Aw, lighten up, you guys ! Above all, this film is FUN.
Reviewer Score: 8
Any movie that has Anthony Wong in a major role has my attention up front, and the DVD cover promises action, with more than a nod to The Incredibles. Bone-cracker Yu Siu Bo cuts short an appointment with a patient to answer an important phone call. He strolls into a concealed room, all white and shiny (a la Mission Impossible), pulls on a white robe, and strolls out to fight flying and dissolving red and white ninjas on a satellite dish.
Ah yes, this is the way to open a light action comedy from HK. Martial arts and wuxia. I'm in heaven already. I was a little disappointed to find that it was a story that Anthony's character was telling to a bunch of far-from-credulous schoolkids. So, with such a ripper opening, does it continue to hold interest ?
Well, not all the way. It doesn't achieve the relentless A-grade action of the following year's Dragon Tiger Gate, but it's a different type of movie. The gentle comedy of the family situation, while sometimes falling a little flat, provides a perfect counterpoint to the action, of which there is plenty and, contrary to the opinion of several other reviewers, highly enjoyable and pretty good.
The family stuff is beautifully done. The feuding between brother and sister, erupting into fu foot fights under the table, was simply hilarious. I can think of plenty of Hollywood films that would benefit from including this sort of stuff. Anthony's concerned chats with the photo of his dead wife. The boyfriend and girlfriend of the kids. And I do agree that Charlene Choi's part should have been expanded - I was staggered to see her character take the tiniest part in the fighting before dropping out.
And to you guys who hate Michael Wong whatever he does - relax ! I was quite tickled by his combination of Blofeld and Davros. And if you want to call his acting wooden, then it's like calling Schwarzenegger robotic. Arnie answered that one by playing a robot. If you have a wooden actor, what better to do than have him play a quadraplegic ?
Yuen Wo-Ping's fight choreography really makes the second half tick. Jam-packed with multi-fighter battles, it's a blast, and easily covers for any lack of fu skills of the participants. It worked for me. I was carried along with it, and it was a terrific ride.
A movie for repeated viewings, for sure. And now, Mr Fung, how about a sequel ? Pretty please ?