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Pretty decent, if somewhat incoherent action thriller
lingmeister28 December 2002
Not being a fan of hyper action films, I was pleasantly surprised at the movie Purple Storm. It was not the usual shoot them that has a paper thin story line and tons of action used as fillers.

The main part that interested me was the much of the way the style of the movie was made. Not so much the action sequences, but the overall feel of the film, with the dark, anxious feeling it conveyed.

The storyline was somewhat interesting also, with the dilemma that the main character Todd, played by Daniel Wu, who just had amnesia, had to make on his past life as his memory slowly comes back, and his relationship with wife and the paths and sacrifices everyone makes in their quest for their goals.

I thought there might have been too many scenes left on the cutting floor, as many parts of the film felt choppy and incoherent. Scenes like the attempted rescue of Todd by his father, who was invading whom? Who's these guys carrying coffins? Why are commandos sent into the building? Who is that guy with the crew cut and flak jack doing all the shooting during the same invasion? isn't that our man Todd, who looked and dressed same and was being lead away only a couple of scenes earlier? Only on subsequent viewings would things clear up. Other parts are vague, left hanging and should have been better explored more in depth. Such scenes includes death of Todd's child, why Soong, played by Kwok-Leung Gan was so after the head of the ATF. Some of the scenarios seemed incredible or with plot holes so obvious that you ask yourself `how did that happen.' This might be typical of action movie genres in general though.

The action sequences are OK, with some special effects that looks like it was done with film overlays as opposed to CGI, giving it a low budget feel (by American standard.)

The acting by Daniel Wu seems to be a little dramatized, especially when he is confused and torn between his two realities. Otherwise, he gave a good performance as the reluctant terrorist. Kwok-Leung Gan might not have played it right. He did not do the demigod character usually found in global villains, but he still had a bit of that attitude. Figuring him being a revolutionary, you would think he is only working for the bigger goal of reviving the Khmer Rouge again.

To sum up, moodish movie that had an interesting storyline, something not usually found in films of this genre.
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Hongkong answer to American Disastermovies
kurage1 May 2000
Here we've got an intelligent mixture of typical hongkongmovieshootouts, worlddestructionthemes and intelligent filmmaking. Not that the script has not its big holes and a few specialeffects are a bit cheaplooking. But the cinematography is a optical treat and the soundtrack is first rate. The blend of fast actionsequences and colorful slow, sometimes nearly poetic parts, has no comparison in its kind of movie, so a classification is rather hard. The closest genre is a disaster or terroristmovie with deeper human and political notes than usual. Well worth to be seen worldwide in cinemas. But i am hoping this for so many other (mostly asian) movies before and nobody seems to believe me. Unfortunately.
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Action packed and intelligent techno-thriller
Chris-7735 June 2001
This movie was recently released on dvd in England by Hong Kong Legends. I had seen the movie before on VCD but I can say without reservation that HKL have done a great job with it's debut on DVD.

For fans of Hong Kong action cinema or viewers bored by the usual brainless Hollywood shoot-em-ups this film should make for a good evenings entertainment.
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One of the best HK films to date
Jazzygilby14 June 2001
This review is for the HK Legend DVD Region 2 Version for Purple Storm.

Teddy Chan directs this relatively large budget HK movie with emphasis on Human emotions and action thriller. Mixing and matching, audiences are given a roller coaster ride of emotions, which works very well with Western Audiences such as heightening sadness immediately after an adrenaline pumping action sequence. This trick has always been a trademark amongst Hong Kong movies and has only been recently introduced to the West by the likes of John Woo and Hark Sui.

Daniel Wu, an American born actor, is the main focus of the film as he juggles his emotions between loyalty and righteousness. Like with the rest of the cast, Daniel does not try to overplay his role with typical HK theatrical acting techniques. This is refreshing and also adds a little realism to the film. My only disappointment was with Joan Chen, who I admire as a first rate actress, but cannot speak Cantonese (Mandarin speaker), so throughout the film she has been horribly dubbed over with very noticeable speech non-synchronisation.

