Shanghai (2010) Poster

Shanghai (2010)

  • Rate: 6.5/10 total 3,366 votes 
  • Genre: Drama | Mystery | Romance | Thriller
  • Release Date: 2011 (USA)
  • Runtime: 105 min
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Shanghai (2010)


Shanghai 2010tt1092634.jpg poster

  • IMDb page: Shanghai (2010)
  • Rate: 6.5/10 total 3,366 votes 
  • Genre: Drama | Mystery | Romance | Thriller
  • Release Date: 2011 (USA)
  • Runtime: 105 min
  • Filming Location: Bangkok, Thailand
  • Budget: $50,000,000(estimated)
  • Gross: $132,573(Singapore)(18 July 2010)
  • Director: Mikael Håfström
  • Stars: John Cusack, Li Gong and Yun-Fat Chow
  • Original Music By: Klaus Badelt   
  • Soundtrack: Cocktail Jump
  • Sound Mix: Dolby Digital
  • Plot Keyword: Place Name In Title | Shanghai China | One Word Title | City Name In Title

Writing Credits By:

  • Hossein Amini (written by)

Known Trivia

  • The project was set to roll early 2008 in China but the authorities blocked the shoot just weeks before production was set to begin. China’s exit meant walking away from sets that had been built at a cost of $3 million. Weinstein Co. shifted the shoot to London and Thailand, where sets have been built re-creating Shanghai’s old colonial architecture.
  • The brainchild of Mike Medavoy, who was born in Shanghai in 1941 and who developed the story through his Phoenix Pictures shingle, project was subsequently bought by Harvey Weinstein while still at Miramax; it took eight years in the making.
  • At one point, Johnny Depp was interested in the project.
  • John Cusack said once he heard the filmmakers were interested in casting him, he aggressively lobbied for the part.
  • Prior to filming, Franka Potente’s life was threatened by a stalker. Throughout the filming and entire production she was referred to by a pseudonym.

Plot: A '40s period piece which revolves around an American expat who returns to Shanghai in the months before Pearl Harbor due to the death of his friend. Full summary » |  »

Story: An American man returns to a corrupt, Japanese-occupied Shanghai four months before Pearl Harbor and discovers his friend has been killed. While he unravels the mysteries of the death, he falls in love and discovers a much larger secret that his own government is hiding.Written by Marisa_Gabriella  

FullCast & Crew

Produced By:

  • Kelly Dennis known as co-producer
  • Donna Gigliotti known as producer
  • David U. Lee known as co-executive producer
  • Chris Lowenstein known as line producer
  • Mike Medavoy known as producer
  • Barry Mendel known as producer
  • Arnold Messer known as executive producer
  • Jake Myers known as producer
  • Steven Squillante known as executive producer
  • David Thwaites known as executive producer
  • Bob Weinstein known as executive producer
  • Harvey Weinstein known as executive producer

FullCast & Crew:

