Yep, still no Anime chat, but too many films that need to be spoken about. Including this little misfire. I also thought I would try a little change in style, just to keep things fresh.
Yes it is, it is a sequel of sorts, although you could call it more of a
spin-off from a film made 10 years ago. It has a similar opening sequence, and does have a shared character.
So, what is it all about?
Well, Louis Koo plays Kwan Yau-bok, a financial investment genius who is also pretty handy on the shooting ranges. We meet him in a competition, where he beats Police Hot Shot Chong Tze-wai (Daniel Wu). On his way home, Kwan encounters a hold up of a security van, and intervenes, using his skill illegally to foil the crime, and attempt to save the life of a traffic cop. He succeeds, but in doing so breaks the law. Luckily for him, both the court of Law and that of public opinion view him as a hero. However, it turns out that he he is not quite as innocent as we originally thought.
Sounds like lots of action then?
You would have thought so. The original film was a tense thriller, but this one, after the opening scenes turns into something more akin to psychological drama, playing out in both the world of crime and high finance. To be fair, the opening scene is a nice updating of the same idea in the original movie, but then goes somewhere else.
Seems to me that you were somewhat underwhelmed?
How perceptive. I had high hopes for this film, even if I was expecting little more than a summer blockbuster. I mean just look at that cast!
Oh? Who else is in it?
Well you get those perennials of Hong Kong Cinema, Suet Lam and
role. You also get a large number of misleading posters, showing the various stars with guns THAT THEY NEVER EVEN HOLD IN THE MOVIE!!! But in the interests of making this post a little more easy on the eye I thought I would supply some here for decorative effect
Well that is a great cast, that should paper up some cracks surely?
You would have thought so. But seems you really cannot polish a turd. To be fair, Koo does a great job of doing his usual character – a perma-tanned and uptight man on the edge of cracking. Li Bing Bing comes out smelling of roses too, even if her character is a little inconsistent (is she a high powered woman of business, or a love-struck woman who can do little on her own?). Wu’s character is so lightly drawn that I have read reviews stating they cannot even remember his character’s name! Choi may as well not have turned up. She must say about 20 words in the whole film, and what scenes she does get, seems to involve her looking wistfully off in the distance. And what on earth is going on with Alex Fong’s character, god only knows. He seems to have become some kind of jedi master, giving sage advice to Wu – which is fine, until the scene where he is suddenly able to get into the mind of Koo’s character by, umm, shooting a gun. The point is though – no-one is bad, in terms of acting, but the script sucks.
The script sucks? Tell me more.
Well you asked for it. Overall, the film does not seem to know what kind of movie it is. And therefore ends up really succeeding at nothing. The action is minor, the outcome is obvious. There are a couple of occasions when it does raise up above its own cesspool of dross – there is a nice sequence between To and Koo, and a clever bit where we see that REAL criminals are much smarter than corporate types. I also liked the scene near the end where Koo plays out a couple of scenarios in his mind with regards to his final showdown.
But mostly it sucks. There are little things. Near the beginning of the film Koo notices that the electric window of his car is jamming. Now I suppose this could point to him using this as an idea for later, but I think that is giving the film too much credit. Actually what it is saying is that something is jammed down between the door and the window. Except – HE DOES NOT HAVE THAT “something” yet!!
But my major issue is something I think I have spoken about before. I call it the “Stage Fright” gambit. Now Hitchcock actually regretted using this device – basically it is when we see something on screen, that is later to be shown a complete lie. In Stage Fright, I actually can give it some leeway, as we are being told about it via an unreliable narrator. And, it can work when we are being told about a scene via a suspect point of view, and especially when the person giving us the account has a motive to do so, or is unhinged in some way. But in this case, we watch a scene, in an almost documentary style, only to find out later, that it was nothing like how it was represented. For no reason other than to provide a twist. But the shock is therefore unearned, and greatly unsatisfying.
Call me presumptuous, but I sense this one is not getting on the recommended list?
Not even close. It isn’t the worst film I have seen this year (Hello Beauty on Duty!), but it fails on every level, and it hurts more as I was actually looking forward to it.