Wolf Pack - Blu-ray Review

Michael Scott

Moderator / Reviewer
Staff member
Thread Starter
Joined
Apr 4, 2017
Messages
5,237
Location
Arizona
More  
Preamp, Processor or Receiver
Yamaha TRS-7850 Atmos Receiver
Other Amp
Peavy IPR 3000 for subs
Universal / Blu-ray / CD Player
Panasonic UB820 4K UHD Player
Front Speakers
Cheap Thrills Mains
Center Channel Speaker
Cheap Thrills Center
Surround Speakers
Volt 10 Surrounds
Surround Back Speakers
Volt 10 Rear Surrounds
Rear Height Speakers
Volt 6 Overheads
Subwoofers
2x Marty subs (full size with SI 18's)
Video Display Device
Sony 85 inch X950H FALD TV
Wolf Pack


front.jpg
Movie: :2.5stars:
Video: :4stars:
Audio: :4stars:
Extras: :halfstar:
Final Score: :4stars:




AV NIRVANA is member and reader-supported. When you purchase an item using our links, we might earn an affiliate commission.

2.jpg
Movie

As a fan of Chinese/Asian cinema for the last 30+ years I’m used to feeling slightly confused upon first viewing of a movie. It’s sort of part and parcel as a Westerner who doesn’t pick up some of the Eastern nuances and story telling techniques that a native would find instantaneous or instinctual. Back story and mythological historical figures are usually the worst for me unless I’ve done some prior research. BUUUUUUT, when a movie literally vomits exposition and information on the audience right at the beginning of the movie and you’re STILL confused, then that’s another story. Unfortunately that is the case with Wolf Pack, which suffers the same fate as a lot of modern mainland Chinese movies in terms of being flashy and high budgeted, but leaves the audience with a stale taste in their mouth.

The film starts with Ke Tong, an aspiring medical doctor, is delivering some “under the counter” medicine to people in need, only to get kidnapped by a mysterious woman who turns out to be an agent of a mysterious mercenary group code named “The Wolf Pack”. It seems that the pack needs the help of a skilled surgeon like Ke Tong (Aarif Lee) in order to complete a mission. However, one mission turns into another when Guan Zhiyang (Max Zhang) basically conscripts the doctor into their squad in order to pull off a daring hand off between some high ranking government officials. Blah blah blah, Ke Tong and Guan Zhiyang get into trouble, lots of explosions and gun fights ensue, and the newest member of the team finds out what it means to be in a mercenary group.

1.jpg
Honestly, Wolf Pack is CONFUSING as all get out, and even when it’s not so confusing and more straight forward, the film never really is that engaging. The action is flashy and fanciful, with solid choreography, but just like the movie, tends to feel hollow and lacking of any soul. Gun fights are copious and very kinetic in nature, but I couldn’t feel excited about any of them. Stunts were masked by quick cuts and choppy cinematography (there were a couple of scenes were the image juddered so badly I thought my player was acting up, but turns out it was just the cinematography) leaves action fans wishing they could see more. The story line is jumbled and messy, and falls into the mainland Chinese trap of feeling cold and jingoistic.

As a huge fan of Hong Kong cinema, I am routinely disappointed by mainland Chinese films as they seem to be the polar opposite of HK cinema back in the day. Hong Kong was once THE leader in Asian action movies, and the sheer amount of talent and heart that came out of that geographic location literally burnt a brand onto cinema goers hearts and minds over the decades. But ever since they were annexed back into the mainland, it feels like a corporate take over of a once highly lauded business. Everything feels cold and mechanical, with a lack of soul and excitement that made Chinese action films so highly sought after back in the 60s-90s. Everything is well polished, with flashy fights and tons of high budget gun fights, but the viewer has a hard time connecting with any person, and any fight scene in particular due to the heavy handed corporate feeling. Basically it feels like suits and upper level executives tying to pull off something that artists like John Woo, Tsui Hark and Jackie Chan did by pouring their soul into a project.




Rating:

Not Rated by the MPAA




Video: :4stars:
3.jpg
Like most foreign films, there’s not a whole lot of information on the cameras used and the resolution for the master, but Well Go USA’s 2.39:1 framed Blu-ray looks pretty solid. There’s a burnished bronze dusty look to the entire film, with yellows pushing through along with a slight teal push on indoor shots. Fine details are generally really impressive, with good details on both clothing and human skin features. I did notice that the yellow/bronze look of the film looked more and more sickly and “weird” as the production moved to defusing the bomb, to the pint that when one of the mercenaries dies his entire face looks like that gold powder makeup from Star Trek: The Original Series that you can see on Spock in 1080p. There’s some banding in the night sky (such as when the pack parachutes into the gas facility), but overall this is a good looking disc.









Audio: :4stars:
4.jpg
As per the norm, Well Go USA offers the original Mandarin track in 5.1 DTS-HD MA as well as a down mixed 2.0 track in lossy Dolby Digital for night listening. The track is aggressive, with a strong presence in the front of the room and great surround usage for the gunfights. The bass is pretty solid, with a ton of activity during said gunfights, but overall I felt it was a bit light compared to how it COULD have been. Big action flicks benefit a lot from “in your face” bass, and Wolf Pack sadly takes a more mute approach on the low end. Plenty of activity, but just never pushes it that hot. Vocals are crisp and clean, located right up in the front of the room, and the overall experience is a rather pleasing experience.












Extras: :halfstar:
5.jpg
• Theatrical Trailer
• Well Go :USA Previews












Final Score: :2.5stars:

Simply put, Wolf Pack is a cookie cutter Chinese mainland action film that is high on polish, but low on acting, low on making the audience feel engaged, and overall just a bland generic flick. I like Max Zhang, but even he can’t save this from feeling extremely confusing and mediocre. The Well Go USA Blu-ray looks and sounds fine, but has the stereotypical bare bones amount of extras (a single theatrical trailer and the film starts with other Well Go USA preview). It’s not bad as a low rental if you want some moderately fun action, but overall Wolf Pack didn’t leave a lasting impression on me.


Technical Specifications:

Starring: Jin Zhang (Max Zhang), Aarif Lee, Luxia Jiang, Mark Luu, Yi Zhang
Directed by: Michael Chiang
Written by: Michael Chiang
Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1 AVC
Audio: Mandarin: DTS-HD MA 5.1, Mandarin DD 2.0
Subtitles: English, English SDH
Studio: Well Go USA
Rated: NR
Runtime: 105 minutes
Blu-Ray Release Date: January 23rd, 2024
image.png





Recommendation: Low Rental

 
Top Bottom