The plot itself is interesting but was not clearly explained throughout the film (toward the end there were moments that I did not know what was happening and what to watch out for, namely the airport sequence). Furthermore, I would have rather preferred if the film eliminated some of its plot holes (e.g. Motivation from Todd and what happened to his son?) as character building was such an integral part of the film. Instead, the movie chooses to be driven by action sequences rendering the audiences of any plot anticipation. The action sequences is divided into 2 categories, gun shooting and hand to hand combat. The gun shooting sequences are not as good as what the big budget Hollywood offers which I thought was disappointing, however the highly praised hand to hand combat compensates the action sequences with realistic and very hard hitting moves. At this point, I would like to emphasise that this film is very violent (not for HK standard though) even for an UK 15 rating and some Western Viewers will be shocked when viewing this film.

This film was clearly made with more effort and thought than the usual HK production. It has been highly praised by viewers in the Far East and rightly so. Western viewers will enjoy it very much as this style of filmmaking and plot is still relatively novel in the West. I would highly recommend this film to anyone in the world that loves thriller and action in its movie.

The DVD is presented with a good selection of special features from a 20mins making featurette to an interview with the co-star Josie Ho. There is even a terrific film commentary with the writer of the script and Danny Wu, the lead actor. This DVD will not disappoint fans of the film.
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A strong action movie
ironsidev22 September 2000
This movie gives Daniel Wu his chance to do a great action movie, but I really find Emil Chow's character really great, gutsy but determined to righting wrongs. Plus the main terrorist, it gets me wondering his revolution, makes me wonder if he is doing this for good or bad.

A movie that tells us about Todd, an amnesiac terrorist being tricked as an undercover until he learns who he really is. The consequences that he makes from his terrorist family, gives him a the choice of redemption.

Purple Storm was one of the best ones that I have seen this year. The movie really stands out when it is filled with tremendous action scenes set-up by Stephen Tung Wai, which won the best action sequences in the Hong Kong Awards. (9/10)
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Action-packed terrorist thriller from Hong Kong
Leofwine_draca21 October 2016
Warning: Spoilers
This modern-day Hong Kong thriller mixes together elements of the psychological human drama with a more conventional terrorist-mastermind type plot that seems very familiar in today's world of suicide bombers and terrorist bombings. With repeated shots of buildings exploding a la 9/11, this makes for a film that is sometimes uncomfortable and always unexpected. Sadly, the movie as a whole is let down by some indifferent acting, especially on the part of the lead, Daniel Wu, whose over-the-top gurning belongs in a pantomime. The good news is that it generally fits together well as an action-cum-thriller with plenty of shoot-outs, bloodshed, and martial arts battles to keep the machismo running over.

Director Teddy Chan handles the action sequences with aplomb, revealing the true horror of what happens when the police battle on the streets with terrorist villains, as numerous bystanders end up getting caught in the crossfire and both sides taking heavy casualties. Although the toxic gas premise belongs in a sci-fi movie, things don't really get out of hand until the effects-laden finale in the sewers which actually happens to be pretty funny. Attempts are made to give this film a heavier plot that most, as it focus on various characters caught up in the proceedings, trying to get the audience to see what it would be like to be them.

Out of the cast, the best performances come from Emil Chau as the by-the-book cop, who has a wholesome feel of goodness about him; I'd like to see him in similar roles in other films. Although Joan Chen is top-billed in her minor role as a police psychologist, she's actually on screen very little and makes nothing of an impact – I've always considered her to be overrated myself. Conversely, Josie Ho, an actress I've never heard of, who plays one of the female terrorists, is excellent, bringing heart to the role of a guilt-free killer and being very sexy with it – give this lady more roles! Much is made of white-haired Kwok-Leung Gan as the chief terrorist Soong, and he is decent as bad guys go, more of a silent brooding menace than a megalomaniac in this one. So, all in all this is a decent action flick, not a masterpiece or particularly rewatchable or anything, but different enough to be worth a go.
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A storm is coming...
"Purple Storm" is actually a great action movie, well worthy a watch if you like high octane action movies that have a good plot as well.

