Eye in the Sky (2007)
Reviewed by: mrblue on 2007-10-31
At some time or other, long-time Hong Kong movie viewers have probably seen a picture that covers almost every department in the police force. Whether it's the Special Duties Unit (SDU), Serious Crimes Unit (SCU), Organized Crime and Triad Bureau (OCTB), or Emergency Unit (EU), chances are that they've been featured. Hell, it's a wonder that there's hasn't been an epic drama about meter maids.

Anyway, over the past few years, there's also a good chance that the production came from Milkyway. So it should come as no surprise that their new release, Eye in the Sky, spotlights yet another facet of the HKPD. This time, it's the Surveillance Unit, or simply SU.

The film follows a new recruit named Piggy (Kate Tsui) as she joins her faction of the SU, which is led by the veteran Dog Head (Simon Yam). Their mission is to try and track down a criminal named Fathead (Lam Suet), who holds the connection to finding a group of brash robbers led by Hollowman (Tony Leung Ka-Fai). As the SU is a clandestine operation (even fellow officers don't know who they are), Piggy must try to keep her emotions in check and not blow the unit's cover, which grows more difficult as the robbers begin attacking cops.

Fans of Milkyway productions will feel right at home here, which is not really surprising, since first-time director Yau Nai-Hoi previously worked as a writer on over two dozen Milkyway films. It has all of the earmarks of the best Milkyway films; it looks stylish, the soundtrack is very evocative, and there is plenty of quirkiness to go around. But that is perhaps Eye in the Sky's biggest problem. It does everything compentently, but doesn't go anywhere that viewers (especially if they are well-versed in HK crime pictures) haven't been before.

That's not to say that Eye in the Sky is a bad film. Well, except perhaps for the ending. One of the problems of the new wave of crime movies (and this is something not localized to HK films) is that everything is a bit too clean and slick. Hidden cameras and DNA tests have replaced the gritty detective work which highlighted many of the classics of the genre. This sort of thing, of course, in omnipresent in a movie about a group of cops that depend on stealth and trickery, and it can be forgiven to a point.

But the ending is so full of ridiculous coincidences that it left a bad taste in this reviewer's mouth. I won't spoil anything, but in a city as densely populated as Hong Kong, the fact that one particular person could be found at a particular time right after a pouring rainstorm magically disappears is more of Lifetime movie of the week fodder, rather than a serious cops-and-robbers drama. It's a shame, because for most of its' running time, Eye in the Sky is solid stuff. One would hope that with his next film, Yau Nai-Hoi can learn from some of the mis-steps he took here.

[review from www.hkfilm.net]
Reviewer Score: 6