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The brothers Chow Nunn and Chow Lui's giant computer company is facing a tense crisis - a powerful computer virus is rapidly wiping out their computer network. At the last minute a cyber-friend arrives to join the battle. The mysterious 'Angel.com' battles the virus and saves the company. Invited by Chow Lui for a visit in person, Angel.com arrives in the form of the beautiful Lynn. But it turns out Lynn is a professional assassin with amazing high-tech and kung fu skills. She kills Chow Lui with cyanide hidden in a pair of sunglasses. She's aided by her sister Sue, who operates the pair's World Panorama surveillance system, which allows them to tap into any video security system in the world. Young cop Kong Yat Hong and her partner Mark are put on the case. Hong has a brilliant mind and immediately senses she's dealing with a killer with very special skills. Realizing they are facing a tough adversary, Lynn and Sue become fascinated with Hong as well. Lynn runs into Yan, the cousin ... Written by
SO CLOSE - grand new update of girls-guns-and-kung fu
SO CLOSE (2002) is a high-tech action adventure from Hong Kong that revives the girls-guns-and-kung fu genre that once attracted fans to HK cinema from all over the world. This one is an update by director Corey Yuen of exactly the kind of films he used to make back in the day like YES, MADAM! (1985), with Michelle Yeoh and Cynthia Rothrock, RIGHTING WRONGS (1986), with Rothrock, and SHE SHOOTS STRAIGHT (1990), with Joyce Godenzi and Carina Lau.
SO CLOSE is a little more pumped-up, with more beautiful female stars, more CGI and wire work, and a high tech veneer that permeates every aspect of the characters' lives. There are three main characters--all female and all played by top Hong Kong stars--Shu Qi (THE TRANSPORTER), Vicki Zhao Wei (SHAOLIN SOCCER), Karen Mok (BLACK MASK). The first two are absolutely stunning while Karen Mok opts for a no-nonsense, scrubbed-down, ready-for-action policewoman look--which is still damned attractive. The women get a lot to do here and are seen frequently in close-up. What more can fans of these actresses ask? Well, there is more. They also create strong, confident, vulnerable, emotionally-charged characters who interact a lot with each other. Shu Qi and Vicki play sisters, Lin and Sue, who hire out as a high-tech hit team to go after high-profile corporate criminal types. Karen plays the policewoman who takes it upon herself to go after the sisters, but also bonds with them and even offers a significant helping hand at one point.
That's pretty much all the plot you need to know, although there are plenty of subplots, including a burgeoning romance between Lin and a young man she once knew who's come back into her life. There are abundant flashbacks, achieved largely through digital video home movies, showing the two sisters as young girls playing with their parents, whose brutal murders (also seen in flashback) were engineered to steal the father's invention of World Panorama, a surveillance system with unlimited capacity. These murders propel the girls into their lives of crime--nd vengeance.
The high-tech aspects are particularly clever and imaginative. The sisters each carry a watch that can pretty much do everything (cell phone, surveillance camera, computer, detonator, etc.). At one point Sue is in a car chase through the streets of Hong Kong and dials Lin on her headset for help. Lin uses a surveillance satellite to track Sue and keep her away from the pursuing police cars, all while she herself is using two automatic pistols to ward off a raid on her house by a team of assassins. Later, during the final raid, the two opposing sides use different tricks to fool the other side with manipulated surveillance camera coverage.
Do the action scenes deliver? Yes, they do. Granted, the actresses are not fighters and have to rely on stunt doubles, quick cuts and wire work, but they pull it off (certainly better than the girls in the CHARLIE'S ANGELS films do). Is the action far-fetched? Yes, but it will have you smiling and cheering, not groaning. These girls are the good guys and you care about them and want them to triumph.
Kung fu fans will welcome the presence of Yasuaki Kurata as one of the villains. This Japanese star has been in Hong Kong films for over 30 years (including SHAOLIN CHALLENGES NINJA and FIST OF LEGEND) and he's still going strong.
The film is best appreciated in its Mandarin-language version, in which you get to hear Shu Qi and Vicki speaking in sync-sound in their own voices.
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