This thriller has Suen chasing some gangsters around Hong Kong. One of his key witnesses is assassinated after being extradited from Canada and that puts an end to the prosecution's case. Meanwhile, Suen is still struggling with his girlfriends disappearance 10 years ago. A pair of assassins fill out the third plot chain. The gangsters, Suen, and the assassins intersect often as they try to solve the crimes and find out what happened to Suen's girlfriend. Written by
Benny Chan would be no stranger to those well acquainted with the Hong Kong film industry. He started directing in 1990 and has helmed, amongst others, the excellent "Big Bullet" (1996) and Jackie Chan's first HK movie in years, "New Police Story" (2004). "Divergence" is best remembered as the film that won Aaron Kwok, a popular popstar, his first acting prize, the Golden Horse Best Actor award. As a movie, "Divergence" bears some resemblances with the "Infernal Affairs" series and "Confession of Pain" in that they are gritty, suspenseful cop thrillers; the plot of the three differs, yet stylistically they are similar in that they are dark, noir-like crime thrillers common in this decade that will satisfy aficionados of this genre.
"Divergence" focuses on four main characters. It begins with a cop, played by Aaron Kwok, whose witness gets assassinated by a hired hit-man, played by Daniel Wu, at the airport. Ekin Cheng plays the defense attorney to a mogul (Gallen Law) who has underworld dealings. The businessman's son, a young popstar, gets kidnapped, leading to suspense as to who the kidnapper is.
The movie features a strong A-cast list. By and large, "Divergence" comes across as an effective and stylish thriller, with direction very well done. Its particular strengths are its camera-work and raw, intense acting: Aaron Kwok gives perhaps the best performance of his life as a tormented cop. Daniel Wu, too, is credible in his role as a hit-man, while Gallen Law is more than competent. Ekin Cheng's character, however, is severely underwritten, maybe for the sake of preserving suspense for the movie. For the sake of those who haven't watched the movie I won't reveal the ending, but it definitely doesn't seem credible to many viewers, me included.
In the final assessment, "Divergence" isn't a bad film: the storyline and the acting is gripping enough, but it is badly flawed by an unconvincing denouement. If you haven't watched it the first time round I would recommend a rental. I think the technical excellence of the the movie more than compensates a viewing. Not a bad movie by any counts of the word, but could be better.
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