  • John Cusack known as Paul Soames
  • Li Gong known as Anna Lan-Ting (as Gong Li)
  • Yun-Fat Chow known as Anthony Lan-Ting (as Chow Yun-Fat)
  • David Morse known as Richard Astor
  • Ken Watanabe known as Tanaka
  • Franka Potente known as Leni Mueller
  • Jeffrey Dean Morgan known as Conner
  • Hugh Bonneville known as Ben Sanger
  • Yuan On known as Yuan
  • Hon Ping Tang known as Chen
  • Benedict Wong known as Juso Kita
  • Christopher Buchholz known as Karl Mueller
  • Ronan Vibert known as Mikey
  • Nicholas Rowe known as Ralph
  • Michael Culkin known as Billy
  • Wolf Kahler known as German Consul
  • Valentine Fillol-Cordier known as French Taxi Dancer
  • Kowit Wattanakul known as Junk Captain (as Kovit Wattanakul)
  • Osamu Yoshida known as Japanese Plainclothesman
  • Kittipong Subthawonpan known as Wounded Assassin – Tuxedo (as Kittipong Subthawongpan)
  • Dai Tabuchi known as Japanese Marine Officer
  • Leon Sua known as Executioner
  • Paul Wilson known as British Port Official
  • Andrew Charleson known as English Port Official
  • Wera Lerdsombut known as Japanese Captain
  • Christian Hink known as German Ship's Steward
  • Yennis Cheung-Yan known as Sanger's Girlfriend (as Yennis Cheung)
  • Sumena Chongvatpong known as Kita's Girlfriend
  • Josh Darcy known as Hotel Receptionist
  • Puchid Chanarong known as Croupier
  • Hiro Sano known as Japanese Soldier – Railway Station
  • Thanakrit Chiwsuth known as Tang
  • Race Wong known as Cabaret Performer #1
  • Rosanne Wong known as Cabaret Performer #2
  • Gemma Chan known as Shin Shin
  • Andrew Yiallouros known as Soldier
  • Crystal Yu known as Lili
  • Dean Alexandrou known as Distraught Husband (uncredited)
  • Catherine Balavage known as Secretary (uncredited)
  • Russell Geoffrey Banks known as Fleeing Businessman (uncredited)
  • Leigh Barwell known as Burlesque Dancer (uncredited)
  • Chris Bowe known as G.I. Soldier (uncredited)
  • Aine Carlin known as Hotel Guest (uncredited)
  • Matt Cho known as Fleeing Civilian (uncredited)
  • Joe Cummings known as Businessman (uncredited)
  • Yohanna Farrell-Knight known as German Party Guest (uncredited)
  • David Firestar known as German Spy (uncredited)
  • Cyril Gouaida known as Photographer (uncredited)
  • Lex de Groot known as Hotel Guest (uncredited)
  • Philip Harvey known as Berated Editor (uncredited)
  • Creighton Mark Johnson known as Port Athuority (uncredited)
  • Junichi Kajioka known as Various (voice) (uncredited)
  • Anton Kalinitchenko known as White Russian Merchant (uncredited)
  • Rinko Kikuchi known as Sumiko (uncredited)
  • Daniel Lapaine known as Ted (uncredited)
  • Alex Liang known as Chinese Resistance Fighter (voice) (uncredited)
  • Selina Lo known as Mei Ling (uncredited)
  • Tohoru Masamune known as Radio Announcer (voice) (uncredited)
  • Peter Mossman known as Businessman (uncredited)
  • Cameron Pearson known as Businessman (uncredited)
  • Nick Sakai known as Additional Voices (voice) (uncredited)
  • Ian Stacey known as Hotel Guest (uncredited)
  • Don Tai known as Lan-Ting Bodyguard (uncredited)
  • Chuen Tsou known as Lan-Ting Bodyguard (uncredited)
  • Alexander Van Terheyden known as Reporter (uncredited)
  • Simon John Wilson known as Sailer (uncredited)



Supporting Department

Makeup Department:
  • Sophia Burnage known as daily crowd makeup artist
  • Sidony Etherton known as makeup trainee
  • Louise Fisher known as makeup artist
  • Sarah Love known as hair designer for Gong Li
  • Nicola Matthews known as key makeup artist
  • Fran Needham known as make up artist: crowd
  • Aileen Seaton known as hair designer
  • Aileen Seaton known as makeup designer
  • Andrew Simonin known as crowd hairdresser
  • Vasit Suchitta known as prosthetic effects: Thailand (as Visit 'Moo' Suchitta)
  • Felicity Wright known as make-up
  • Denise Wynbrandt known as personal hair stylist
  • Denise Wynbrandt known as personal makeup artist

Art Department:

  • Denise Ball known as modelmaker
  • Graham Bishop known as production buyer
  • Nattavut Buranakij known as stand-by props
  • Graham Caulfield known as drapesmaster: UK
  • Somm Suthinee Chantakarn known as art department coordinator: Thailand
  • Andrea Couch known as draughtsperson/model maker
  • Jonathan Downing known as second unit stand-by prop
  • Jools Faiers known as graphic designer
  • Veronica Falzon known as art department researcher
  • Mark Fruin known as chargehand stand-by propman
  • Tony Graysmark known as construction manager
  • John Greaves known as storyboard artist
  • Shane Harford known as dressing props
  • Rohan Harris known as scenic artist
  • Jacopo Iodice known as sign graphics coordinator
  • Mary Mackenzie known as graphic artist
  • Tony Marks known as carpenter
  • Sorayuk Mookleemas known as stand-by art director
  • Eddie Murphy known as carpenter
  • Ian Murray known as rigger
  • Tyrone Reed known as supervising stagehand
  • Darren Reynolds known as second unit chargehand stand-by prop
  • Oliver Roberts known as stand-by art director
  • Terry Royce known as chargehand props storeman
  • Caroline Smith known as set decorator: UK
  • Linnea Springfeldt known as art department assistant
  • Pipat Sripradoo known as set dressing
  • Sarah Stuart known as second unit stand-by art director
  • Witoon Suanyai known as set decorator: Thailand
  • App Chutima Thnomjit known as art department runner: Thailand
  • Louis Turner known as stand-by props
  • Arthur Wicks known as property master




Production Companies:

  • Living Films
  • Phoenix Pictures
  • TWC Asian Film Fund
  • Weinstein Company, The

Other Companies:

