Love Battlefield (2004)

Reviewed by: Hyomil
Date: 04/07/2011

Reviewer Score: 4

Reviewed by: Chungking_Cash
Date: 03/16/2010

Director Soi Cheang draws from the same well as "School on Fire" (1988) and drinks a tall glass of the same hopelessness that made Ringo Lam's final installment of his original crime trilogy nearly impossible to sit through.

Talented scribe Szeto Kam-yuen, who burst on the scene penning four consecutive Milkyway features ("Too Many Ways to be No. 1," "Expect the Unexpected," "A Hero Never Dies," "The Longest Nite") keeps things interesting for a while but watching a panty waist's day go from bad to worse after being kidnapped by violent mainland drug smugglers (one of which is bleeding to death from an off-screen gun battle) proves so depressing the protagonist's climatic redemption at the conclusion of "Love Battlefield" comes off like pure smaltz partly because it feels just that disjointed from the proceedings.

Eason Chan is the timid male nurse forced to play chauffer to Wang Zhi Wen and his associates; Niki Chow is the nurse's ex who dumps him minutes before being kidnapped; and Wong Ho-yin is great as Chow's expedient brother.

Reviewer Score: 6

Reviewed by: j.crawford
Date: 05/18/2006
Summary: a good movie

Yeah. This is a good movie. Young director Soi Cheang Pou-Soi turns out a journeyman work with the guidance of producer Joe Ma Wai-Ho. High technical marks given on all levels. This film has everything that is good about Hong Kong Cinema in it. Don’t miss this one. Sparkling DVD program includes an alternate ending that is pretty cool.

Reviewer Score: 9

Reviewed by: JohnR
Date: 04/03/2006
Summary: Fieldbattle Love

First the good points: All the technical pieces are sound: very good direction, adequate to very good acting, good visual feel, pacing, etc. This has the sights and sounds of a quality film.

But it falls flat. It's a weak love story set in a crime drama. I think the director made a big mistake; he's got it backwards. He should have made the crime part the centerpiece and put much less emphasis on the romance, as the crime piece is the element that works and has the best acting (in Wang Zhiwen, who plays the head of the gang). If he could have told the story through the eyes of Wang Zhiwen's character - a desperate, street smart gangster comes into Hong Kong to do a job, gets crossed by his business associates, and - to make matters worse and spin him to his downfall - comes across the Eason Chan character, a simple, honest guy who he needs to make use of, who just wants to get away, but who ends up dragging him farther and farther down.

This is, essentially, the plot; but by putting the emphasis on Eason Chan's relationship with his girlfried (Niki Chow) instead of with the gangster, a golden opportunity was missed, as the criminal character was much more complex and interesting than the love interest, and Wang Zhiwen did much more with it than Niki Chow did with hers (basically, she just looked pretty and behaved like a princess).

It's a good movie that, if it were turned inside out, would be a great movie.

Reviewer Score: 7

Reviewed by: MrBooth
Date: 01/08/2006
Summary: 9.5/10 - Best film of 2004

I thought LOVE BATTLEFIELD was exceptional - the best HK film of the year 2004, hands down (of the ones I've seen, obviously). I definitely preferred it to ONE NITE IN MONGKOK, which was many people's darling.

First of all, a superb script - gangs of mainland thieves seemed to be a recurring theme in '04, but LOVE BATTLEFIELD puts a number of fresh twists on the situation and has great characterisation. It is primarily a love story with a strong crime thriller element (genre-mixing in the great HK tradition). The direction from Soi Cheang is also superb, creating very high tension levels and packing quite an emotional punch. Acting is great from everyone except Raymond Wong (and he's still alright in a role that wasn't well suited for him) and that guy from Boyz, whose presence is completely pointless. I think it's safe to say that this is Eason Chan's best performance - not, perhaps, saying much, but he is really good here in a serious role.

I normally hate "movie romance" - that sappy "love conquers all" message that film-makers have been shoving down our throats for decades, and which bears little or no relation to real life. LOVE BATTLEFIELD impresses because it presents a realistic vision of love, and one that is many more times more powerful than anything in a romantic comedy. Love is tough!

I thought the cinematography, lighting and editing were all of high calibre, and the soundtrack particularly good. Cheang Pou-Soi is a director who really knows what he' doing, and the technical and artistic aspects of the film are top notch. In short, any faults I can throw at the film are minor, and hardly worth mentioning compared to its merits. For me, this is the No. 1 HK film of 2004.

