Wang Yu plays a typically stoic scene presence with Margaret Hsing Hui supplying the brunt of the acting work as his put-upon girlfriend. The story that develops frequently threatens to become depressing, but somehow manages to stay on the right side thanks to copious brawling action scenes added in to appease Wang Yu's action fans. Watch out for Wu Ma as an unlikely hippy (!), Tien Feng as Wang Yu's bad-ass dad, and a completely loathsome Ku Feng doing what he does best.
The story is quite episodic and slow in parts, although it's absolutely mad at other times and certainly sticks in the mind as a result. There's a scene in which a mastiff is called in to tackle the cat in a scrapyard which is surreal and insane, like a cartoon put on screen. Elswhere, Phillip Kwok plays another absolute bad-ass again (typecast after HARD-BOILED) and Waise Lee gets a chance to play the hero after his memorable turn as the baddie in A BULLET IN THE HEAD.
The film's real star is the special effects, which have to be seen to believed. The main characters are menaced by an amorphous space-being straight out of Lovecraft, so expect scenes of gore, dissolution and gloopiness all round. The director is also obsessed with fire and Kwok performs some incredible stunts as a result. Imagine a bizarre, frenetic mix of THE BLOB, SOCIETY, TERMINATOR 2, WESTWORLD and THE THING and you'll be there; the OTT climax manages to be both incredibly cheesy and bloody brilliant. See it to believe it.
John C. Reilly couldn't look more like Hardy if he tried, while Coogan has all the tics, tricks and mannerisms down to a tee. The story is loaded with sentimentality and it seems to me that conflict between the duo is clumsily shoehorned into the narrative just so it can exist, but the bittersweet tragedy that seeps in towards the end is a step in the right direction.