Project Gutenberg (2018) Poster

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Slick if familiar
Leofwine_draca24 August 2019
Warning: Spoilers
PROJECT GUTENBERG is another slick crime thriller from Hong Kong, one that suffers from a bloated running time and a little too much in the way of non-action. The complex, occasionally confused storyline turns out to be a straightforward riff on that of THE USUAL SUSPECTS, albeit with a background in the world of forgery and counterfeiting. It's the counterfeiting aspects which prove to be the most interesting and original aspects of the production, adding to freshness to an otherwise familiar premise. The other strength is the cast, all of whom do well in complex character roles with a focus on depth. Aaron Kwok is the seemingly victimised protagonist, while Chow Yun-Fat plays a real tough guy character with both charm and menace. It's not an action-packed movie, but there's one incredible shoot-out in the Golden Triangle made as a homage to Yun-Fat's KILLER days, and it's a real highlight.
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A good Chinese movie.
deloudelouvain28 February 2019
Not being prejudiced but since I don't know many of good Chinese movies this one is for once a good action movie with an excellent cast. The story might be déjà-vu but nonetheless it's an entertaining movie with a fair amount of twists and turns, some good action scenes, and for a movie of this length never boring moments. In China they counterfeit about anything they want and watching them counterfeiting the American dollar is an interesting story to watch. Chow Yen Fa is the most famous actor of the cast, at least to us occidentals, but the rest of the cast did also a good job with their characters. For once a Hong Kong production that felt right, without any overacting like we're sometimes used to when it's an Asian movie.
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A Chinese replica
siderite9 February 2019
It is ironic that a movie about counterfeiters is itself a replica of an American film. The plot is different, but the idea is basically the same. If you want to be surprised (even though I've seen where it was going since the very start) stop reading reviews now, because some people did not refrain themselves from naming the film I am talking about and then the only pleasure is the rundown of film which, frankly, is too long and bland. You might say it's a character piece, with two very good Chinese actors doing their best in a what is a pretty banal movie. If you are looking for the great visuals of Crouching Tiger or the heavy action in The Corruptor you are going to be disappointed. It's an entertaining film, though, without being anything over average.
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A documentary about counterfeiting techniques that evolves into a plodding drama with some explosions
kluseba17 October 2018
Project Gutenberg isn't an action movie but rather a crime drama that feels at times like a lengthy documentary about counterfeiting techniques. The film tells the story of Lee Man, a man who was part of a counterfeiting gang around a mastermind called Painter. Lee Man got arrested by the police who wants to know more about Painter in order to arrest him. Lee Man explains how they met in Canada and how he joined his gang while abandoning his dream of becoming a famous painter and having a family with his former girlfriend. After a theft had turned terribly wrong, Lee Man started to question his actions, grew distant from Painter and tried to find a way out of the gang. Their fatal conflict would soon lead to dramatic consequences for everyone involved.

Even though the movie is just above two hours long, it feels much longer than it was. It takes at least an hour before the actual rising action started and the film finally quickens up the pace. However, it loses some steam towards the end and despite an explosive finale, the resolution is somewhat unsatisfactory and exaggerated. The story is told with the help of numerous lengthy flashbacks instead of offering a coherent and fluid delivery.

However, there are also some positive elements about this movie. The acting performances are solid and the characters are quite fleshed out and intriguing. The locations are quite diversified as the film takes place in China, Taiwan and Thailand to just name a few locations. The few action sequences are quite vivid and visually stunning. The twisted story isn't predictable and will keep you interested until the very last scene.

In the end, Project Gutenberg is a movie with interesting characters and some great special effects that wastes some potential with its complicated storytelling and overlong delivery. The film would have been much better if it had been shortened by at least thirty minutes and scripted with a story in chronmological order. In the end, Project Gutenberg is good enough to be watched on a rainy or stormy autumn evening but nothing really worthwhile as the positive reviews are quite exaggerated.
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A throw back to the glory of H.K thrillers.
RatedVforVinny9 September 2020
'Project Gutenberg' is a wonderful throw back to the heady days of the H.K action, thriller, which of course made Chow Yun Fat a major superstar. This modern version of those 80's John Woo classics, is both exciting and vital; though unfortunately only in select parts. I found the story overtly complex and there were just too many plot twists (for my liking); that in the end I welcomed the concluding finale.
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Hong Kong movies can tell stories well.
yoggwork18 February 2019
Hong Kong movies can tell stories well. The plot is only a turning point, so that there are some plots in the story, without proof.
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Homage/rip-off to the Usual Suspects....
joebloggscity15 March 2020
If you're old enough then you've likely seen the Usual Suspects, and this is an unsubtle homage to it (or rip-off depending on your strength of view).