  • Abbey Road Studios  score recorded at (as EMI Abbey Road Studios)
  • Bian Niu Nia Studios  score recorded at (as Bian Niu Nia Studios Beijing)
  • Camera Corner  thanks (as Camera Corner Co.)
  • Corbis  stock footage
  • Cutting Edge  negative cutting
  • Deluxe  digital intermediate (as Deluxe New York)
  • Deutsche Grammophon  soundtrack
  • Dolby Laboratories  sound mix
  • EMI / Abbey Studios  music recorded at
  • Framestore  digital intermediate
  • Getty Images  stock footage
  • HLC Productions  score mixed at (as HLC Productions Paris)
  • Kantana Group Public Co.  thanks (as Kantana Group)
  • Kodak  motion picture film supplied by
  • Life Studio  score recorded at (as Life Studio Rome)
  • Lightsource  thanks (as Lightsource Co.)
  • Living Films  production services: Thailand
  • London Metropolitan Orchestra  music performed by
  • London Metropolitan Orchestra, The  orchestra
  • Midnight Digital  Dailies
  • Moonstar Studios  thanks
  • Oriental Post Co. Ltd.  thanks (as Oriental Post)
  • Panalux  film lighting
  • Panavision UK  camera equipment provided by
  • Post Modern Sound  ADR recording facility
  • Production Copier Company  production equipment and services
  • Rightway Film Services  negative cutting (as Rightway Films)
  • Salon  Avid HD Editing Equipment Provided By
  • Siamlite Film Service  thanks
  • Sound One  re-recorded at
  • Thailand Film Office  thanks
  • Trevanna Post  post-production accounting
  • Twickenham Film Studios  re-recorded at
  • V.S. Services  thanks
  • West Trend Apartments  accommodation agent


  • Diamond Films (2011) (Argentina) (theatrical)
  • E1 Entertainment Benelux (2010) (Netherlands) (theatrical)
  • GAGA (2011) (Japan) (theatrical)
  • Golden Village Pictures (2010) (Singapore) (theatrical)
  • Saigon Movies Media (2010) (Vietnam) (theatrical)
  • Sundream Motion Pictures (2010) (Hong Kong) (theatrical)
  • Weinstein Company, The (2010) (USA) (theatrical)
  • CN Entertainment (2010) (Hong Kong) (DVD) (Blu-ray)
  • E1 Entertainment Benelux (2011) (Netherlands) (DVD)
  • E1 Entertainment Benelux (2011) (Netherlands) (DVD) (Blu-ray)
  • Future Film (2010) (Finland) (all media)
  • Hualu Electronic Audio & Video Publish Co. (2010) (China) (DVD) (Blu-ray)
  • Imagem Filmes (2010) (Brazil) (all media)
  • Midget Entertainment (2010) (Denmark) (all media)
  • Noble Entertainment (2011) (Sweden) (DVD)
  • Noble Entertainment (2011) (Sweden) (DVD) (Blu-ray)
  • Odeon (2010) (Greece) (all media)
  • Roadshow Entertainment (2012) (Australia) (DVD)
  • Universum Film (UFA) (2012) (Germany) (DVD) (Blu-ray)



Other Stuff

Special Effects:

  • Cinesite (visual effects film recording)
  • Guerilla FX (visual effects)
  • Moving Picture Company (MPC) (visual effects)
  • Plowman Craven & Associates (3D LIDAR scanning and digital modelling) (as Plowman Craven)
  • Senate Visual Effects, The (digital visual effects by)

Visual Effects by:

