Some things should just stay on your TV. This new Hong Kong film is adapted from the popular Hong Kong series, E.U., about a police mole named Laughing Gor (Michael Tse) who infiltrates the rival gang of his old triad boss. Director Herman Yau might be a seasoned pro, but even his steady hand can’t save this film, which frankly had no place being made to begin with. The problems?
(Hong Kong/France) The opening film of this year’s Summer International Film Festival, Johnnie To’s “Vengeance” initially leaps onto the screen with beautifully choreographed shootouts. Unfortunately, it ends up limping off as an impotent imposter in the canon of Hong Kong gangster classics.
Category IIB. “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times,” Charles Dickens wrote.
Category IIB. Herman Yau likes to be provocative. His “The Untold Story” (1993), adapted from the true story of a Macanese murderer who used human flesh to make cha xiu bao, still gives people the chills. More recently he’s turned to the issue of prostitution to get up people’s sleeves.
Category IIB. The trailer for “Plastic City” is exhilarating, depicting a movie that mixes “Infernal Affairs”-style intrigue with rough-and-tumble, in-your-face “City of God” action. Unfortunately, “Plastic City” is not that movie.
A romance that could only have emerged from the head of a juvenile (although creative) young man, Jay Chou’s directorial debut proves that he should stick to his day job. Secret is amateurish, poorly scripted and burdened with too many ideas that threaten to pull the paper-thin plot apart. The movie opens promisingly, with the introduction of the two main characters, Lu (Chou) and Rain (newcomer Lun-mei Kwai), who are music students at the academy where Jay’s father teaches.
Don’t look for anything deep in Johnnie To’s latest offering, “Exiled.” Dialogue is sparse, the gazes are penetrating, and everybody is just itching to pull their guns out and go ballistic. But if it’s style you want, look no further, for this is the closest Hong Kong cinema has come to a brilliant Western in years.
“On The Edge” projects stunning psychological depth into a tried-and-true plot. That is, the depiction of an undercover officer whose allegiance is torn between the police and the crime syndicate he has been a mole in. Nick Cheung (of the “Election” movies), who plays the tragic Harry Sin, gives a powerful, understated performance in his portrayal of a man struggling to reconcile with his identity as a police officer, even as he is drawn back towards the very blood brothers he betrayed.
While watching the two main characters in “Isabella” just gaze at each other for the umpteenth time, the nagging thought occurred that glaciers would melt before the duo would have a conversation of any substance. In other words, “Isabella” is boring as shit, with arty pretense substituting for substance.