International Security Affairs agent Jon is on a dangerous mission to escort a criminal scientist to another country. En route, a member of his team, Sean, turns out to be a traitor and ... See full summary »
Mr. Church reunites the Expendables for what should be an easy paycheck, but when one of their men is murdered on the job, their quest for revenge puts them deep in enemy territory and up against an unexpected threat.
Jean-Claude Van Damme,
Chinese steampunk martial arts blockbuster about the early years of Tai chi master Yang Luchan, the man who founded in the 19th century what has now become the most popular Tai Chi style in... See full summary »
International Security Affairs agent Jon is on a dangerous mission to escort a criminal scientist to another country. En route, a member of his team, Sean, turns out to be a traitor and shoots Jon in the head while kidnapping the scientist. When Jon wakes up in the hospital, a doctor tells him that within weeks, the bullet in his brain will cause complete paralysis. Jon returns to Beijing to see his mother, who confesses that Jon has a brother in Malaysia who was raised by his father, a gambler. Jon takes a flight to Malaysia to find his brother, Yeung. On the plane he forms a bond with Dr. Kan, who promises to look into possible treatments for his condition. However, when they arrive, Yeung tries to kidnap the doctor and when Jon intervenes, he's also taken hostage. The two soon realize they're brothers, and decide to work together in order to keep the criminals behind the kidnappings from reinfecting the world of a disease long thought cured. Written by
There was a time not very long ago, when movies from Hong Kong meant one thing : "ACTION" sometimes an overdose of it. But regardless of the naysayers, they were quiet brilliant at it. But then they grew either too frivolous or too serious and sometimes too pretentious for their own good. Dante Lam (one of the better ones out there) in the face of this gradual change has earned himself a name for sticking to his "guns"; literally. & if the experience of his latest offer is anything to go by, the trend may just catch up again. I for one will not be complaining.
The GOOD : This potentially could be the most accomplished HK "action" movie in a contemporary sense of the word and setting. There have been a few masterclasses but most of them are either from the age of the Kings & Queens or of characters with super powers (yawn inducing). "The Viral Factor" does not have any gravity defying stunts nor does it have a single shot which is used to glamorise the protagonist or the antagonist. With all due respect to Donnie Yen, considered the best action man in town and my favourite too, there have been too many caricatured villains in his movies. Nothing like that in TVF. Its bare knuckles, blood splattered walls, rusty nails / water pipes, plenty of body bags, big guns in extended street chase sequences, car crashes, rocket launchers, helicopter chases and the list goes on. You absolutely have to give it to the director for his no holds barred approach from start to finish. He does not pretend its anything else. The leads Jay Chou & Nicholas Tse, have done a fantastic job and quite possibly have produced their best work yet. Chinese lads are not known for histrionics but some demanding & long single shots have brought out the best in them. Nicholas Tse in my book has grown to be in a different league compared to his "Dragon Tiger Gate" days and character.The story although not a pathbreaker has a sense of nobility in it with a platform for a large spectrum of emotions. The almost unseen city skyline that of KL (in a movie before this) is used as a backdrop and that adds on the rare but tingling after taste that the movie leaves. I was very curious to see how it'd turn up and its fair to say I am mighty impressed as I have lived right in the middle of almost all the places the story evolves through. The BAD : The screenplay does not do any huge favours to the story and is the biggest let down of the movie. It stands as the biggest deterrent to what it could have been. Mostly because, the 2nd n 3rd acts which is the glue that holds the end to the start tends to give a convoluted feel. There is nothing wrong in the story, but the sequence of events and there by its impact could have been spot on with some crisp writing. The editing leaves a little to be desired coz if that was snappy, TVF could have been an immortal piece of ACTION cinema. All these also mean that the runtime could do with some some chopping. Another sore point of the proceedings esp. for the non English speaking crowd, is the amount of English used in the script. Some of them were necessary and fits well. But I could not digest the main baddie delivering almost all his lines and most importantly the ones that mattered to the eventual development of the story, in English. And if it counts at all, I don't speak Cantonese or Mandarin nor understand 1 bit. Considering this is predominantly aimed at the Chinese with a more than liberal approach begging the westerners to pay a visit, the subtitles alone would have sufficed.
The FINAL WORD : Its recommended for the action fan. Go and have Yourself a great time at the theater. One of the best ways to kick off a new year.
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