  • Louie Alexander known as digital compositor: Framestore
  • Peter Amante known as digital artist: Guerilla FX
  • Richard Baillie known as prep artist: MPC
  • John Bair known as visual effects supervisor: Guerilla FX
  • Matthew Baker known as retouch and restoration: Framestore
  • Renuka Ballal known as visual effects producer: Guerilla FX
  • Angela Barson known as visual effects supervisor: MPC
  • Rodrigo Bernardo known as digital intermediate engineer
  • Zachary Bloom known as scanning and recording: Framestore
  • William Blunden known as visual effects editor
  • Luca Bonatti known as digital matte painter: MPC
  • Clare Brody known as data operator – framestore
  • Naomi Butler known as roto artist
  • Daniel Canfora known as cg supervisor
  • Felipe Canfora known as digital artist: The Senate VFX
  • Miodrag Colombo known as digital compositor: The Moving Picture Company
  • Vivian Connolly known as visual effects producer: Guerilla FX
  • Zoe Cousins known as digital film scanning and recording: Framestore
  • Nick D'Aguiar known as digital compositor: Senate Visual Effects
  • Molle DeBartolo known as digital intermediate qc
  • Caroline Delen known as modeler: MPC (as Caroline Delengaigne)
  • Stanley A. Dellimore known as head of layout: MPC
  • Jerome Dewhurst known as di engineer
  • Richard Edwards known as digital intermediate data operator
  • Yasmine El-Ghamrawy known as digital artist: The Senate VFX
  • Yasmine El-Ghamrawy known as digital compositor
  • Dominique Fiore known as digital compositor: Senate Visual Effects
  • Andrew Fletcher known as digital compositor: Senate Visual Effects
  • Pawl Fulker known as pre-visualization supervisor
  • Will Fullagar known as rotoscope artist: MPC
  • Marco Genovesi known as digital environments artist: MPC
  • Clement Gerard known as head of environment: MPC
  • Ben Gillingham-Sutton known as prep artist: MPC (as Benedict Gillingham-Sutton)
  • Adam Glasman known as digital intermediate colourist
  • Charlie Habanananda known as digital intermediate conform editor
  • Luan Hall known as rotoscope artist: Senate Visual Effects
  • Mick Harper known as digital artist: The Senate VFX
  • Adam Hawkes known as digital compositor
  • Karsten Hecker known as digital intermediate engineer
  • Sarah Hemsley known as visual effects executive producer: The Senate VFX
  • Martin Hession known as texture artist: MPC
  • Matt Hicks known as visual effects artist (as Matthew Hicks)
  • Jan Hogevold known as executive producer: framestore di
  • Joseph André Jacir known as digital artist: Guerilla FX
  • Arek Komorowski known as digital compositor
  • Robin Konieczny known as digital artist: The Senate VFX
  • Lana Likic known as visual effects coordinator
  • James Long known as digital intermediate data operator
  • Christian Lowe known as digital artist: Guerilla FX
  • Natalie MacDonald known as digital compositor: Senate Visual Effects
  • Chris MacKenzie known as smoke artist
  • Andrew MacLeod known as digital artist: The Senate VFX
  • James Madigan known as visual effects supervisor
  • Veronica Marcano known as scanning & recording operator: Frametore
  • Iain Marcks known as digital imaging technician: Deluxe New York (as Iain Stasukevich)
  • Alan McCabe known as lighter: MPC
  • Lindsay McFarlane known as visual effects producer
  • Nakia McGlynn known as lighting technical director: The Moving Picture Company
  • Adam McInnes known as visual effects supervisor: The Senate VFX
  • Nathan Meier known as digital artist: Guerilla FX
  • Miklós Mesterházy known as environment technical director: MPC
  • Edwin Metternich known as digital intermediate retouch
  • Ellen E. Miki known as rotoscope artist: MPC (as Ellen Miki)
  • Jon Miller known as matchmove artist: MPC (as Jonathan Miller)
  • Vance Miller known as digital artist: Guerilla FX (as Vance J. Miller)
  • Mike Morrison known as digital intermediate producer: Framestore
  • Victoria Mowlam known as visual effects producer: MPC
  • Adam Parker known as retouch and restoration: Framestore
  • Scott Patton known as rotoscope artist: MPC
  • Ben Perrott known as digital compositor: Senate Visual Effects
  • Richard Perry known as pre-visualization artist
  • Mike Pope known as digital compositor: Senate Visual Effects
  • Paula Pope known as visual effects producer: The Senate VFX: The Senate VFX
  • Olivier Pron known as digital matte painter: MPC
  • Lee Rankin known as scanning and recording: Framestore
  • James Reed known as scanning and recording
  • Gareth Repton known as digital compositor: Senate Visual Effects
  • Dominic Ridley known as VFX Co-Ordinator – The Senate VFX
  • Guillaume Rocheron known as computer graphics supervisor: MPC
  • Marco Rolandi known as digital environments artist: MPC
  • Stuart Rowbottom known as digital artist: The Senate VFX
  • Mark Russell known as visual effects supervisor: Guerilla FX
  • Steve J. Sanchez known as compositing supervisor: Guerilla FX (as Steve Sanchez)
  • Jimmy Saul known as scanning and recording assistant manager
  • Jarmila Seflova known as compositor
  • Foad Shah known as digital compositor: Senate Visual Effects
  • Edward Sharp known as digital compositor: Senate Visual Effects
  • Matteo Stirati known as modeller: MPC
  • Jacques Tege Jr. known as digital artist: Guerilla FX
  • Steve Tizzard known as digital compositor
  • Ricardo A. Vicens known as digital artist: Guerilla FX
  • Giuliano Dionisio Vigano' known as senior compositor: MPC (as Giuliano Vigano)
  • Sally Wilson known as layout artist
  • Doug Winder known as Matte Painter – The Senate VFX
  • Scott Winston known as digital compositor: Guerilla FX
  • Caius Wong known as digital artist: Guerilla FX
  • Leo Hills known as digital intermediate technical director: Framestore CFC (uncredited)
  • Duncan Lees known as head of 3D services: Plowman Craven and Associates (uncredited)

