This was only my second movie (on the big screen) in over 3 weeks. Those who knows me will find this extremely unusual, as some of them say I watch almost anything. Although I disagree, but I used to watch on average 2 - 3 movies a week. That was before I returned to Hong Kong over 10 years ago, now one movie a week was typical. The reason for this recent hiatus was quite simple, I found there were nothing interesting enough to watch.
Until I came across a review of this movie in HK Magazine (Friday, Nov. 28, 2008 issue), which gave it high praises. It had been years since I last watched a Hong Kong made movie and there is really nothing American to watch at the theaters, I decided to give it a try.
Wow... I was surprised!
I walked into the movie with a bit of the plot in mind; just from what I read in HK Magazine, never seen the trailer and only knew that Nicholas Tse was staring in the movie. I was mesmerized right from the start and the movie gripped me all the way through until I left the theatre.
Don't worry, as always, there are no spoiler below...
The movie starts off establishing Nicholas Tse to be a tough, by the book, kind of leader in the Hong Kong police. Even though he is a detective sergeant, he is respected by his team and a hard worker.
The plot took off quickly after several minutes into the movie, grabbing the audience's attention and did not let the audience go until half way into the movie. Just when the audience thinks it has the plot figured out the writers threw in a few more twists.
The movie reminds me a bit of the cinematography style of Bad Boys, some of Die Hard where the hero never gives up no matter how hurt he gets, the true and trusted Hong Kong police action, and several Hollywood caliber car stunts and special effects.
The writers left the main story simple, the stunt choreographers keep the stunts somewhat believable, as a result allowing the director, Dante Lam, freedom to keep the audience focused on the acting and the many twists in the plot.
Unlike many past movies made in Hong Kong, every dialogue has a purpose and lends to complete the pieces of the story, each sub-plot begins at different points in the movie but closes off nicely at the end. The plot did not provide all the answers until the end of the movie where the audience realizes how much everything are linked.
There were experienced actors like Nicholas Tse and Nick Cheung in this movie, the not so experienced, Jingchu Zhang, and others who gain fame from local TV (TVB) series. They were all fairly good with the leads giving memorable performances.
It has been a long time since I was able to give any movie such high praises, let a lone a Hong Kong made movie. This movie reminiscence the impact Infernal Affairs; the original not the subsequent sequels, made to the industry. So much so that Hollywood had a remake, The Departed six years after the original. I just hope this latest movie is a sign of the caliber of work to come from Hong Kong film makers.
PS: the movie's original title was "Witness" until its trailer debut on November 11, 2008.
|Not to be missed|
|Wait for the DVD|
|Buy from iTunes Store|
|Rent it on iTunes|
|Waste your time elsewhere|