(China) Directed by Jiang Wen. Starring Jiang Wen, Ge You, Chow Yun-fat, Carina Lau. Category IIB. 132 minutes. Opening.
(USA/China) Directed by Mikael Håfström. Starring John Cusack, Gong Li, Ken Watanabe, Chow Yun-fat. Category IIB, 105 minutes.In this day and age, when virtually every kind of espionage film about World War II set in every single war-torn country has already been made, there has to be a better reason to justify the making of “Shanghai” in 2010 with such a star-studded cast. Unfortunately, Swedish director Mikael Håfström has failed to convince us why we have to sit through 105 minutes of yet more dumb femme fatale clichés.
(USA) After sitting for almost two years in the editing room, Mikael (1408) Håfström’s troubled, multi-lingual spy-drama starring a bevy of Hollywood and Chinese/Hong Kong cinema heavyweights still looks like a hackneyed piece of work. Sure, the irresistible Gong Li puts up quite a show as a Chinese gangster’s wife working for the Resistance party in late 1941 Shanghai, but most of the cast fail to rise above the film’s overstuffed plot and convolutions.