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Movie: Shanghai (2010)

In a world filled with secrets, solving a mystery can be murder.

Shanghai (2010) is a fictional tale set in Shanghai during the World War II (WWII) period and before the bombing of Pearl Harbor.

U.S. naval intelligence agent, Paul Soames (John Cusack) arrives in Shanghai to investigate the murder of his good friend, Connor (Jeffrey Dean Morgan). Soon, he discovers that his investigation drags him to Shanghai's local triad leader, Anthony Lan-Ting (Chow Yun-Fat), Lan-Ting's seductive and mysterious wife, Anna (Gong Li), a Japanese spy, Sumiko (Rinko Kikuchi), and a Japanese intelligence, Captain Tanaka (Ken Watanabe). Before long, Soames stumbles upon more confidential intelligence information and in the process, falls in love with Anna.

This movie has a very deep Asian feel with Gong Li dominating almost 80% of the screen time. Her not-so-convincing English pronunciation can be rather annoying. It's a relief when some of her conversations are still in Mandarin. Oh well, at least her lack in English command is compensated by her great body (visible cleavage) and good performance in playing a multi-dimensional character. :P

Here's an article from BBC News: Gong Li on Hollywood and hunger

John Cusack, Chow Yun-Fat, and Ken Watanabe are internationally acclaimed actors. No doubt that they're able to bring the best out of their characters. I like this review from IMDb: There's no one dimensional character here, with supposed villains surprisingly having a heart when protecting their loved ones against harm, and how everybody will use everything within their power to ensure that family, friends and even strangers stay safe in a time of danger, although not always leading to their desired results.

In summary, it might have been better if this movie is predominantly in Mandarin and/or Japanese rather than in English and perhaps, if the storyline is written from another perspective. Anyway, if you enjoy Casablanca-style spy movie, you might enjoy watching this one. :)

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