The Blacksheep Affair (1998)

Reviewed by: Hyomil
Date: 04/07/2011

Reviewer Score: 4

Reviewed by: dandan
Date: 01/03/2007
Summary: baa or, rather, bah!

dong (vincent zhao) rescues a plane full of hostages and is sent to the former soviet province of lavernia, to work for the chinese ambassador, as a punishment. here he teams up with an old friend (ken wong), and old flame (shu qi) and gets involved with an international terrorist organisation who's leader, mishima (andrew lin), claims he is the messiah.

yep, it is just as stupid as it sounds, with vincent zhao, devoid of charisma, doing his best to hold the film together. despite the efforts of zhao, ching sui-tung's choreography fails to excite, until the final sixty seconds of action, where zhao and lin pick up a couple of swords.

yup, this is a real stinker. crappy plot, crappy performances, crappy cartoon-like action and just crappiness. lavernia looks like a nice place though...

probably best ignored.

Reviewed by: Libretio
Date: 10/11/2005
Summary: Patriotic action-thriller


Aspect ratio: 1.85:1
Sound format: Dolby Digital

Allun Lam's THE BLACKSHEEP AFFAIR toplines Wu Shu expert Vincent Zhao as bodyguard to the Chinese ambassador of fictional European backwater 'Lavernia' who foils an escape bid by Japanese cult leader Andrew Lin, wanted for terrorist conspiracy. Lin subsequently orders his highly-trained followers to launch a blistering attack on Chiu, and causes maximum chaos throughout the capital by arranging the bombing of several prime targets. Cue tons of explosions and martial arts combat, choreographed with breathless abandon by the legendary Ching Siu-tung (A CHINESE GHOST STORY, ZU WARRIORS OF THE MAGIC MOUNTAIN). The final hand-to-hand showdown between Chiu and Lin will leave uninitiated viewers slack-jawed with amazement, if they haven't already been struck dumb by the high-velocity action scenes which punctuate the rest of the narrative.

The script's heartfelt examination of Chinese identity and patriotism post-Tiananmen propels both plot and characters, and the acting is well up to the mark: Park Hung-kwen's dynamic cinematography makes a virtue of Chiu's physical beauty and athletic prowess, and does much the same for Lin's black-hearted villain, especially the sacreligious moment following an attempt on his life in the prison showers when he poses in front of a life-size drawing of Christ on the wall of his cell. The supporting cast is excellent, but the film's non-Asian actors are amateurish *beyond belief*, dubbed by voice artists who wouldn't pass muster in a school play, let alone a supposedly professional movie like this! Par for the course in HK cinema, I'm afraid...

Reviewer Score: 6

Reviewed by: mrblue
Date: 09/18/2003

A Mainland soldier (Zhao) disobeys an order and is sent to Lavernia to assist the Chinese embassy. His first day there, Zhao manages to bring in the leader (Lin) of a dangerous Japanese cult. It turns out the cult is running weapons through the country, so the crooked Minister of Defense wants to kill Lin before he can blow the whistle. Since a boatload of Chinese refugees is also causing him headaches, the Minister decides to kill two birds with one stone by having Zhao and his men escort Lin into an ambush. Zhao must keep Lin under arrest while trying to get away from the Lavernian troops.

The Blacksheep Affair was a big disappointment. There's a lot going on wrong in the movie, but for brevity's sake, I'll boil it down to a couple of main points.

