A conflict of interest between two high-kicking assassin sisters is complicated as they're pursued by the criminals who hired them and an equally high-kicking female cop.A conflict of interest between two high-kicking assassin sisters is complicated as they're pursued by the criminals who hired them and an equally high-kicking female cop.A conflict of interest between two high-kicking assassin sisters is complicated as they're pursued by the criminals who hired them and an equally high-kicking female cop.
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--and 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 HEROES OF THE EAST 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, although if you've got the HK import DVD with both language tracks, you can toggle back to the Cantonese track for Karen Mok's scenes, so you can hear her speak in her own voice.
- Oct 18, 2003