The Touch (2002)
Reviewed by: ewaffle on 2010-09-07
"The Touch" is full of excellent actors some of them miscast others with poorly written roles. Outrageously good cinematography (Michelle Yeoh looks positively glamorous) is unfortunately balanced by cheesy CGI created special effects during the finale which was twice as long than it needed to be. Attempts at humor were forced and not funny and the script was full of clichés, such as Eric's first entrance--during a storm with lights flashing as the power failed, he stepped through the wind blown curtains of a French door with a jacket thrown over his shoulders like a cape. He might as well have been Bela Lugosi as Dracula showing up at the castle.

Richard Roxburgh as the villain was unlikable and annoying. Even though Karl did evil acts, like killing an innocent security guard in order to impress the rest of his gang but never scaled the Satanic heights of true evil. Roxburgh can be an excellent bad guy: The Duke in "Moulin Rouge" was creepy, slippery and funny, clearly capable of grievously harming Satine without a second thought. Here he was a scoundrel just going through the motions. Ben Chaplin is an attractive, talented actor but not a leading man, least of all in an action movie. Dane Cook as Bob, the comic relief relative with whom Karl is saddled, has a couple of funny moments but most of his bits are labored, derivative and, worst of all, not funny.

Which this isn't. Elements of family drama, action, comedy and the supernatural jostle together in an unconvincing muddle. The script seems to have been cobbled together from a number of drafts with no unifying theme--it had nowhere to go. This was shown most convincingly be the last scene in which Yin and Eric spar over what to do with a map. The scene looks as if it would lead to a sequence setting up a sequel but trailed off into good natured bickering between the two stars.

The presence of Michelle Yeoh, either in screen filling beautifully lit close-ups or in high kicking form dealing mayhem to various bad guys is what saves "The Touch" or at least makes it possible to watch. She has no one to blame but herself for the fiasco that made it onscreen; she was credited as producer, co-executive producer, presenter and gets at least one writing credit. Peter Pau looked to have his hands full as director of photography leaving little time and energy to actually direct the movie, a problem that producer Yeoh should have seen coming.

Recommended only for fans of Michelle Yeoh although a handful of high quality screen captures of her close-ups would serve almost as well at the one hour and forty minutes it takes to watch the movie.
Reviewer Score: 4