All the Laverian (Russian) people speak perfect English. Having white people speak in English is not uncommon in HK movies, but this is ridiculous. They don't even have Russian accents. Did I mention that they're also dubbed in while there's badly translated subs playing? So you get the worst of both worlds. Frankly, I haven't heard a dub job this bad since some of the '70's kung-fu movies. If the producers were trying to create a more international market for this movie, they failed miserably. I saw this in a theatre with a racially mixed audience and the dubbing was an insult to every group's intelligence.
The script is, in a word, horrible. Characters come and go at the drop of a hat, and even when they stay around, they're poorly motivated. Zhao's girlfriend (Hsu), who for some reason manages to hear about his transfer decides to show up from Croatia (I guess moving around in a war-torn European country is easier than I thought). There could have been something done with this character, but she quickly becomes the standard whiny damsel in distress. Most of the other characters in Blacksheep suffer the same fate. The only somewhat interesting character is Lin's cult leader, but instead of developing it more, the movie gives us things like an impromptu song-and-dance number. I also really didn't understand how the Chinese refugees fit into the whole picture. There are several lame attempts at symbolism in Blacksheep, so I guess this is just another one of them. At any rate, the Minister's plan doesn't make any sense -- just like most of the movie.
I could go into more detail, but I really don't care enough about this movie to. The only thing that saves Blacksheep from being a total stinker are the action sequences. Both Zhao and Lin are decent martial artists, and there is a fair amount of Woo-inspired gunplay. But it isn't enough to recommend this movie for anything other than a rental, and only then if there isn't anything better to watch available.

Reviewed by: balstino
Date: 07/04/2003
Summary: Vincent Zhao is excellent, this film is toilet.

Vincent Zhao (Chiu Man-Cheuk) is an absolutely A class martial arts actor. Why doesn't some one high-jack him for a decent flick!!! The HKL trailer makes this film look like the best modern martial arts film ever, but sadly it isn't. Shu Qi moans and crys, how annoying. Watch it for the lead performance but that is all.

Reviewed by: MrBooth
Date: 03/11/2002
Summary: Expect the worst, and it might be a pleasant surprise

The first time that I saw THE BLACKSHEEP AFFAIR I was quite convinced that it was the worst movie ever made. Eventually, MARTIAL ANGELS came along and bumped it up to second-worst, but it still stood out as remarkably bad in my memory. I never expected to change my mind on this, but recently there seemed to be quite a lot of people saying nice things about it (mainly the action). I was quite convinced they were all delusional, but just to be sure I decided to watch it again and confirm it's absolute awfulness...

... and I really enjoyed it I am increasingly convinced that appreciation of a movie is completely unrelated to any factor in the movie itself, but is purely in inverse proportion to expectations of quality. Either that, or some movies just age really well I guess.

The setting of the fictitious European country of Lavernia (innacurately translated as Lithuania in the subs) gives the movie quite a different feel to most Hong Kong Movies, and the strange mixture of accents the English speaking Lavernians display is quite charming if you look at it the right way. The complex plot of politics and revolutionaries is quite interesting if you don't try to read too much logic into it, and Andrew Lin makes a great megalomaniac villain. Chiu Man Cheuk has zero charisma again, but Shu Qi has enough to carry him along, and he does show some nice kung fu here.

The action scenes are actually really quite cool too - if you forgive some very cheesy camera angles and gratuitous use of slow motion, and some iffy editing. Lavernia really gets torn up during the course of the movie, and the final reel is pretty tense and exciting stuff. There's 2 moments in the movie that have some hilarious comedy too, though I'm not sure how deliberate it was (one radio news report w/ a Paul McCartney connection, and a rope-based assault that goes wrong).

I actually can't remember why I thought it so bad when I first saw it... perhaps I was just hoping for something slicker/smarter/bigger budget or something. Or perhaps I'm just running it together with FIST POWER in my memories - I'm right that FIST POWER really was unwatchably bad, right? Maybe I'll have to give that one another chance too...

Reviewer Score: 6

Reviewed by: Inner Strength
Date: 01/12/2002
Summary: Better than average

When I first heard about this movie, it did not interest me at all. However, after a while, I thought 'what the hell, I might as well see it' as a lot of people had been talking about it. I was actually very surprised at how good it actually was.

More of a drama/thriller movie I would say, but with a lot of action. Too much to go into, but basically is about terrorists, with a very good story. I have not seen a lot of movie with Vincent Zhao, but his acting was very good. Shu Qi plays a good role too, although her part was too small I think.

A definite buy I would say, especially if you can get the UK DVD release which has been digitally remastered with extras.

Rating (of 5): 4

(This rating is based on the year & genre, so don't think it's based as a comparison on new releases etc.)

