.
The most disappointing part though was the fight scenes. I expected to at least have some fun fight scenes that are expertly executed. While I believe they were technically well executed, half of them were pretty boring. The worst crime was that it didn’t feature enough of them despite the stunt talent involved. The movie tried far too often to be a serious, dramatic crime movie and didn’t pull it off. It really just made the fight scenes seem too short and often a bit out of place or rushed.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the special effects. The effects often take you out of the movie. They are so amateurishly inserted into the feature that they stand out. I remember one moment when a character was shot and I had to rewind to see if it was as bad as I thought it was. The gunshot wound and blood spatter looked slightly above the level that I expect a rookie YouTube creator to insert into their shorts. Maybe they outsourced to the local high school.
All in all, this really is not an impressive effort and an overall disappointment.
Image Quality: 3.5/5
While Beyond Redemption features a relatively clean transfer, there isn’t much life to it. There must be a filter applied to it that just drained colors from the image. So many scenes look cold and sterile. This was probably an artistic choice, but it didn’t work and only drug down the image leaving colors and lighting feeling off.
Sound Quality: 3/5
Beyond Redemption features a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track. The lossless track makes for a good start. And on the upside, the dialog always sounded very clear during the movie. On the downside, the audio wasn’t as effectively balanced as it should have been. I was also disappointed in the strength and power behind the effects.
Special Features and Packaging: 2/5
Yuan vs. Billy: Fight rehearsal.
Mauler Fight: Fight rehearsal.
Trailer: Obvious feature is obvious.
Well Go includes just a little bit in the way of extras. The trailer is included with choreographing sessions for two of the fights. Nothing too exciting, but those with interest into fight choreography will probably enjoy it.
Packaging is pretty run of the mill. Beyond Redemption comes in just a standard case and an advertising insert. No real artwork on the disc or inside the cover.
Honestly, it doesn’t really matter how good the presentation was. I don’t think this is worth owning. The special features aren’t bad, but they aren’t extensive either. Two quick behind the scenes clips showing fight composition and a trailer. It looks OK, but it doesn’t really look that great either. Regardless, the movie doesn’t even have the fun or energy necessary to offset the lackluster execution or presentation. It is a dull and uninteresting affair. Please spend your money on a better movie. I recommend a skip on this one.
But, if you must, you can get it here.
Note: This Blu-ray was sent to us for review. This has not affected our judgement or editorial process in any way. Please contact us if you have any questions regarding this process.