Chow Yun Fat is our lead villain who highers a failed (but highly skilled) artist to help in the counterfiting of US Dollars. Our artist is the naive narrator in the criminal world, but unlike the original movie, there are love stories etc wrapped up amongst all the shennanigans.

The exasperated police are on their tales and struggling, but they have their ways.

Anyhow, as you would expect Chow Yun Fat is excellent, but so are various others. However, for most of the actors it's not the most taxing of roles for them, and in various parts where the characters are supposed to be speaking in fluent English, it was really cringing & comical (should have been avoided).

It's interesting enough, but I was bored. I'm not an admirer of the original movie as others (and I won't spoil it), but I liked it. This storyline missed the angles I thought that made that other film a major success. I just think so much better could have been done.

I think, many others will enjoy this more than I did. There's better out there to watch.
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Forced Love Story Distracts From The Main Plot.
redrobin62-321-2073115 January 2020
This movie would have been better if the love story forced throughout it was omitted. As it stands, it becomes nothing more than a gangster/soap opera. Perhaps this is a trope in modern day Chinese action films, akin to what they produce in South Korea, but it's an unnecessary distraction in terms of the overall story unveiling itself.
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A rip-off of The Usual Suspects
TheBigSick1 October 2018
The plot is copied from the 1995 thriller The Usual Suspects, which though I don't think is a good movie. The pace, screenplay and execution are actually worse than those in The Usual Suspects, which make the film even more problematic.
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What a good surprise
jwscott-home17 July 2020
I hate subtitles but I'd have missed out on a great movie had I let that stop me on this one. Great movie!!! Underrated because of subtitles I'm sure but You need to watch this one!!
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Worth seeing
madbird-6124327 January 2019
Hugely invested, super casting, the movie should have been a classic action film. The acting of Chow is beyond doubt fantastic. Aaron, to me, is the first movie that showcase his best actor acting skill. All his previous movie is lawyer or police officer. This role here as a villian gives him ample chance for applying his already matured acting ability. Female lead is not first line actress in television. But she is surprisingly able to carry her role quite well together with the 2 male superstar.

The plot of the movie is not in par with the super casting. The story in the first half is ok. But towards the second half the storyline is a bit loosened, losing the excitement that the first half is carrying. Scenes of killing are excessive and unnecessary. It is as if the killing scene is added only for the purpose of showing off Chow's previous hero role in movies. It is not in line with the original plot where Chow should never be caught.

Otherwise the film is on the whole above standard and worth seeing. It is my impression wherever Chow is present in movie, the movie would be biased towards showing off his hero quality. And hence the continuity of the story is destroyed ans unnecssary scenes are added. This is the cost of seeing Chow in movie.
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A Smart Adaptation
e-707331 October 2018
Obviously, the basic structure of the whole story comes from Bryan Singer's "The Usual Suspects" in 1995, but the focus of the former is the shock when the puzzle was revealed. The focus of this film is to expose the characters. Therefore, if the audience does not overstate the specific behavior of the scriptwriter in the process of writing the script, the two films actually have their own wonderful points. In addition, the surface story of the Hong Kong-style crime film really maintains the entertainment effect in the first half of the film, and Chow Yun-fat's highly romantic performance is actually a kind of figurative externalization of the character, which can be understood as an extension of the theme of the story.
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It's not Original but it's good. But why the name, "Project Gutenberg" though?
A-Shekhar9 February 2019
Warning: Spoilers
I honestly don't understand the relevance of the name. I rate movies on how likely I am to watch it again and I don't think I'd watch this one again but it doesn't mean it's a bad movie but only that it's a good one time watch. It's a tried concept and it's not because the movies loses it's second watch excitement because of the twist reveal, that's not it, I've watched The Usual Suspects, Shutter Island a lot of times,this movie is just not very original.
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It is already quite a good production - in Chinese movies
ParisImpressionH-Y-25 December 2018
Several dark lines and reverses are arranged quite well. Even at the beginning of the movie, you can guess the main puzzles like me, and there are still many clues to attract the audience to watch. Most of the actors' performances are in place. The gunfire and action parts, quite a bit of the romanticism of Hong Kong films in the 1980s and 1990s, are somewhat not logical enough. Overall, in Chinese movies, it is already quite a good production.
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How to make & not make a great movie
Web_Of_Doom23 May 2021
This movie "The counterfeiter" is extremely interesting to watch as it has this amazingly dichotomy of mostly being extremely well acted with an interesting storyline that in the most part is very plausible..... mixed with action scenes that are totally unbelievable ( like a Rambo movie or TV series the A-team ).... which though do not destroy the movie they take you out the realms of believability.