Reviewer Score: 8

Reviewed by: danton
Date: 01/03/2002

Having watched way too many melodramas lately, I was ripe for some martial arts action, so I watched this Ching Siu Tung effort starring Zhao Whenzhou, and while he is always a pleasure to watch in action, the movie itself barely holds together. It's set in a fictional Eastern European country called Lavernia (although the DVD subtitles refer to it as Lithuania) where everyone speaks bad Gwailo English and where strangely enough, they have a problem with Chinese boat people. As if that weren't enough, a Japanese superterrorist starts menacing them and it's of course up to our hero to make things right(which he does in the usual fashion). Some good fight and action scenes intermingled with ludicrous drama, plotholes galore, bad dialogue, and poor acting. Oh, and Shu Qi gets to walk around tossing her hair and pouting those lips as the love interest.

I'd have called it mindless fun, except that some of the political undertones in the movie struck me as really embarassing (in particular, Shu Qi plays a student who fled China after the Tianamen Square massacre -- and in the movie she gets blamed for being unpatriotic! Come on, even though it's post 97, you don't have to suck up to the authorities that much...)

Reviewed by: Sydneyguy
Date: 08/08/2001
Summary: Ok-ish

Pretty good action movie where their are lots of guns and hand to hand combat, but the story is thin!! You definately watch this movie for action only otherwise you'll be left disappointed if you wanted a good story!!


Reviewed by: Fatty
Date: 07/27/2001
Summary: It's been awhile eh?

I think it's been like a couple of months since my last review. So I'm gonna do a shitload of reviews now :)

Basically the Blacksheep Affair is about cop Yim Dong, he takes out a Terrorist inside a Held Airplace, he kicks ass but the big boys didn't like it. So he's off to Lanvernia (Some Fantasy country) to help out there, and bring down Kazuo, who is a big terrorist in Japan or whatever, some mindless action is soon to follow :)

a ok action IMO, I don't know why but Shu Qi's voice in this was dubbed, I'm not sure if she had a problem with her voice or something but her voice in this film was dumb. I wanna hear the sweet sounds of Shu Qi dammit!! Anyways this was indeed alot of fun to watch, the ending IMO is the best, sure the ending fight reminds me of something from Street Fighter(Yim Dong as Guile :) ) but it was cewl, I didn't really like the General dude that was basically in control of the Country and his good'ol buddy Tasta(and I though Holland Boy was a weird name)but Tasta gets a pretty cewl death by the hands of Shu Qi's dubbed character.

Everybody did a aiight job with the acting, the main dude that played Yim Dong was pretty cewl, and Shu Qi was ok. But her dubbed voice was awful, Yim's buddy Kwok was cewl and he basically saves his bud in the ending. I really liked the Kazuo character the most, after all he's a big Terrorist in Japan, just waiting to kick alot more ass :). Plus I'm surprised he can draw a huge Cross this in the span of 3 minutes....Incredible!!

In all a pretty cewl movie to watch, the ending was the best to me. But seeing Yim take out the Helicopter with some Cheap Machine gun sucked ass, but it was still alot of fun for me to watch :).


P.S, sorry the review sucked(LIke all my reviews do,) but I'm in a hurry so I couldn't catch up on the rest of the cast names...L8r

This so called review is brought to you by Fatty

Reviewed by: gwailo
Date: 05/11/2001
Summary: The Blacksheep Affair

Like most all HK action films 'The Blacksheep Affair' tends to throw validity out the window. If your a HK cinema fan you know that is expected and no, it's not a bad thing. Contrived story explodes with beautiful Ching Siu-tung crafted action/camerawork. Even a substantial plot that tries to set reasoning for all the fireworks. Though the plot inaccuracies are distracting, there is more than enough action to pull the film through. Perjorative toward the east or west? Unsure, since both hemispheres seem to be evil. Though, the east does prevail,somewhat, by films end extending the olive branch for unity. Far fetched, to say the very least, but exciting!

Reviewed by: future113
Date: 02/19/2001
Summary: Good Action

I thought this movie was a good action flick, worthy of a dvd purchase under if at under $14. The action scenes are well done and you won't be bored at all as some here seem to have been.

