Tokyo Raiders (2000)
Reviewed by: Arshadnm6 on 2005-04-18
Summary: Light comedy with plenty of hillarious action and all round fun!!!
Lam (played by Tony Leung Chiu-Wai from ‘Bullet in the Head’, ‘Hard Boiled’ and ‘Hero’) is the toughest private eye in Tokyo. Despite his small stature and broken Japanese, he runs Tokyo’s streets single-handedly and in a heroic fashion. After an encounter with jilted bride Macy (Kelly Chan from ‘Infernal Affairs I and III’) due to circumstances, who arrives in Tokyo chasing her groom, known as Takahashi (played by Toru Nakamura from ‘Gen-X Cops’), Lam agrees to help Macy find Takahashi. Macy is also accompanied by a persistent interior designer Yung (played by Ekin Cheng from ‘Storm Riders’, ‘A Man Called Hero’ and ‘The Duel’), who is pursuing Takahashi to settle a debt. Following their meeting mayhem erupts where Macy is constantly being hounded by the Yukuza for unknown reasons, and it seems that Lam and Yung may not be so innocent themselves. Moreover, Takahashi seems to be the main target and needs to clear up some information regarding a secret hi-tech chip that is sought by the Japanese government from the Yukuza.

This movie is constantly entertaining with cool gadgets turning up everywhere. However, the movie is simply an action-paced rollercoaster ride with thrills and spills, which tries to inject some comedy and romance into the movie, but evidently fails. Also, the characters are too silly and unbelievable to be convincing as real actors since Kelly Chan believes Ekin Cheng’s poor excuse for tailing her so easily! Also, the main characters all fall into their place too easily (i.e. everyone seems to have an ulterior motive for being present in the situation) and their acting is horrible. The action itself is well choreographed with Ekin Cheng being a five-time wu-shu champion (don’t ask) and the storyline is unbelievably realistic. It really never deals with any deep issues and seems to inject some adrenaline when things start to slow-down. The camera angles are quite well done in different areas of the movie and the soundtrack is exciting with several plot twists and double-crossings mainly revolving around the heroes, which keep the movie moving on. The many chases also involve using different forms of transport via both road and sea.

The choice of locations was quite good and shows off the major tourist sites of technological-metropolis Tokyo. However, certain characters such as Cecilia Cheung turn up from nowhere as Tony Leung’s assistant, which was a waste. There is no storyline in this feature and most characters are too wrapped up in their own lives and motives to care about anything else that is going on. Nevertheless, perhaps this movie was intended to be a rollercoaster action flick with little personality. Also, some characters such as Tony Leung’s assistant never play a necessary role and turn up whenever their use is required (or possibly to act as time-crunching decoys) possibly to fill-up the movie with some eye candy and fluff. All of the above is also explained by the director responsible for this movie, Jingle Ma who never has done any dramatic movies and probably never will! Some accidentally funny moments such as Kelly Chan being approached by a bunch of kids’ intent on making her star in a pornography production are really funny and most of the time you will be laughing at the characters and not with them. The main problem with this movie is that everything falls into place too easily and some characters are not required in the movie.

Overall, this movie was a slight disappointment due to its lack of depth throughout the movie and therefore does not make a major impression on anyone. However, it is very watch-able and mixes good amounts of Japanese and Chinese dialogue with some English to keep everyone entertained as done through the success of other tri-lingual movies such as ‘Time and Tide’ and ‘Gen-X-Cops’. All in all, a good amount of action and comedy make this film into an above average commodity of HK Cinema.

Overall Rating: 7.9/10