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ۼvS (1998)
Hot War

Reviewed by: MrBooth
Date: 10/13/2012

HOT WAR at least had the honour of being the first of Hong Kong's attempts to go Hollywood after the film industry entered a crisis post-1997 handover, and it has some good moments. In particular the cinematography and digital editing set new standards for techno-action (though Jingle Ma would take it much further in Tokyo Raiders).

It also had the much more dubious honour of introducing Terence Yin to the Hong Kong film world... a handsome man, to be sure, but an absolutely terrible actor who just exudes sleaze to the point that any film with him in makes me squirm.

It also features a ridiculous boat chase finale which would have been much more at home on a trashy US TV series starring Pamela Anderson, or pretty much anywhere else.

Still, it's a fun film, an impressive spectacle, but flawed.

Reviewed by: Hyomil
Date: 04/07/2011

Reviewer Score: 7

Reviewed by: mrblue
Date: 09/25/2004

A group of CIA scientists -- C.S. (Jordan Chan), Tango (Ekin Cheng) and Blue (Kelly Chan) -- are working on a secret project called "VR Fighter" which uses a combination of hypnosis and virtual reality to turn ordinary men into super fighters. A rogue terrorist known as Alien (Terence Yin) wants the hypnosis technology to use for inciting riots to drive up commodity prices, and so he kidnaps Blue. C.S. and Tango decide to use VR Fighter to rescue Blue, but during the mission they learn of the project's consequences -- it turns some of the subjects into raving homicidal maniacs. The two friends are set against each other, all while Alien is bringing his plan to fruition.

Hot War has some nice things going for it, such as a good story, a large (by HK standards) budget, and a strong star in Jordan Chan. But, ultimately, it falls into the realm of mediocrity. The film's main problem is the script. It isn't horrible, just poorly developed. Characters come and go at the drop of a hat. Alien has a silent Japanese bodyguard that could have brought some life into the film, but she's cut from the movie almost just as quickly as she came in. There's some references made to the fact that the three scientists grew up together, but except for a lame flashback sequence, it's not built on in any way, which hampers the development of the relationships between the characters during the course of the film.

The whole VR Fighter plot device really isn't used to its' full potential. Except for a cool training sequence, it really doesn't figure into the film all that much. Supposedly C.S. and Tango are supposed to be super fighters. Then how come they both have to take on Alien in a fist-fight? I was expecting some Matrix-style antics, but no such luck. There's not even a hint of wire-fu, which I think would have fit into the film perfectly. In fact, the action is pretty poor all around. There are numerous nods to John Woo (including Ekin wearing a Mark Gor-style trenchcoat and jumping off a building using a cable ala Hard-Boiled), but Hot War fails to capture the intensity, originality or just sheer firepower of a classic Woo movie -- or many other HK films, for that matter. Action director Stephen Tung has been responsible for many incredible action sequences, but nothing even close to that pops up in Hot War.

My next point may be more of a pet peeve than anything else. A lot of the film is in English, which leads to the annoying bit of having English subs on when the characters are speaking English. If the film-makers were going for an international audience, why didn't they just dub the whole movie into English -- or at least make sure that the home version didn't have subs on all the time? I admit that this may be more a personal annoyance than anything else, but the majority of English in the movie brings up another (some would say more valid) point: the gweilo actors, for lack of a better word, suck.

These guys come from the same crappy mold that brought you the silly multi-cultural "street gang" in Rumble in the Bronx, which could come as no surprise, since Jackie Chan produced this movie. Even the Asian actors are pretty bad. Terence Yin is simply horrible as Alien. I have of word of advice for future film-makers: giving your villain a bad dye job and having him smirk does not make him scary or cool. Combined with Ekin Cheng and Kelly Chan's "acting," at times Hot War was just painful to watch. Thank God for Jordan Chan and his mumble-mouthed mannerisms -- they're Hot War's one saving grace acting-wise.

Hot War's other major problem is a lack of heart. The film just feels hollow. Many people have described it as "too Hollywood," and I agree somewhat. There's nothing wrong with a Hollywood action movie in of itself. Many great action films, such as Die Hard, Lethal Weapon and The Terminator have come out of Hollywood and provide just as much entertainment as many other, more "serious" films. However, many Hollywood "popcorn movies" suffer from the cookie-cutter syndrome -- basically they're just making a picture to make money. That's the feeling I got with Hot War. It looks great, but there's nothing behind it.

(review from www.hkfilm.net)

Reviewed by: pjshimmer
Date: 04/25/2003
Summary: Garbage

At least that's what I thought during the first half, where things went dead frozen... but the latter half kind of redeemed itself. I would say the overall result is above disaster, but below enjoyable.

