Silver Hawk, produced by and starring the internationally-popular
Michelle Yeoh, had a word to best describe it, it would
be this: ill-conceived. Ostensibly a campy superhero action-adventure,
Silver Hawk is at best a silly curiosity and at worst
a misbegotten cinematic stink hole. Director-cinematographer
Jingle Ma can't summon the requisite style to cloak the
film's abominably average script, and Michelle Yeoh long-accepted
screen charisma is beginning to look a little self-appointed.
At the very least, the film's bad buzz has been so deafening
that it's nearly impossible for it to suck beyond expectation.
But putting Silver Hawk's questionable execution
aside, let's face it: this is simply a bad idea.
Michelle Yeoh is Lulu Wong,
a billionaire heiress and adrenaline junkie who moonlights
as the dashing superhero Silver Hawk. When she's not beating
up criminals from here to the Great Wall, she resides in
futuristic Polaris City and fends off the advances of dorky
suitors like Professor Ho Chung (Chen Da-Ming), the goofy
inventor of a mind-reading AI device which senses a person's
every needwhether they want it or not. Unfortunately,
Ho's device catches the attention of evil bastard Alexander
Wolfe (Luke Goss), a cueball badguy with cybernetic arms.
He intends to combine Ho's AI device with a Bluetooth cell
phone to remove free will from the majority of its users,
thereby controlling millions of people remotely. Yes, just
like the bad guys in Josie and the Pussycats.
Lulu gets involved with this
mess thanks to a variety of connections and coincidences
that could only exist in the movies. Lulu is being hit on
by Dr. Ho, but she also has a past with Police Inspector
Rich Man (Richie Ren), who apparently is the worst cop EVER.
Rich Man and Lulu were friends when they were both training
as kids at the Shaolin Temple. Like then, Rich Man is an
annoying blowhard who feigns awesome martial arts techniques
when he really can't succeed at any task given to him by
the cops. Not only can he not catch Silver Hawk, who routinely
eludes his grasp, but he also lets the bad guys kidnap Dr.
Ho. You'd think a guy who trained at the Shaolin Temple
AND was imported to Polaris City to lead their anti-Silver
Hawk task force would be a competent cop, but that's simply
not the case.
However, Rich Man does figure
out Silver Hawk's secret identity. Too bad that secret is
guarded about as well as a your average celebrity sex tape.
Then again, expecting true complexity in Silver Hawk
would be like stupid, because let's face it: this movie
looked like a turkey way before it ever came out. Did anyone
who saw advance photos of Michelle Yeoh's getup in Silver
Hawk even entertain for a moment that this could possibly
be a good film? The silver-and-black coat and hotpants ensemble
Yeoh models in the film looks like something you'd see in
a superhero parody film, and not a serious action flick.
Granted, Silver Hawk doesn't really attempt to be
serious, but the filmmakers don't even bring the film to
amusing camp level. Despite whatever humor the film attempts
(most of it being at the expense of Richie Ren's character),
Silver Hawk feels just like its futuristic setting:
simplistic, superficial and ultimately stale. The storyline
and screenplay are unimaginative and uninteresting, and
the acting ranges from simplistic (bad guys Lee Bing-Bing
and Michael Jai White barely speak) to outright annoying
(Michelle Yeoh protege Brandon Chang is bothersome as all
hell). Bad idea, bad execution.
But this is an action film,
meaning that all could be forgiven if the film provided
some sort of action fix for the masses. Well, strike two.
The action choreography by Alien Sit is fairly routine,
and nothing worth writing home about. Too often the action
slows to a crawl to highlight Michelle Yeoh jumping off
a truck, or onto her bike, or some other routine action
that doesn't deserve a John Woo slow-motion flourish. Also
somewhat mystifying are the bizarre action set pieces, including
bad guys who fight via bungee cords (Why? Who the hell knows?)
and the climactic fisticuffs with rollerblading hockey players.
Once upon a time, people went to see Michelle Yeoh in films
because she looked like she could convincingly kick ass.
Here, she looks more like Tom Cruise in Mission: Impossible
2. That is, she looks like an actor/producer who liked
the idea of kicking ass in a movie, so she concocted a flimsy
storyline and set pieces in which she could strut her not-so-convincing
stuff. Granted, Yeoh deserves far more action cred than
a guy like Cruise, but Silver Hawk's action seems
more concerned with glossy artifice than anything else.
On the lowest of levels, Silver
Hawk feels like a Michelle Yeoh vanity projecta
notion that this reviewer feels guilty even entertaining.
Yeoh has long demonstrated that she's earned the right to
call her own shots, so it's hard to knock her for producing
clunkers like The Touch. However, Silver Hawk
ultimately feels like a star-gratifying ego trip, and little
else. The film possesses very little creativity, energy,
or wit. Instead, we get an annoyingly concocted superhero
character (A beautiful heiress who fights crime for fun!)
that exists in an unconvincing fantasy world, complete with
fans who want her autograph and cheer wherever she goes.
This is simply a bad idea, and one that really can't avoid
any sort of impartial scrutiny. Still, it's entirely conceivable
that Michelle Yeoh's diehard fans will view Silver Hawk
as nothing more than a harmless lark, and will quickly forgive
their idol for making such a high-level turkey. At the same
time, it's also conceivable that Silver Hawk could
cause Yeoh to lose some fans. (Kozo 2004)