Release Date:

  • China 10 June 2010 (Shanghai International Film Festival) (premiere)
  • China 17 June 2010
  • Kazakhstan 27 June 2010 (Astana International Action Film Festival)
  • Taiwan 30 June 2010
  • Singapore 1 July 2010
  • Thailand 15 July 2010
  • Vietnam 16 July 2010
  • Malaysia 22 July 2010
  • Indonesia 28 July 2010
  • Hong Kong 26 August 2010
  • Netherlands 2 September 2010
  • India 17 September 2010
  • Israel 21 October 2010
  • Lebanon 21 October 2010
  • United Arab Emirates 28 October 2010
  • Sweden 26 November 2010 (Stockholm International Film Festival)
  • USA 2011
  • Egypt 5 January 2011
  • Kuwait 20 January 2011
  • South Korea 27 January 2011
  • Greece 31 March 2011
  • Hungary 20 April 2011 (DVD premiere)
  • Sweden 22 June 2011 (DVD premiere)
  • Japan 20 August 2011
  • Germany 15 September 2011
  • Turkey 7 October 2011
  • South Africa 11 November 2011

MPAA: Rated R for strong violence, some drug use and brief language



Filmography links and data courtesy of The Internet Movie Database

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Posted on March 29, 2012 by Harry in Movies | Tags: , , , , .


  1. del91 from Anywhere...yet nowhere
    29 Mar 2012, 7:42 pm

    They sure don't make films like these anymore. Back in the 1930's -1950's the cinemas were filled with reels of gangster/detective filmsshot in black and white. The days of classic films such as "DoubleIndemnity", "Notorious", "The Maltese Falcon" and "Touch Of Evil" werelong gone. In it's place we have, today, overbudgeted, overblown filmsthat causes today's youthful audiences to have Attention DeficitDisorder and be bored at any film that is not filled with explosionsevery two milliseconds. In between then and now we had many homages tofilm-noir that stand out on their own. Roman Polanski's "Chinatown" forinstance is the best "neo-noir" film ever made and many films directedby Michael Mann also have strong noirish influences. "Shanghai", whilenot excellent, manages to become a good, neat little thriller on itsown right, but properly includes the classic noirish themes of the 40's- 50's that gave the classic films the reputation they have now.

    Granted, the script by Hossein Amini has mostly nothing new apart fromthe noirish elements from those other classic noir films. It's an old-fashioned American murder mystery, but set in the Far East. Familiarplot revelations take place as our hero weaves his way through a web oflies, deceit/deception, betrayal, romance, murder, corruption, and inthis film's case, war. What stood out in the film's screenplay is thenumber of languages used in the film: English, Japanese and Chinese,although I wished the latter two were featured more prominently thanthey were in the final film. And I have to admit, although unoriginal,the twists in the movie are intriguing and kept my attention.

    The international actors are great and fit into their roles liketailor- made suits. John Cusack as the protagonist gives off hisBogie-like character a subtle and calm performance that is alsocharming. Gong Li, beautiful as ever, is the main dame of the film andshe has that sultry, mysterious look in her eyes that you can't takeyour eyes off of her. Chow Yun-Fat, finally in a role worth watchinghim in, is the mob boss who may or may not be on Cusack's character'sside, as he adapts an extremely charming yet secretive personalityunder that face of his. And Ken Watanabe has that sinister vibe in himas the film's primary antagonist, though he exudes a certain class tohis villainous character. Fine supporting characters played byinteresting actors such as David Morse, Rinko Kikuchi, Jeffrey DeanMorgan and Franka Potente round up the very distinguished anddiversified cast.

    Production value and cinematography are top-notch as they transport youback in time to the glamor and grit of pre-occupied Shanghai, with itswell-designed and furbished sets/locations filled with plenty of realextras instead of CG ones for a nice change, and crisp, properlylighted scenes with big and wide camera angles so to appreciate thesettings even more. Klaus Badelt scores the film with a propersuspenseful element to it making it feel more at home with the noirishcrowd without feeling to overdone, thus also making it easier to evokeemotions in the audience, especially to those who are new to the noirgenre. Thanks to Mikael Håfström for his focused direction in bringingthe best out of the actors.

    This is, more importantly, a throwback to the noirish days of old. Thisfilm would be a great starting point for those new to noir, and peoplewho like thrillers should give this nostalgic time capsule a chance.