I usually have high tolerance for this kind of modern action movie--a la Tokyo Raiders and Bad Boy TeGong, but "Hot War" is clearly a lesser effort. Try as he might, Ekin Cheng is simply atrocious at acting.


Reviewed by: Dyogenez
Date: 12/29/2002
Summary: action packed at least

As an Ekin Cheung fan, I thought this movie was overall entertaining. There are a few great shootouts, and not in the typical "destroy everything" fashion; more one on one. The story wasn't the most entertaing, but did at least keep me interested enough to keep watching. Not quite as good as some of the newer Cheng movies, but definetely better than the Y&D series.


Reviewed by: Sydneyguy
Date: 11/23/2002
Summary: What have they done?

I barely rememeber the movie but i remember the movie goes a bit overboard, meaning it becomes too unrealisitc. I remember this was a big budget movie, but where did the money go? Obviously not a good script writer.........


Reviewed by: Inner Strength
Date: 02/04/2002
Summary: Terrible

I will not write a review for this, as it's not worth it in my opinion. I really found this film terribly boring and uninteresting.

Rating: 1/5

Reviewed by: happy_dragon
Date: 01/18/2002
Summary: Predictable

If you ever saw Y&D Series a lot, you would find this Ekin Cheng & Jordan Chan's duet pretty boring and predictable.

Reviewed by: danton
Date: 01/03/2002

Produced by Jackie Chan, this movie falls square into the late nineties trend of aiming movies at Hollywood, adding as much English dialog as possible and in general trying to make the HK version of Mission Impossible. Starring Jordan Chan and Ekin Dior Noodle Cheng, as well as Kelly Chan and Terence Yin, and shot on what must have been a relatively big budget by HK standards, this is a good-looking but ultimately shallow hightech action movie. Ekin and Jordan play two scientists who undergo VR training to become the ultimate fighters/special agents, so that they can go and rescue a colleague who's been kidnapped by criminals who are after her research on subliminal messaging...

The story actually offers some rather surprising twists that I thought were fresh and had the potential to make this a great movie. The twists were of the "Hollywood would never do something like this" variety, and they did add a level of excitement which the movie unfortunately fails to sustain. The action sequences lack any real thrills - and in my case, I had just watched Eastern Condors the day before, and having Sammo Hung, Yuen Biao and Yuen Wah at their peak still fresh in my memory, watching Terence Yin, Ekin Cheng and Jordan Chan go at it just doesn't measure up...

Nevertheless, the movie is entertaining if you don't set your expectations too high. Among the recent flood of similar films, I'd place it somewhere slightly ahead of China Strike Force, 2000 AD, Enter the Eagles, Skyline Cruisers and For Bad Boys Only, and a little below Purple Storm, Downtown Torpedoes, Tokyo Raiders and Gen X/Y Cops.

Reviewed by: natty
Date: 04/24/2001
Summary: Great movie that was

Oh yeah , this is a nice movie that is simply irresistable.I read its review , and then rented it and ofcourse it blew me away.
(try watching it on DVD with sorround system) and use the English format.you'll be taken into another world and may be keep watching it all day long.

Reviewed by: sharon
Date: 02/27/2001
Summary: Pretty Good

Ekin Cheng and Jordan Chan makes the film work. I was a bit unfortunet and saw this movie about a year after the realse, and I can say that this probably took away from it, since I was really in the World Cup at the time. But nonetheless, this film is enjoyable to a degree.

The high points in the film:
Jordan Chan gives another wonderful performance as usual. His character is portrayed very well...even though it did seem rushed.
Ekin Cheng was a little bit more dramatic in this movie then in his other movies. You could actually see some serious sad emotions from him this time! Pretty good job.
Kelly Chen gave a bit above the average performance, not much else to say about that.
I enjoyed the special effects of the movie the most. It reminded me of a outdated Matirx mixed with some James Bond feel. The VR gave me the Matirx feel, even though it's nothing compared to the real Matirx, it's still a good job done for a HK film. The fight scenes (I'm talking mainly about the shoot out between Jordan and the villians) was very tight and well choregraphed, which is the James Bond feel.

The acting and camera work and everything else was above average. All in all, this was a enjoyable movie to watch based solely on entertaining value.

Reviewed by: tcooc
Date: 02/23/2001

Ekin Cheng and Jordan Chan. How many movies are there where these two men star together? I wonder If they are getting sick of it, So I wonder what is next for this couple. At least it is right to say that this team of actors work very well together. They have the 'chemistry' usually reserved for an actress and an actor, but it never ever comes across gay or anything.

