They are still trying to make an action star out
of Julian Cheung Chi-Lam and I just don’t get it. He doesn’t have that
action hero presence about him. His looks are such that he should be performing
in your basic yuppies in love schlock. But having said that, he does
do better here than in some previous things he has been in and overall
this is pretty good action flick.
This HK/Japanese co-production is a combination
of Die Hard and The Rock in which a fanatic Japanese religious group (similar
to Black Sheep) are threatening to kill all the inhabitants of HK with
sarin gas. The first scene takes place in Japan and almost an entire elite
commando squad is wiped out by these religious terrorists. The leader,
Yoshinaga, though is arrested in HK and so the terrorists go there and
take a whole lot of hostages to obtain his release.
The one Japanese commando survivor also goes and
teams up with Julian to try and stop them. This Japanese commando
played by Kenya Sawada is everything Julian is not. Very charismatic and
very believable in the action scenes. And this film is close to non-stop
action and quite well done. And no punches are pulled. Unlike Hollywood
which might have a hostage or two killed, here they are massacred by the
score. The terrorists are great - vicious and unrelenting.
And Hsu Chi is also present and accounted for
here. She plays a news woman and in an early scene she swerves her car
in front of a runaway truck that is about to make a mincemeat pie out of
some school children and stops a tragedy. Way to go Hsu !. And needless
to say, she becomes one of the hostages. Why is it that the hero’s girl
is always in the wrong place at the wrong time?. She has a nice though
much smaller role than the male protagonists.
I should also mention that Theresa Lee has a large
part as Julian’s commander, but she is even less convincing than Julian
as a cop. But I still think she is a cutie.
Again, a slick well done though not particularly
original action film. One of the scenes from The Rock is definitely plagiarized
here down to the swelling tragic music being played as bodies get shot
to pieces. Lots of action and some surprising moments where you just go
“whoa ! I wasn’t expecting that”.
But damn that final ten minute countdown on
the bomb lasted a long time. They could have evacuated most of HK in the
time it took !
Finally a very lovely song played during the
final credits - “Weep no More” by Na Ying.
According to Top Ten Central - there was quite
a stir in Japan about the depiction of this cult and the director was a
bit concerned for his safety. Top Ten also mentions that this bombed at
the HK box office.
My rating for this film: 7.0