    Entertainment value: 9/10

    Overall: 7/10

  2. ajfdomingo from Philippines
    29 Mar 2012, 7:42 pm

    Shanghai impressed me as a very well-made film. This tale of espionageand double dealing kept me hooked throughout. Shanghai compels theviewer to pay attention in order to piece together a jumble of unclearrelationships and alliances. There are many acts of betrayal in thestory and they unfold from start to finish. The film also gets highmarks for its depiction of pre-World War II Shanghai. The audience geta good visual sense of the cosmopolitan characteristics of the city andin fact, even its delights, like its bars and casinos, comparefavorably with those in other modern cities. The acting in this filmdeserves commendation. Though I am not much of a John Cusack fan, Ifound his performance believable and not overdone. Li Gong and YunFat-Chow are also well cast. Their demeanor came across as natural. Iwould recommend this film to anyone without reservation.

  3. movielover0021 from anywhere
    29 Mar 2012, 7:42 pm

    I expected a lot with an international heavy weight cast like this one.All the way to the smallest characters are filled with great actors.

    The cinematography is excellent and successfully recreates the feel of40's Shanghai, along with the a secretive atmosphere that enhances thefilm noir mood. The story moves at a good pace where there isn't ascene too many and you have to keep your mind working to uncover themysteries Paul Soames is trying to solve.

    The excellent cast doesn't disappoint, John Cusack is solid andbelievable as an agent posing as a journalist. It's not hard tounderstand he would fall for the insanely beautiful Gong Li who seemsto have found a fountain of youth somewhere. She plays the role of AnnaLan-Ting with a seductive and secretive flavor which is a joy to watch.Her husband, mob boss Anthony Lan-Ting, is being played by Hong Kongicon Chow Yun Fat who exudes charm and power but still manages to walkthe fine line of a character you feel attracted to but also know youshould actually stay away from. His performance adds the right amountof flair the production needs. Ken Watanabe plays out his sinister vibealong with a human grace perfectly and Jeffrey dean Morgan isbelievable as the friend who ended up dead.

    Instead of a movie about politics and war, it's more about humanrelations and the different side to people. How people are used andmislead at times like this, and matters of the heart play an importantrole in the decisions the characters make.

    If you are open to a movie that makes you think and wonder, you willdefinitely love 'Shanghai'.

    The only thing that I did not get into was the romance-angle betweenJohn Cusack and Gong Li…. but maybe that's how it's meant to be. It'seasy to see why he would fall for her but she, on the other hand, mighthave a whole different agenda.

  4. Gordon-11 from Hong Kong
    29 Mar 2012, 7:42 pm

    This film is about the lives of several spies from America and China inthe turbulent Shanghai in the 1940's.

    "Shanghai" is a mesmerising film that successfully recreates the 1940'sfeel of Shanghai. The film is engaging throughout, with no unnecessaryscenes. It is also straightforward and easily understandable, which isa rarity for spy dramas. It is also captivating, as it beautifullycaptures the stress of people living deceitful lives, not knowing whoto trust, without any back up. Even your best friend can be someoneentirely different, befriending you only for intelligence.

    Gong Li is great in "Shanghai", she radiates beauty and charm, and yetat the same time her extraordinary elegance seems to be begging forpity and mercy. She is rightly cast for her role.

  5. thomvic
    29 Mar 2012, 7:42 pm

    This movie captures that period of 30's Shanghai quite well. Well Iwouldn't be the best person to judge considering I know little aboutthat time, but from what I had seen in this film, it was veryintriguing.

    This espionage/war film gets your attention. The plot is not toocomplicated, has a nice pace, good performances and an internationalcast. John Cusack is decent in this role, Gong Li is gorgeous as everand her English seems to have improved. She captures the screen withher grace and beauty, but also a believable performance. Chow Yun Fatis equally as good. Ken Watanabe – a good performance though he reallyneeds to work more on making his accent understandable as I still havea little trouble with him, but nevertheless makes a good icy character.

    The last act creates the suspense very well, though I'll have to admit,though I found the ending dramatic and decent, it might have been moreinteresting if they actually filmed what happened instead of doing thevoice-over, but hey I guess budget constraints and time can get in theway, so I'm alright with it I suppose.

    This is a visual feast. It is good to see many actors of differentnationalities blend in for what is a cross country story.Japan/China/Germany. Franka Potente has a role here too, which Ienjoyed as well.

    The only problem with the film, though it wasn't it's fault, was thatthe version I watched did not have English subtitles when they weretalking in Chinese. At first, I thought that this was part of themovie, as you weren't meant to understand it, but there are importantscenes near the end where I had no clue what they were saying. Itdidn't mean I didn't get the rest of the plot or what was happening,but that could have given me a bit more to work with and more juice aswell. Oh well, it's not their fault.