Reviewer Score: 10

Reviewed by: Sydneyguy
Date: 12/26/2005
Summary: One of the better movies of 2004

Not having much of the idea of what the movie was about, i was pleasantly suprised by how absorbing this movie was.

Eason Chan and Nikki Chow are having problems with there relationship, and end up not going on holidays, because Eason's Car get stolen. He finds it by chance, and that where all the troubles start, as he is kidnapped by drug dealers.

What i liked about the move was the pace.You were never bored. The action was limited but bloody. The movie is more about characters than a storyline. A ending which was a little unexpected.

A movie actually more for couples, and if you see this movie, you will know why!!


Reviewer Score: 8

Reviewed by: mrblue
Date: 09/25/2004

Director Cheang Pou Sai (aka Soi Cheang) has made his mark in the Hong Kong movie world creating solid horror works such as New Blood and Horror Hotline. Like most Hong Kong film-makers though, he doesn't seem to be satisfied with working in one genre. As seen with his latest film, Love Battlefield, Cheang is spreading his wings a bit and trying out new things. The end result is a solid picture that shows that Cheang is one of Hong Kong's more promising up-and-coming directors.

Initially, Love Battlefield paints itself as your standard romantic weepie. During a trip to the Mainland, a nurse named Yui (Eason Chan) meets a pretty girl, Ching (Niki Chow). Things seem to be going well for the couple until the day they are planning to go for a vacation in Europe. Yui's car is stolen, and he wants to stay so he can report it to the police, but Ching still wants to leave. After a bitter spat, Yui and Ching break up. While heading to the police station, Yui sees his car, and it's at this point that Love Battlefield totally switches gears.

It turns out that Yui's car was stolen by a gang of Mainland drug runners (led by Wang Zhi Wen). After a vicious shootout, the criminals kidnap Yui, so he can take care of a wounded comrade. Eventually, Ching and her friends figure out Yui's situation and try and report it to the police, but he is already considered a suspect who is in cahoots with the gang. Now on her own, Ching must try and save the boyfriend she has fallen in love with again, while staying one step ahead of the police.

Besides a few minor plot holes and an ending that's a bit sappy, I really enjoyed Love Battlefield. There's a few interesting twists and turns, the actors do a good job, and there's even a bit of decent action as well. Even if there have been fewer films produced in Hong Kong lately, there has been a stretch of very solid pictures coming out. Though it might not have the flash or pizazz of some of the big "A-list" release that have premiered recently, Love Battlefield is defintely one of the better movies to come out of Hong Kong this year.

(review from www.hkfilm.net)

Reviewed by: magic-8
Date: 09/01/2004
Summary: Good Effective Crime Thriller

"Love Battlefield" is a solid crime thriller from director, Soi Cheang. The film covers a gang from the mainland that's in Hong Kong for a caper. Although the "gang from the mainland" theme is prevalent this year, "Love Battlefield" provides more bang for the buck than "Breaking News," another movie that uses a similar idea.

In " Love Battlefield", the director utilizes pacing normally asscociated with horror movies. After a lull there is a jolt of activity that surprises. Soi Cheang takes advantage of his horror movie experience to inject some life into the crime-drama, to keep viewers on the edge of their seats.

The acting was generally good but uneven. Eason Chan does do a laudable job, but cannot effectively carry the entire movie. Niki Chow also does well but is left gazing aimlessly at times. Soi would benefit from a bigger budget and more emphasis on the acting talent. Although there are problems with the script, poorly lit scenes and rough editing, the film does provide some very effective action, highlighted by some excellent music cues. With "Love Battlefield," Soi Cheang shows that he's a talent to keep in mind for future consideration.

Reviewed by: barrst
Date: 08/28/2004
Summary: Great start, weak finish

If this movie had wrapped things up about 5 minutes after the 'sudden snowstorm on the highway' I'd be raving about how great this movie is. Up to and including that point there are a lot of twists, neat visuals, tension, etc.

Unfortunately it stumbles on for a long while after that scene, with the characters' actions becoming increasingly braindead. At the end it's so bad that a character desperately needs to bust open a window, and has lots of rocks available to him, but it keeps beating on the window with his hands.

It's worth renting/borrowing to see the strong first part. The less you know about the movie, the more powerful the first part will be.