The storyline starts out very well & shows much promise as I find myself in the mind set by the end that if this was re-edited & the ridiculousness taken out instead of having a disappointment overall you would have a great film here.

I feel sorry that some excellent acting performances will not be seen because the film was badly put together, as I've decided to accept that 8/10ths of the film is very good but the 2/10ths that makes no sense I will edit out of my mind so I'm able to enjoy the story driven parts that were acted so very well & were good.

Overall this film makes an 8 out of 10 for me as it kind of is unique in that it shows the viewer how a film should both be made but also how it should not.

Would I watch it again, NO. Will I remember the good parts, YES as like many paintings it might not be something you hang on your wall be it is thought provoking in other ways... as hopefully in future work mistakes are not made.

Art is always subjective however some art shows great promise for the future.

The actors in the movie can be proud of the story driven non action scenes.
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aboiement7 February 2019
A nice Hong Kong movie. Impressed !! Chow Yen Fa is the best celebrity ever !! How can he be still so cool and handsome in his age ?!! The story is very interesting. There are many threads talking about who is the real " Painter ". I doubt anyone will figure it out, because it might be none of the stories from different point of views is true. We will never know. So many details in this movie, and the actors were doing a great job too. They nicely performed different characters in different versions of stories. Would love to watch this again.
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Confusing storyline, unrealistic and waste of great actors
yeolit23 October 2018
Without any former knowledge of shows like "the Usual Suspects" or any other knowledge of intricacies in the art world or counterfeiting subjects, I merely came in to see the 2 great actors of the previous generation in this film. It was much hyped in radio and the internet, so I was quite interested to watch this.

However, this was a disappointment, to say the least.

Firstly, for the first part of the show, there was very little excitement. Most of it was simply boring storytelling and introduction of people, techniques etc., which was frankly a waste since most of it didn't need much acting skills. Most people there just talked normally and it was kind of monotonous.

Then it became unrealistic, to the point where it almost overturns the ultra down-to-earth style in the first part.

The ending part was very confusing, and left me wondering just what the scriptwriter was thinking of. It was presented in such a confusing way that it basically turns the earlier parts into a joke.

Overall, while there was some enjoyment in seeing the stellar acting of the 2 great main actors (in scenes which actually need acting), the storyline is basically so confusing and unrealistic that great actors couldn't make the film great.
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Good for home dvd
bnessi9 March 2019
Poor acting from westerner actors. Unrealistic fight scenes, good story and emotional touch though
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Great Movie with Great Actors
jeymatt16 October 2018
This turned out better than I expected actually. Although some reviewers had mentioned that it's a copy of 1995's "The Usual Suspects" but nevertheless it's still a great plot. Almost everything in this movie is worth complimenting. Great cinematography effects, the music, the acting, etc. Except that the movie was indeed a bit slow at some scenes. Go and watch it in cinema, the film is worth seeing.
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A heavily copied movie with too many twists
huey208818 February 2019
Warning: Spoilers
The title of this movie refers to Johannes Gutenberg who invented a printing press 500 years ago and hence it's about a gang of professional counterfeiters. The acting is solid from Kwok and Chow - two Hong Kong veteran actors with decades of experience - the former seemingly coming of age, finally. However the copycat Unusual Suspects plot just takes away what could have been a great film. And that's not the only movie it borrows from.

The cinematography is clean and modern. The operatic compositions and stylish songs make it feels like it's treading on Ocean's Eleven territory. Then the element of replacing a face through plastic surgery is pure rip off from John Woo's Face Off.

The plot apart from relying on past movies tries to absolve itself two-thirds past the running time of 130 minutes which consists of many flashbacks. The twists upon twists start coming of who the Painter really is. I already figured out who it is within ten minutes of the film because like Usual Suspects, the protaganist is hauled into the police station for interrogation. The many layers trying to distort and distract towards the end really feel cheap, you can almost hear the director crying out in desperation, "You didn't see that one coming. Or this one and this one." They just don't tie together the rest of the movie. Neither does the improbable shoot outs, explosions and finally, nor an added romantic scene with scantily clad actors round it all off nicely.