    This is an enjoyable movie, and it captures that sense of mystery,mistrust, betrayal and fear that you experience during an espionage/warfilm. Though this isn't essentially a war film in that it's main focusis about blowing up people etc, it is about the struggle of invasionand the effects of it. Recommended.

    I hope it gets a wider release in the US and here in Australia becauseit is a good film.

  6. moviexclusive from Singapore
    29 Mar 2012, 7:42 pm
  7. djhreg from United States
    29 Mar 2012, 7:42 pm

    Reading the other reviews, I can hardly believe I watched the samemovie. While there were a few good scenes, on the whole this was acrummy movie.

    So, we start with a reasonably believable premise for a thriller:Shanghai in 1941 definitely did have Japanese who were not nice. Theredefinitely were Chinese collaborators who were not nice. There werelarge gambling establishments and a certain amount of glamour (alongwith a lot of horrible misery) in Shanghai at the time. Stuff was goingon in the run-up to Pearl Harbor and the U.S. was not the entirelyinnocent, naive, passive bystander that U.S. elementary schooltextbooks portray. So… a U.S. Naval Intelligence guy undercover inShanghai in late 1941? Great premise for a fiction movie!

    Add a first class Japanese and Chinese cast and a good to excellentAmerican cast. Gong Li and Chow Yun Fat are among the best China (HongKong) has to offer and they have done stellar work in other movies. KenWatanabe is arguably the best living Japanese actor at the moment andwas outstanding in "Inception", the "Last Samurai" and dozens ofothers. John Cusak was excellent in "Midnight in the Garden of Good andEvil" Mix in a large amount of effort, opulent sets, tons of money….

    AND….somehow end up with a wooden turkey!

    I ordered the DVD and we set it up with our projector at home.Primarily, it was my son studying history at the Naval Academy andspeaks Japanese – very interested in the subject) and I watching whilemy Japanese wife dozed off happily on the couch.

    The first clue was the subtitles. As a multilingual household we alwayscheck the options. We were surprised to find that this was an Englishlanguage movie…OK…there was a certain logic to that. Should we turnon the English subtitles? Naw… that would be silly. We started themovie. One minute into the action we were stopping the movie to turn onthe English subtitles. Why? Ken Watanabe was mumbling andunintelligible.

    This wasn't the fault of Ken Watanabe. He did fine job deliveringperfectly intelligible and compelling dialog in "Inception". Poorspeech intelligibility is the symptom of sloppy production.

    Next problem was the wooden script. The constant stopping for theChinese or Japanese characters to apologize for speaking their ownlanguage might be believable for someone who has never actually been inthe Far East. Real life is rarely like that. When you are the loneAmerican in a room full of Japanese or Chinese, they are pleasant andpolite, but by no means do they stop every 30 seconds to apologize forspeaking their own language.

    At first I thought that the stiff performances might be the result offorcing otherwise outstanding Japanese and Chinese performers to speakin English. However, as I continued to watch the rest of the movie, Irealized that the native English speakers weren't doing much better.

    By the end of the movie, the problem was clear: the script writer wasdesperately trying to scrape together every cliché in the history filmnoire and somehow stuff it into the movie. Less would have been more.

    Ang Lee's "Lust Caution" (based on the semi-autobiographical shortstory by Eileen Chang) is a much better movie on roughly the samesubject. By the way, I has the same reaction as the only other reviewerwho wasn't enthusiastic: I thought this movie was "borrowed" from "LustCaution". However, in poking around at the background, it looks likethis one took almost 10 years to get produced…meaning the initialstory predated "Lust Caution".

    I love the subject material and all the performers…Too bad "Shanghai"wasn't a better movie.

  8. phd_travel from United States
    29 Mar 2012, 7:42 pm

    The subject matter is interesting. There is suspense and action andromance. Too bad it didn't get a bigger box office release andreception. Some slight imperfections are there.

    The cast is good. All top notch Asian actors. Chow and Watanabe addstature. Gong Li is alluring if a little older. Cusack is a bit goofylooking but blends in to the scenes well. Heard Johnny Depp wasinterested probably would have been worse.

    The sets are bit too theatrical and lacked a little on location feel.

    The story is feel good old fashioned adventure romance and notirritating. Sometimes it was hard to catch some of the dialog andbecause of that got a bit lost.

    Overall worth watching.

