Alex Fong stars in this action-drama as a Hong Kong
cop who heads to Taiwan on the trail of 30 million
missing HK dollars. He needs it in 72 hours, or an
arms dealer goes free. However, his path is fraught
with many an obstacle, including the thiefís daughter
(Miki Lee), the local police captain (Jack Gao), some
HK hitmen (led by Mark Cheng), and a forgotten undercover
cop (Conroy Chan).
And that isn't the end of
it, as each minor character has their own story to
tell. Some of the stories are interesting, some not-so-interesting.
This isnít the HK version of Short Cuts, however.
Itís simply a more languid potboiler, with little
nuances meant to add character to the proceedings.
James Yuen certainly succeeds there. The plot has
some formula going on, but itís also engaging and
interesting. There are some good twists and turns
as the film reaches its climax.
If Yuen could only direct
as well as he writes. Though his script is competent,
he loads the film with uninteresting actors, poor
cinematography and bad art direction. Alex Fong and
Jack Gao show some presence but the rest of the cast
is uniformly uninteresting or annoying.
I really shouldnít gripe
over production values, but the lack of care accorded
to the casting and production design only make the
film seem worse than it actually is. Itís actually
not a bad little movie, but it could have used better
casting and overall polish.
Yuenís best directorial
efforts were The Wedding Days and Your Place
or Mine, two films with stellar casts and good
producers. One shudders to think that Wong Jing is
actually a better producer than Henry Fong, but he
is! Wong can at least attract good talent, while Fong
is stuck with pop star wannabes and plain lousy actors.
This is not a bad movie, but a repeat viewing would
only emphasize the poor execution. One can only watch
and wish it were all done better.