Running on Karma (2003)
Reviewed by: STSH on 2007-07-27
Summary: Big Karma
A very entertaining movie, as the other reviewers have noted. Some aspects not commented upon include the cinematography and the plot inconsistencies, which I will thus address.

There is some simply gorgeous scenery which is superbly photographed. The lush green fields, mountains and lakes lend a grand and spacious feel to especially the second half, and make this section a sheer joy to watch.

The story chops and changes somewhat. The movie begins with scenes of a brutal murder intercut with a men's strip show. The murderer, a tall and incredibly flexible (courtesy of CGI) Indian is a mysterious presence who dominates much of the first half of the movie. Then he vanishes, without so much as a futher mention. Also, without warning, another very flexible character pops up (Hon Kwok Choi). Initially, it looks as if he has something to do with the rubbery Indian, but 'tis not to be. And he, too, vanishes without trace. This movie could be subtitled "The mystery of the vanishing bad guys".

And there is other odd stuff. The police bust the strip show after Andy/Big rips off the last piece of clothing. As the cops are trying to nab him, he says only that he wants his brief. For a while, it looks like that means he is asking for a lawyer, but when Yee finds his leather jockstrap, it is clear he means his briefs. Also, during the scene where Andy tries to catch Hon Kwok Choi, there is something about one minute taken away from 20 hours together, for which there appeared to be no explanation.

Whether these weirdnesses were deliberate or due to poor script editing is unclear. However, the general tone is towards mysterious, and they by no means get in the way. The time-shifting aspect could have been very jarring, and it is frequently hard to tell if what is being shows is in the present or the past, but this is also not a problem. This film is consistently entertaining and holds interest all the way through.

Andy's muscle suit is a weird combination of the believeable and the fake. The join around the neck is distractingly obvious, and the flesh has the flat feel of plastic, yet the muscles move in a realistic and even entertaining manner. Perhaps if there's a sequel (The Further Adventures of Monk Big, perhaps ?), they can improve upon it.

However, I found myself not dwelling much on the suit, as Andy's characterization works so well (it is his best acting in years), and the teaming yet again with the charming Cec Cheung works a treat.

Recommended.



Reviewer Score: 7