Speed Angels 极速天使 (2011) – Hong Kong / China

This is a difficult film to review and in many ways it finishes so much better than the film actually deserves. Then again, that is so typical of director Jingle Ma who has a heck of making his films end on such a high emotional tear-jerking mode. Think no further than one of his earlier works “Fly Me to Polaris 星愿”. However the differences between the later and “Speed Angels” is that Polaris is easily a great character melodrama, while Angels feels rather disconnected, not exactly well-acted and the emotions seems rather manufactured than naturally depicted. That is a huge shame, considering the cast of Tang Wei, Rene Liu, Cheng Pei-Pei and a special appearance by Ma’s favourite muse Cecilia Cheung. Still, the film easily ends on a high note, but when the first 90 minutes feels like a crap movie. In making a great ending not only does it makes the audience feel undeserving, but also emotionally flawed. No matter how much you look into the film, everything feels rather superficial, trivial and at times the dialogue is almost close to full on cheesy and lame category.

Of the trio, Rene Liu gives the best performance out of the pack. Liu at times seem to be in a totally different movie altogether. Furthermore, she is also given the most difficult character out of the pack. In fact, she is most likely the only believable character that the audience can somewhat relate towards. Tang Wei does an adequate job, but is incredibly underused and her character at times seems to go nowhere either than boredom. That’s not exactly her fault, as the girl from “Lust & Caution” and more recently “Late Autumn” proved she is more than a handful in delivering character performances when required. Cecilia Cheung is without doubt wasted and most likely appeared in the movie only to add some star voltage to the movie poster and add a few extra bums on seats. However, one must admit that near the end, when Cheung pulled off a bittersweet smile, it was quite a good moment to savour. While veteran Cheng Pei-pei is next to terrible and mostly likely her most annoying performance to date. Not exactly a great way to retirement. As for the male leads, none of them showed any character or given time to be developed. In particular the villainous turn by Japanese actor Kitamura Kazuki is downright embarrassing and extremely poor overacting on his behalf.

All in all, “Speed Angels” is one of those films that never really takes off until the end and that is if you can actually get there without switching off the TV or hitting your hand on your hard rock sofa. In fact, the audience that persist till the end will be handsomely rewarded with a wonderful emotional ending that seems to be taken from another film altogether. Another feature of Ma is the good choice of music made use to maximum effect, in particular “Look at you girl” sang by Chris Ledoux. Apart from the ending and the song, the film is really nothing and most probably a film that most audience would rather miss. So why exactly is the film difficult to review? I can only say, if only the entire film was like the ending. Then again, at least there is the ending to feel good about and indeed it could have been a hell lot worse…

Neo rates it 5/10

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