Friday, January 21, 2011

sea wolves

are you big stupid head?


after fleeing vietnam, john (simon yam) joins his brother on board his ship, running illicit goods into hong kong. the rest of the ship's crew are under the command of keung (norman chu) and they have a sideline in pirating, targeting vietnamese refugee boats in particular. on one such boat, they come across gary (garry chow) and his sister, who is promptly killed, along with the rest of the crew: gary only being saved, thanks to john throwing him into the sips hold, where he hides, struck with amnesia, until they arrive in hong kong. once in hong kong, gary manages to flee the ship, but soon finds himself wanted by both the pirates and the police, namely inspector yeung (cynthia khan), with john stuck in between his brother and his friend...

the seventh film in the 'in the line of duty' series, the fifth for miss khan and the second from cheng siu-keung, who also made the rather disappointing 'forbidden arsenal'. this, despite joy sales attempts to ruin it by providing the lowest common denominator subtitling, is a much better entry in the series. in khan, yam and chu, you have three very, very watchable leads; yam and chu having been favourites of mine for a long time. then you have garry chow, who is almost perfect as the lennie, to simon yam's george. (a little 'of mice and men' reference there...)

garry chow is a big, gormless and confused looking piece of meat; perfect for the role of a slightly dazed, unstoppable, amnesiac, revenge machine. yam does a good job as the good brother and friend, torn between how he can do the right thing, protect his friend and not sell his brother out. norman chu is perfectly evil as solid as always. cynthia khan, as ever, shows bundles of energy, tons of enthusiasm and seem to revel in being thrown around and giving as good as she gets.

despite a couple of flatter patches, the narrative is an improvement on 'forbidden arsenal', with the climax in particular being an exciting string of action. and, as is demanded from the 'in the line of duty' series, there is plenty of action: there's a good mixture of stunt work and fighting. the standard is pretty high and, when technical levels drop a little, the increase in brutality seems to make up for it. so, despite never reaching the levels achieved in earlier instalments of the series, this is a bit of a return to form.

pretty good.

the dvd is hk$35 from buyoyo

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