review by Neo

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Wu Jing equals Jet Li, well not - just yet…
After last year’s scene stealing performance as an assassin in the now acclaimed – Sha Po Long, Wu Jing is now the tiny territory’s lone martial arts future. His skills and fluency are second to none and his reputation of training in the same school as Jet Li only furthers this compliment. With that being said, Wu Jing still have miles to go, before he should even be compared to the later superstar, as his acting is still stiff and lack any sort of emotional impact. Sure, his death stare role in SPL can do wonders, but this is a leading role that we are talking about and as likable as Wu Jing is, he does not have the on-screen presence of Jet Li – just yet. Luckily, whatever acting talents that Wu lacks, is duly compensated, by the comic presence of everyone’s love and hate – Ronald Cheng and the increasing cuteness of his fellow female co-stars in Miki and Theresa. There are definitely moments of exceptionally well choreographed fight sequences that will make you – wow and wah, but ultimately the movie fails to connect as director Dennis Law resorts to a cliché filled end. Just like, most HK movies, it just doesn’t finish off with a bang!

Director Dennis Law is a strange newcomer, as he ventures into two completely different genres of film making one being Love @ First Note and the other being this one. The former one is obviously a sweet romantic comedy, about two not so-good-looking guy and girl - somehow getting together and somehow fitting a couple of promotional music video for Justin Lo, but here, Law moves to action and in displaying action, he is not afraid to show the full brutality of the punches and that alone is a success. There is potential in this lad, and hopefully, Law will be given more opportunities and freedom which can only head one direction - as he will only get better.

Fatal Contact isn’t just a film about underground fighting, but Law attempts to show the darkness of the business and the fact that no matter whom you are, you are never in control of yourself. Winning might win you money, but the moment you enter into this black fist underworld, there is only one way out – death. It might seem a rather simple message, but at the very least it seems more realistic then most of the romantic comedies these days. There is a scene where Wu Jing was fighting Andy On, in a fight that almost met his death. It is this very moment that Wu Jing has transformed into a monster – no longer human and no longer humane. By entering this world, Wu have not only betrayed himself physically, but mentally and internally. Basically, Law is trying to say two words – dead end.

Having impressed Neo immensely in b420, Miki is a more than capable actress, and here, she is both convincing yet unconvincing, but that’s partly for the director to be blamed. She engages the audience well in her scenes with Wu Jing, and even overshadowing his mainlander speaking canto accent. There are times where you feel you understand her character and then it all go downhill and eventually a forced resolution where the director preferred to take the route frequently taken. Ronald Cheng is funny and likable, but is wasted in a supporting that can be played by almost everybody and most notably Chapman To. You either love him or hate him, but here you just want to see more of him and his comic antics. Theresa appears here and there as a “chicken” and further emphasizing the darkness of the underworld.

All in all, Fatal Contact is a brutal, realistic and fluent fighting sequence and combines well with the deep yet simple message about the downfall of humanity and that anyone can be corrupted. However, like many other HK movies before him, director Dennis Law fails big time, by going the route of the clichés and the processes is destroying a movie that could have offered so much more. With that being said, both Law and Wu are still young and fresh talents and both have moments of greatness within the flick, even if it is not wholly consistent. Still, this is a credible effort and fights sequences that stand well alongside Sha Po Long and heck this isn’t a bad movie after all. Let’s hope that this movie will be remembered as the one that launched Wu Jing into a Jet Li and Dennis Law into a Corey Yuen – well at least we can hope…

I rate it 7.5/10.

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Genre: Action/Romance
Directed by: Dennis Law
Starring: WU Jing, Ronald CHENG, Miki YEUNG, Eddie CHEUNG, LAM Suet, FU Ying.
Reviewed by Andrew (Neo), January2007