review by Neo

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Fugitive meets Infernal!
As Christmas is approaching, one thing is also approaching the end of a great 2004, a year that sparked up NEO HK REVIEWS, the year that wait, I will stop there, because this is not meant to be a site summary, but a movie review. What I want to say is that the new movie - Explosive City is a surprisingly good movie, that is not afraid to show the bleakness of life and the lowless point of human life. The premises of the movie is uncanny similar to the Hollywood - Fugitive and Paycheck and also alludes to HK's classic Infernal Affairs. While the movie may seem to be copying, there is plenty of tension in here and there. Lead by good performances from Alex Fong (who impresses me for the first time, because I really feel for his character's situation) and also the confident and improving model turned actor - Simon Yam, and along with great supporting turns from the Japanese Old Guy and also the Japanese chick - who is so cute and yeah!

Basically the story goes like this: 1984, Japan: Jade was only 4 years old and was trained to become a professional killer. 2003, Saudi Arabia: Having once shaking heaven and earth, former President Buruda Mad Man Amuh was so sick that his life was approaching its end. Before he died, he used thirty million US Dollars to entrust Otosan to finish his will. Three months later in Hong Kong, when Officer Mr Yung came to attend an international conference, he was ambushed and hurt. The assassin was the Japanese girl who went missing 20 years ago - Jade! Having failed her mission, Jade fled but was accidentally hurt and fainted. Chief Inspector Cheung Chi Shing, responsible for Security at the conference, appointed his subordinate Ming to take over and investigate the assassination. Somehow, Ming got dragged into a mess, his wife Monica was killed and his son Joe was taken hostage. In order to save his son, Ming took the name of an imprisoned robber and fled with Jade in the dark. Though hostile in the beginning, the pair soon relied on each other on the run.

You are dead right the movie seems complicated, but surely it is not at all. This director to me, have some skills and his camera angles and shot are at times seemingly out of film school, but at times, it is strikingly original. While this is a pretty good movie, with a pretty good plot and pretty good acting, I do have my share of criticisms! The final sequences action scenes could have been prolonged and a lot more character development of Simon Yam's character would have done more harm than good, but overall the director used the show not tell principle well and tension remains all the way to the end.

The very final few scenes is emotional depending on personal tastes, showing the evilness of human nature (also has their reason for being so), people are born simply humans, who are then shaped to be good or bad, morals or without is basically determine by society that they live in - not an absolute truth, Furthermore, the movie explores the notion of Infernal Affairs, with the idea that people are not who you think they are, even the best can actually be the worst. Life is random and unpredictable, one moment you had an argument with your wife and the next moment she is dead because for no reason at all. This movie explores the notion of humanity - what will a father do to save his son? To what extent will his cross the law? Can someone evil truly get away with it? Someone good hearted remembered as someone who kill innocent people? These are all questions that the movie raises and challenges the viewers to think and question about the people around them.

As you can see, this movie can be quite meaningful, but yet again, it is entirely up to your personal taste. Sure, Neo like this movie, but that's only because he love this kind of movie - police drama, so watching this movie can result in differing perspective. However, what I must say in my honest opinion is that this is a pretty good movie on all grounds, and as far as police drama goes - without Infernal Affairs this year, this is a pretty good one to watch and enjoy.

I rate it 8.75/10

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Product Title : Explosive City
Artist Name(s) : Simon Yam | Alex Fong
Language : Cantonese| Japanese
Duration : 90 minutes
Reviewed by Neo (Andrew) - December 2004