  9. denis888 from Russian Federation
    29 Mar 2012, 7:42 pm

    I have really enjoyed this excellent movie, since i love war films.This one is about a pre-Pearl Harbor Shanghai, where Japanese, Chinese,Nazi, American intelligence services clash, and it's common people whomake history. John Cusack is a great choice for the main role, and hedelivers his part impeccably. Being a secret agent, he is deeplysensitive and sensible man, who wants to reveal some mysteries and heis right in the whirlwind of a war craze. Other actors include Chow YunFat, Gong Li, among others, and they all do great jobs. Japanesesoldiers fight the Chinese partisans, Americans try to find out whatthey think will help… and all this is a dizzying background to a deeptouching story of love, hate, cowardice, friendship, bravery and valor.This movie is highly recommended

  10. DICK STEEL from Singapore
    29 Mar 2012, 7:42 pm

    If I were to trace my lineage, then the city of Shanghai would featureonly two generations away, and having been there for the very firsttime only last month, I marvel at the magnificence of the city, andjust about how modern development have taken place in the last 10 to 15years with shiny new skyscrapers sprouting up on the opposite bank ofthe river where Old Shanghai still stands, where it's quite theexperience to just stroll along the Bund to marvel at architecture ofold amongst thronging crowds; if you think Singapore is bad well, youain't seen nothing yet!

    Shanghai the film happened to be a somewhat troubled project, with theshoot being blocked just weeks before production was scheduled tobegin, then faced with the abandoning of sets and the relocation toThailand and London, followed by question marks on its release date.Well, it's finally here, and I'd think it was well worth the wait,given no scrimping on its production values, and director MikaelHafstrom splashing plenty of noir in his approach to tell a tale of spyversus spy set against Shanghai in 1941, where the city has yet to fallto the Japanese, and thus becoming a hotbed for resistance movements,with plenty of foreigners still in country setting up protectiveenclaves for their own citizens.

    While it may be a Hollywood production, the cast was predominantlyAsian, assembling some of the largest names in the region for thisproject. John Cusack plays the lead character Paul Soames, a navalintelligence agent sent to Shanghai to investigate the death of hisgood friend Connor (Jeffrey Dean Morgan of Watchmen and The Losersfame), whose eyes from which we witness a series of intriguing eventsunfold, dealing with crossed loyalties and flimsy alliances. Goingunder the cover of a journalist with pro-Nazi sentiments, he works hischarisma and know-how to get to the upper echelons of German society inthe city, and from there, linking himself up with the German's newally, Japan.

    For Paul, there's more than meets the eye each step of the way in hisinvestigations, and soon he finds himself on the teeters of discoveringsomething large, with a hint on the sinister plans that might be hiddenunder the cloak of misinformation. History buffs may know what thiswill allude to, but for those not in the know, then it's time to readup, and to find out from the plot as it unfolds.

    But the story happens to strike a parallel with a heavy examinationinto human relationships, and how the ties that bind can sometimeshurt, especially during a time where the environment is extremelytensed, and nobody is truly clear of one another's motivation, and deepdark secrets. For local triad leader Anthony Lan-Ting (Chow Yun-Fat),his wife Anna (Gong Li) seems to be there when needed, yet candisappear either to entertain his guests, or do so without qualms whenhe's in the company of his mistresses. There's always suspicion thatshe's hiding something and is more than the dainty seductress thatshe's made out to be, especially when Paul gets enamoured by hercharms, and Ken Watanabe's Japanese intelligence officer Tanaka everkeen to break her cover.

    Yes, this film looks more like an Asian film, which reunites HongKong's Chow Yun-Fat with China's Gong Li again after theircollaboration in Zhang Yimou's The Curse of the Golden Flower, andJapanese stars Ken Watanabe and Rinko Kikuchi even given a small role.All of them recognizable names, all of them leading their star power tothe film and delivering stellar performances mostly, dealing with thedouble crossing of one another through an intricate web of love andbetrayal, and how emotions get the better of Man eventually.

    There's no one dimensional character here, with supposed villainssurprisingly having a heart when protecting their loved ones againstharm, and how everybody will use everything within their power toensure that family, friends and even strangers stay safe in a time ofdanger, although not always leading to their desired results. Forromantics, Watanabe's Tanaka even opens up in a rare demonstration thathe's not always that stoic, but can also be the unwitting victim of thecomplicated affairs of the heart, which the finale finally assemblesall the broken pieces together, and we'd come to appreciate more onwhat motivates these characters.

    The only let down will be Chow's turn as Anthony Lan-Ting the mob boss,as his role, together with Rinko Kikuchi's, is really playing secondfiddle to Watanabe in terms of charisma, and screen time compared towhat Gong Li occupied here. But this is still one recommended ensemblethriller that has a strong underlying romantic thread, beautifullycrafted to highlight the frustrations of love, and that of survival ina black, white and grey world.

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