Imagine you have a film with a cast of established international names like John Cusack, Chow Yun-fat, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Franka Potente, Gong Li, David Morse and Ken Watanabe, a director who’s done some respectable work on Hollywood thrillers like “Derailed” and “1408,” a ‘40s period setting, and the prestige of producer Harvey Weinstein to boot. Sounds like Oscar fodder at the very least, right? The thing is, you don’t have to imagine, because this film exists, it’s called “Shanghai,” and it’s been sitting on Weinstein’s shelf for almost four years since it wrapped in August 2008, with a trailer hitting back in May of 2010 ahead of a June release solely in China, and radio silence ever since.
Now it looks as if the film will see the light of day again, as a Blu-ray from U.K. home entertainment distributor Entertainment In Video is on the way. The story follows an American Naval Intelligence agent named Paul Soames (Cusack) who travels to Shanghai in order to investigate the death of his good friend Connor (Morgan). Posing as a pro-Nazi journalist, he attempts to infiltrate the upper echelons of German society within the city, and also to pry details on the new relationship forming between Germany and Japan. Paul finds himself at odds when he is entangled within a love triangle between a triad leader named Anthony Lan-Ting (Yun-Fat) and his wife, played Gong Li. Seems great on paper right? But clearly something went wrong along on the way for the Weinsteins to keep this one hidden from public view. And over the past few years, word of editing woes and multiple composers coming and going on the film haven’t helped.
There are no supplemental features for the release — which screams “quickie” — but for those eager to see Mikael Håfström‘s long-delayed film, the street date is July 23rd, so you can import it to play on your region free player then. As for when it will come stateside? Your guess is as good as ours. [Blu-ray]