Reviewed by: magic-8
Date: 01/20/2001
Summary: Use the Fast Forward Button

I recently watched "The Blacksheep Affair" again on DVD. I am thankful for the advance and skip buttons, where I could pass the ugly Eastern European scenery, the bad "Laverian" actors, the over-baked plotlines, the Tianeman Square reference between Chiu Man-Cheuk and Hsu Qi, and the rest of the silly stuff. When you bypass all the dross what you get are the thrilling fight scenes where Chiu Man-Cheuk faces off against Andrew Lin Hoi, playing a Japanese terrorist.

As choreographed by Ching Siu-Tung, the action is high flying and over-the-top and the only reason left to view this movie. My favorite scenes involved Chiu and Lin going at each other. The first was in the train tunnel and the other is when they (stunt doubles) fall from a landing to the hard floor below. No wires, just two guys hitting the ground hard. My main attraction to HK action films is for the gritty stunt work, and this one contains enough to keep you distracted for awhile. The action scene showcasing Lin versus some "Laverian" prisoners was also quite well played.

Reviewer Score: 7

Reviewed by: pjshimmer
Date: 09/17/2000
Summary: 7/10 star movie

Well, the first 30 minutes or so was extremely boring. The part about the hijacking was just completely unnecessary as to how the movie later turns out. Anyway, there are some really good action scenes here. I guess it's really not uncommon for modern HK movies to still include some swordplay. This one was very good. I just thought that the girl in this movie was the most annoying thing I've encounter in a while. She screams and yells and it seems that one minute she wants what's best for his boyfriend, the main character, and a minute later she is so afraid to die, which could kill everyone eventually. Not a great romance flick but definitely has some cool actions. I did not find the plot to be confusing or messed up.

Reviewed by: ralphbrown
Date: 06/09/2000
Summary: A Dissenting Opinion

I had heard so many negative opinions about this movie that I didn't expect much from it. Perhaps that's why I was pleasantly surprised. I don't get it.

Chiu Man-Cheuk here is as likeable as always. The action is well filmed. The villain is menacing. The plot moves along. The music is even decent.

I think it's the politics. Sure, the theme (Stay loyal to the Mainland! Westerners aren't trustworthy!) is pounded at the viewer a thousand times, but you know what? Change the names and that's the (more subtle) theme of every B-grade American action film that involves any sort of "foreign" element, folks.

All I know is that I rooted for the good guy, and the fights were good (and I got to see a lot of action in one cut - not spliced together, not in skip-frame, not with any action out-of-frame). I'd call that a success.

Reviewed by: STSH
Date: 01/15/2000
Summary: Much action but little sense

To describe the plot as racist and chauvinist muddled nonsense would be too kind.
Does the plot descrip sounds all a bit hard to follow, and stretching credibility ? This is about the first one-third of the story, and it gets progressively sillier. And the assumptions about Western racism against the Chinese alternate between breathtakingly naive and simply stupid.
This is not the sort of film where you can say "oh well, the story is claptrap, but I'll ignore it and just enjoy the action". Try as you might, the stupid story simply won't stop getting in the way of the action. However, there certainly is plenty of action - gunfire, kicking, swordplay, even an attempted aircraft hijacking - and it's great, heart-pounding stuff. Shu Kei is also heart-pounding and, here, manages to look astonishingly like a young Ng Sin Lin. Yum Yum !
So, do watch, and try not to be sick afterwards by dwelling on the plot !

Reviewer Score: 5

Reviewed by: PAUL MARTINEZ
Date: 01/03/2000

I Love action films. But this one kept putting me to sleep and I couldn't figure out why.. It just wasn't anything I haven't seen a million times or more.

Decent acting by the lead but the rest of the cast wasn't very beleivable to me.

Action was bland, Nothing really bad. Just very generic. I think I was hoping for something greater as this fil was recommended by a friend.

Reviewer Score: 5

Reviewed by: MilesC
Date: 12/11/1999

Chiu Man-Cheuk is wasted on this junk. Awful English dubbing, a truly awful performance from Hsu Chi, a laughable storyline and a lot of mostly mediocre action scenes are what you can look forward to in this one. Good thing I'm more or less tired of pure action movies, because they really are dead in Hong Kong.