So here is one of their earlier offerings, 'Hot War,' definately the wrong title for this film, this is another classic Hong Kong to English title translation. In this film there are no Hot Wars, the actual movie deals with the illegal use of 'subliminals' to cause riots at the World Cup Soccor games. 'Subliminals' are actually a new type of weapon developed by Tango One (Ekin Cheng) CS Koo (Jordan Chan) and Blue (Kelly Chen) which use ULF or Ultra Low Frequency messages or images to affect people's brains and get them to do wierd stuff, the sight of a group of Indians vomitting everywhere is gross! But like all action films, the 'subliminals' are wanted by criminals, notedly by one mean ass guy called Alien, to sabotage the Soccor World Cup. Apart from that the story line is quite thin and uninspiring, but there is a neat segment which involves VR Training, a Matrix like training {No sorry the Matrix COPYED is!!!} system which turns a normal human into a formidable fighting machine. Tango and CS undergo this training in a bid to rescue Blue when she is kidnapped by Alien to help him develop the 'subliminals,' unfortunately CS Koo cracks after the training and becomes one of the rare 'violence prone' subjects which can't control their powerful fits of rage. Things go awry after this, they successfully rescue Blue, but when higher authorities arrest them in the airport (Because they are VR Fighters and maybe dangerous) CS Koo snaps full time, and kills Blue in a fit of red rage. Things are Pear shaped from now on.

Jingle Ma, the director, has crafted a very stylish action movie, in some instances you could even say that it is kind of like an understandable Wong Kar Wei movie. There are uses of black and white stock, coloured stock mixed with alternate angles, fast motion and slow motion. All this results in an eye pleasing effort. Action does come thick and fast, although it is category IIA action, it isn't all that bloody, but there is implied violence, so it does come across quite 'ouchies.' (As in, Oh thats gotta hurt.) There is one kick ass gunfight between Jordan Chan and the bad guy Alien in the broadcasting facility, which resembles something John Woo would create. Good stuff.

Okay, now here I go again defending Ekin Cheng. I reckon that he is very good in this film. He is very emotional in this movies, and in his a crying scene, you really feel for his character. Once again, like always, Jordan Chan puts in a great effort. He acts great and looks pretty cool with a gun. Newcomer Kelly Chan {not really new more, but at that time} does well with her limited screen time.

All in all Hot War is a great film. It has some crap looking FX, especially in the air floaty whatsit scene. But otherwise Centro have made some kewl computer screen stuff. Another good aspect about this film is the emotion portrayed in certain scenes. I rate this in my top ten crying films where the ending brings me to tears. And I tell you, if you don't get the slightest bit emotional in the final rooftop scene, there is something wrong with you.

Reviewed by: Fatty
Date: 02/19/2001
Summary: Cool movie

Ok I really did enjoy this film, it the film somewhat was around World Cup'98 and I still wonder if a Hot War 2 would be about World Cup'2002.

Anyways the film was quite good, it had some nice Martial Arts stuff and I really liked the VR Training thing, very cool. Ekin Cheng and Jordan Chan were quite good. Every time I see Ekin Cheng in a movie it's usually action stuff. But all that they used were little Handguns. Imagine of John Woo did this film, Then it would rule.

Kelly Chan is a cutie and was cool in this film, I really do like her alot aswell. Hopefulle she can star in a huge action movie the this.

Terence Yin is one cool baddie, I really liked him as Alien, and looked sweet with the blond hair. But him talking english is very weird. He kicked ass during the last part of the film but a better death would've made him a sweet villain that had a kick ass death. But all he got was hanged by a chain on the roof of a building. Would've been better if he fell.

The action was aight aswell, I really liked the trainin stuff and the last fight was cool. But the plot somewhat sucked. Sure it involved the world Cup but most of Alien's plan flat out sucked.

In all a very good film with some alright acting,cool action and great Effects

3/5 (Terence Yin was cool)

This Review is brought to you by Fatty

Reviewed by: hellboy
Date: 08/30/2000
Summary: An HK Universal Soldier

Two researchers specializing in virtual reality training become the first guinea pigs to try it out in order track down a international terrorist. Jordan Chan is the best thing about this mediocre action flick. His performance as a ticking time bomb of rage isn't the most original but he does the best he can with it. It should have been a great film unfortunately it's bogged down by too much melodrama, too little action, and a luckluster bad guy. On the bright side Hot War does show that HK is definitely improving on special effects technology. 5/10

Reviewer Score: 5