Saturday, January 29, 2011

city under siege

not a remake of 'police academy 6'...


sunny (aaron kwok) is a clown. a clown in a renowned circus, on tour in malaysia, but he isn't a star. sunny is a simple man, the butt of jokes, a victim of bullying and is kept on, only because of a promise that was made to his father; himself a famous knife thrower. when some of the other performers, led by zhang (collin chou), overhear some attendees at the circus talking about their search for gold, left behind by the japanese in world war II, they head out to see if they can get their hands on it. sunny follows...

making their way through a series of mountain caves, the group not only finds gold but also, whilst attempting to bump sunny off, a stash of japanese biochemicals. in the resultant chaos which ensues, as a cloud of toxic gas engulfs the group, sunny manages to escape. in poor shape, he makes his way to hong kong, only to discover that he has mutated as a result of his exposure and he's not the only one...

woo! benny chan directing a hong kong based, battling mutant blockbuster!

so, if you've seen the trailer, you've laughed your ass off at aaron kwok in a fat suit and wondered what the hell you're watching. i had a good giggle when i watched the trailer and thought this looked like it was going to be crazily bad, but that it could potentially be an insanely entertaining romp as well.

the first thing to say is that there's more story than you'd expect and, whilst some of it works pretty well, some of it doesn't and there's a few moments where you should be scratching your head as to why people are behaving as they are. although, to be fair, if you've chosen to watch this film of your own accord and have reached these moments, then you probably don't care. you're probably more bothered about the fact that there's a break in the mutant action.

after the narrative set-up, the fatness and some entertaining forays into action, there's the shoe-horning of wu jing and zhang jing-chu; a couple of mainland mutant hunters who decide to hang around with aaron and a former news anchor who discovered him, angel (shu qi), as the latter exploits the former's new found fame as a media darling. oh, and they're destined to be married, so you know how that goes. any how, this doesn't last too long and we're soon back to mutants throwing knives...

i suppose, the first thing to say is that the hokiness of the script is not matched by the special effects and action. by now, we should all have realised that benny chan is pretty good at putting on a set piece and, despite some mildly hokey prosthetics, the special effects are rather good, wu jing and collin chou rarely let you down, zhang jing-chu knows how to move and aaron is no slough either. i guess the fact that i wasn't sitting there thinking about bad cgi, probably tells a story in itself: it's surprisingly good.

well, i guess my writing is now starting to become as uneven as the film. hell, maybe as uneven as benny chan's career, which seems to flitter between the goof-ball and the melodramatic, the action-packed and well constructed, the silly and the messy. which, i guess kinda sums up this film. it's not dreadful, it's not good, but there's something watchable about almost every scene; be that for good reasons or bad. i'll stop now.

kinda daft fun, i guess...

the dvd is hk$103 from buyoyo.com

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