The story is about Todd Nguyen who is a terrorist but having suffered head trauma has lost his memory and is now being played as an undercover agent by the ATF (Anti Terrorist Force) in Hong Kong, trying to unravel a terrorist cell and hinder their action to set off a cataclysmic event known as "Purple Storm" (though referred to a Purple Rain in the movie). Todd gradually recovers his lost memories but finds himself torn between the righteousness and good of humanity and between his ties to family and the terrorist organization.

The people cast for "Purple Storm" were doing great jobs with their roles, and I must admit that even though I don't like Daniel Wu one bit, then his performance in this movie was actually quite good and convincing. But he didn't carry the movie alone, there was another crucial performance by the guy who played the leader of the terrorist cell, he really put on a great performance.

"Purple Storm" has a lot of action, in form of gunfights, fight scenes and chase scenes, and it was all nicely executed and choreographed, coming together for a great entertainment experience.

I liked the storyline in the movie, despite it not being innovative or introducing anything new to this particular genre of action movies. But also my love for Asian cinema helped to enjoy this movie for what it was. Great action. Great fun. Great performances. Great story.

If you enjoy Hong Kong cinema and like an adrenaline-filled action thriller, then you should treat yourself to "Purple Storm".
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Confusing, Yet Entertaining and Gripping Film
edge_crusher0122 October 2002
I started watching this expecting the worst, i was happy to find that the film turned out to be enjoyable, slightly confusing in parts, like when they all justs started singing. It gave me a chance to see Daniel Wu in action for the first time, he is a better actor than i thought, at times he seemed a bit out of place. I thought purple storm deserves its Hong kong legends release, as it is different to most other HK films, it is about a mans emotional struggles when confronted with memory loss, it may sound corny but when he eventually pieces out what and who he actually is it really makes the film a lot more interesting. Once you get into the film you will find it keeps you gripped to it, as if you miss one bit then a lot of the film wil make sense, for example i missed a bit at the start and i recommend to anyone that watches this that they do not miss any of it. So i can say that this film was worth watching and a grateful surprise for me, that i enjoyed it.
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Hong Kong trying very American genre
biwbiw12 September 2000
This film is a must for people who like action. The story is very American, especially for Hong Kong type audiences. Eastern audiences like a lot of straight up action in their action films, what they got here was both intelligent and kinetic.

What I thought was cool is that Joan Chen came back in a Hong Kong Chinese speaking role. I don't think I have seen her there for a while.
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Muddled, as it stands, could have been better
Matti-Man28 September 2006
PURPLE STORM has, at its core, a timely and interesting idea. An anarchist, Todd, is injured during a terrorist operation, loses his memory and is captured by the Anti-Terrorist Force. The ATF convince Todd he is actually an undercover agent working for them and hand him back to terrorist leader Soong. But having glimpsed the righteous point of view Todd now harbours doubts about his leader's cause, setting up the protagonists for a climactic showdown.

The problem lies in how inadequately this fascinating idea has been developed. Scenes that could have been so much better - Todd's "reunion" with his (fake) police officer girlfriend and Todd's reunion with his real terrorist girlfriend - are just not explored in the same way that a Hollywood production would have done.

The handicap here is the lazy script by HK schlockmeister Wong Jing. He's a great idea man but just about always fails to put a decent amount of work into the script. And as he's usually the producer too, the poor director and stars have no chance.

The resulting film is very choppy and disjointed. It plays like there are scenes missing from the final cut that would have explained what's going on. Why is that guy trying to decode files on a disc Todd was carrying when he was captured? The ATF already know what's going on. Why are the terrorists hiring a ship, when they simply hijacked one at the beginning of the film? Why does Soong blow up the office building during the hand-over of Todd?

Sloppy film-making with a few good action scenes.
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