We've come to the age of film making where not much is original anymore. But perpetuating this current formula of reboot is not the way to go. It's just plain boring and lazy script writing and directing. Here's hoping that HK film industry reinvents itself again rather than pander to Hollywood with remakes.
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A promising start but disappointing the rest of the way
asdfqaz1232 November 2019
Seldom do you see a Hong Kong film spending so much time on explaining the technicality of something as specialized as printing fake money to the point it almost feels like a true story. Well, as it turns out, it is based on a true story. The true storyof Arthur J Williams, a Chicago man who grew up in a poor neighborhood and took on counterfeiting the new 1996 bill as a challenge because his girlfriend joked that he couldn't crack the security. The movie would've been great if it kept following the story of Williams, but it didn't, maybe because HK film makers didn't want to pay him millions of dollars to make his bio pic.

The fact that this movie took on the usual suspect's plot should come as no surprise for anyone who lived in the 90s. To me, it was a case of wondering how much crap this director can put in this film before announcing that big surprise at the end? Well, I got my answers by fast forwarding most of the armor vehicle heist, the Rambo in south east Asia scenes, and the ensuing love story. At least the cops-and-robbers part was a little bit more interesting but it was still all too predictable. And when the end came, the director decided to make it politically correct and not let the bad guys walk free, maybe that's the only way it can be shown in mainland China?

I feel this movie tried to be too many things at the same time and ripped off a great true story and made it into a mainstream action film. Apparently, Arthur J Williams' is negotiating with Hollywood producers for the movie right to his story. Hopefully the Hollywood's version will be more focused and hence more watchable than this film.
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Movie has twist. Some comments on the Editors of this movie
rickyboydmorales17 October 2019
As a NON-Chinese speaker this was great movie. This was brilliant screen writing. Not only that, the marvelous cast of Chow Yun-fat and Aaron kwok made this even better. Aaron Kwok is a amazing choreographer and singer but to see him in an acting role that delivers his potentials is priceless. Another actor, Chow Yun-fat is one of my favorite actors especially during the John Woo era of cinema. He has in-depth emotions really embodies his characters with ease. The embodiment the characters they portray was brilliant. The Director also did a great job in this movie although a little help with the editors when making this movie should have been supervised. There was just a little confusing but I did to figure out the plot obviously. Just when did Yuen Man a.ka Sau Ching met Lee Man should be in re-structorizer (hope my english spelling is correct) in this film so the flow of the movie will be more understandable to a viewer who is a non-Chinese fan. Maybe I wasn't paying much attention but over all this was a great movie and a good twist. Thank you so much for this movie.
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classic HK movie!
gwunlou29 December 2018
Warning: Spoilers
No one can deny how Chou is important in HK movie in 80s. You cannot imagine that he is actually an unimportant role in the whole story :)

It is not that kind of traditional police and gangster movie with only boom and block buster. The process of counterfeiting cash is also new to audience, at least to me! The mystery of "painter" is well worth discovering as the plots goes on. It is not simply about split personality as the usual movies, which is unable to finish a complete story without it. The ending matches "counterfeit" pretty well, given 90% of movies is talking about how they successfully cheat and hide.

The idea of the story is awesome! However, 2 points are deducted for ending. Don't know if it is for the reason to be on publicly for all audience. The final explosion seems unnecessary.

This movie still gives us hope as Infernal Affairs: HK movie is not dying.

Looking forward to the sequel! (I believe there will be)
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Felix Chong's Four Seasons
aarakis7 October 2018
Warning: Spoilers
As I was blabbering to my girlfriend how this movie has Fight Club, The Usual Suspects, and Ocean's Eleven all over itself, she turned to me and said, this movie is actually director Felix Chong's "Four Seasons".

At the "It'll End in Tears" exhibition (4AD? nice touch!), Painter started dissing Lee's Four Seasons painting, saying how it was just a piece of monstrosity, a mishmash of popular ingredients, lacking heart and originality.

For all intents and purposes, Project Gutenberg is Chong's Four Seasons.

Chong had Chow Yun-fat say, "when it's done to perfection, the copy becomes art." And this line even appeared twice in the movie: "sometimes the copy is better than the original."

Chong is actually laughing at himself, at the movie industry, at his investors, and the audience. Has Chong let loose the Tyler Durden in him? Is it safe?

Overall the movie is very enjoyable though it drags in a few places. The one thing that bugged me the most was that awful song. Oh, just awful.

To go with the theme of the movie, I would choose music like John Luther Adam's Four Thousand Holes. This is a piano + xylophone piece that imitates wind chimes, at times sounding better than real wind chimes...
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Awesome Story with Two Great Actor!
yksamsungrox23 October 2018
Definitely one of the most enjoyable Cantonese Movie I ever watch for the past few years! Strongly recommended to anyone
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