Fatal Move 奪帥 (2008) – Hong Kong

Almost as good as SPL…

Review by Neo: Dennis Law have finally come of age and after 2 unfulfilling attempts, Law have strike third time luckily with Fatal Move. Fatal Move is not just a good movie, as saying that would be a clear understatement, but one that Neo can proudly claim as the best in 2008 HK cinema so far. Despite a few unnecessary parts in between and some moments of predictability, Fatal Move qualifies as an action movie with HK flair and almost matching the feat of 2005’s SPL. It’s been a while since Neo have witnessed a good HK movie and with it being so close to his 22nd birthday, Fatal Move comes just at the right timing.

Director Dennis Law have previously debuted in the teenage targeted Love @ First Note and have since then gone on to make his first shot at action cinema with the above average Fatal Contact. There is no doubt that Law’s career lies in action cinema and if this flick is any indication, his direction is only heading one way and that is up and coming. It is always refreshing to witness a new generation director producing a good quality flick and it is all the more exciting when it comes to action cinema. Law smartly casts a trio from SPL, namely Sammo Hung, Simon Yam and Wu Jing and the result is some quality martial arts sequence and lots of fun to be had.

Also of special mention, it is probably the first time in years, where action flicks have succeeded without the involvement of Donnie Yen. Perhaps it is time to unleash Wu Jing on his first true starring in almost a decade since Tai Chi 2. Like his role in SPL, Wu Jing, the protégé of Jet Li is cool enough to rock the screen and likable enough to keep the audience attention. His fighting is slick and his youthfulness sets him apart from the rest of the aging cast. Still, these kinds of roles might make him look cooler than anyone deserves to be, but ultimately they are paper thin and not ones that allows Wu Jing to show his full potential. However, it is nonetheless a sigh of fresh air as the days of Sammo Hung is closer to retirement than debutant.

Also in the mix is Lee Sir, Danny Lee and without a second though there is no doubt that Lee have aged considerably since his The Killer days and the sight of him with a gun is about as believable as a pensioner robbing a bank. With that being said, it is always a pleasure to see him back on the big screen and once again reminding the audience exactly how movies are used to be made. Sammo Hung almost reprises his role of SPL but this time with a degree of remorseless and thus allowing the audience to maintain interest in his character. Unfortunately one of Law’s weak points is that he is no Wilson Yip, which means that he is not a character director. Luckily, the fight sequences more than compensate and the result are some quietly entertaining long takes of these coolly filmed scenes.

Simon Yam also appears here and there, but is somewhat subdued and almost certainly a role more suited to the likes of Francis Ng. Veteran actress Tien Niu impresses the audience with a performance that is menacing yet understanding. Those final words of her are strong and her facial expression matched the strong dialogue given to her. As for Lam Suet, he is just himself, but for an actor that does so little, Lam is damn memorable and his acting is just priceless to laugh or cry for.

All in all, Fatal Move is easily the best movie of 2008 so far and it is safe to say that it is a movie that Neo actually liked. I understand that the current reviewer has been a little too strict in recent times, but there is no argument that the quality being delivered so far this year has largely been disappointing. With that being said, it always feel good and makes Neo’s day a hell lot better whenever he witness good HK cinema. Firstly, it is surprising, secondly, it makes him feel like his effort and passion for this industry isn’t just going straight to the garbage dump and finally, it allows the current review to sleep well at night. So what’s wrong with Fatal Move, the answer is that there is nothing wrong, but the fact that Neo got sort of over-excited like a little kid receiving a balloon… (Neo 2008)

I rate it 9/10

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