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Sammo Kam-Bo Hung
Sammo Kam-Bo Hung,
Released in China as a 122-minute theatrical cut, whilst released in Hong Kong as a ~113-minute theatrical cut. The HK cut loses a backstory of a little peasant girl that hangs around Xiao Jinhan's swamp hideout. See more »
Switch to another flick and avoid this empty spectacle
Originally scheduled to be released last October but delayed due to problems with heavy post-production work, not to mention countless editing by the director, the end result is at best a patchy piece of work passing off as a Chinese version of Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol.
Directed and written by newcomer Jay Sun, Switch is a high octane action espionage thriller filled with globe-trotting locations, an array of gizmos mostly in the form of Nokia smartphones, flashy Audi cars and a star studded cast including HK superstar Andy Lau, Taiwan's top model Lin Chiling (Red Cliff) and Chinese actors Zhang Jingchu (Protégé) and Tong Dawei (Treasure Inn).
You might think this is going to an exciting, jaw-dropping action extravaganza for the next 112 minutes but like me, your jaw is going to drop for the wrong reasons.
After a clumsy prologue which establishes the value of the famous Yuan Dynasty scroll Dwelling in the Fuchun Mountains, we are introduced to several characters - namely our hero, Xiao Jinhan (Andy Lau), a secret agent who is married to an insurance project director Lin Yuyan (Zhang Jingchu; while the villains include the generically named Yamamoto (Tong Dawei), an ambiguous agent, Lisa (Lin Chiling), a weird underworld leader, Empress (Siqin Gaowa) and a bunch of Caucasian thugs. What is supposedly an easy-to-follow, good versus evil action thriller becomes a hot mess under the hands of Jay Sun.
Obviously, Sun has no idea how to shoot an intense action scene or at least keep you on the edge of your seat. He prefers to jump from one scene to another without much coherence thrown in. Agent Xiao just propels from the ceiling all of a sudden. And why is Yamamoto so mesmerised by the painting? Oh we are supposed to believe Lisa is also carrying a torch for Agent Xiao. This is no music video mind you and it becomes increasingly frustrating to watch the characters as they spout their lines without much emotion and continuity. There's so much on the screen but everything just seems jarringly off. To his credit, Sun doeshave an eye for visuals; the production design is so rich and colourful, you are better off admiring the artistic touches instead of following the story.
This is an absolutely embarrassing gig for Andy Lau - just when you thought the charismatic idol finally has a chance to showcase his acting in productions liked A Simple Life and Detective Dee, Switch only makes him looks nothing more than a walking, fighting mannequin. Tong Dawei equally suffers as the tortured, psychotic villain with a laughingly bad white hairdo while Lin Chiling received the worst treatment of all, she ends up as a irritable moaning, seductive character.
Our palms turned sweaty when we watch Tom Cruise hanging off the skyscraper in Dubai; though we never really feel a thing for Agent Xiao when he fight off a few thugs and crashed his car in the grand Atlantis in Dubai as well. Sun tries to imitate even to a certain extent by engaging Hollywood stunt choreographer and 3D experts for this movie. Everything that worked in the Cruise vehicle fails in epic proportions for Switch however. It never picks up from the get-go and simply splutters all the way to the credits.
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