Reviewed by: wyeeso
Summary: An out-of-focus crime drama
Reviewer Score: 3
I don't see how the film's title speaks for the story. It's true that the story has to do with stumer (a.k.a. counterfeit money) as a theme, but that theme quickly becomes dim as the focus of the story is moved onto somewhere else. The story begins with the righteous police officer Wong Nam (played by Kent Cheng) tracking down counterfeiter Fang Ming Da (played by Teddy Lin), but his participation in the investigation has been stopped and passed onto a young officer, Cheng Jun (played by Pang Hing-Wah), due to his unnoticeable anger problem (and I think it's much better if the police chief would use "under suspicion for taking bribery" as an excuse to take him off the case instead). Everything seems to be quite on track until Nam's out of the case, then the story doesn't have much to do with stumer anymore.
Nearly one forth of the time is used as flashbacks to introduce Nam's relationship with his deceased wife, Chen Man Jun (played by Cecilia Yip), and his earlier resentment against Fang Ming Da. Another forth of the time is used to illustrate Nam's negative relationships with his son, his sister-in-law, and Cheng Jun. And by "negative", I mean lots of yelling and screaming, and they hardly know much about each other. For example, Nam's sister-in-law Chen Man Yun (played by Amy Lui) hasn't been told that Fang Ming Da is the culprit responsible for her sister's death. Same for Nam, he hasn't been told that Cheng Jun is Chen Man Yun's boyfriend.
Then, another forth of the story is used to investigate Fang Ming Da, though the police haven't done much after Nam's out of the case. Since the police appear to be real slackers, Chen Man Yun the club owner takes their job and volunteers to take the risk of dating Fang Ming Da in order to get Nam retired soon. As Chen Man Yun starts dating and getting closer to Fang Ming Da, the audiences can't help to wonder what will happen to an undercover amateur like her if Fang Ming Da ever find out she's not really dating him for love? First of all, let me assure you that there're no (romantic) scenes between the two that can prove Fang Ming Da really loves her, I would rather use the word "interest" than "love" to describe their relationship. Furthermore, there's no need to worry about Chen Man Yun's safety cuz she's such a natural actress. Knowing Fang Ming Da killed Nam earlier, she still remains calm in order to finish her undercover task. She's also smart enough to get her boyfriend to help her without getting Fang Ming Da's attention. And until the end, I bet Fang Ming Da still has no idea she's undercover, unless someone decides to spoil it for him.
The ending do bring the audiences back to the "stumer" theme a bit with the counterfeiters killing each other and Fang Ming Da getting arrested (the end was obviously a rush to get a "good" ending since Fang was winning the fight against Cheng Jun, but then he goes down after a few punches in the face), but it just doesn't necessarily mean it's "the end of the stumer". It's not like they're the only counterfeiters in China or in the world, if you get what I mean.
Kent Cheng has the opportunity to play as a police officer, a father, a husband, a brother-in-law, and a role model in this film. I'll say he's a bit more outstanding playing as a husband due to the fact that he only expresses his stubbornness and rages in his other roles. At least as a husband, he has the chance to show his loving and semi-humorous side. Yet, although Kent appears to play as the main character, his character dies without serving much purpose in the story cuz he didn't get to do much other than having flashbacks. Perhaps, the purpose of his character's existence is to send out the "no individual heroism and public safety first" message before his death.
Same for Cecilia Yip, her character only exists in flashbacks, making her seems less interesting, especially with her worried face on nearly all the time throughout the movie.
As for Teddy Lin, he's done a fine job for looking like a bad guy, but I must say his character is a bit unpredictable. His character doesn't seem like a cold-blooded killer since he let this ignorant kid go after a club fight earlier in the story, but in the second half of the film, he makes a 180-degree change by shooting at various people, and not to mention that he suddenly decide to use his time to do some kidnapping, threatening, intimating, and killing when he could have just fled away from being arrested.
[The Production Crew:]
I'm not surprise the production crew from Mainland China always (or most of the time) use random images for the front cover to deceive their audiences. The one in the database here is actually not that bad, although it's not as intensive or thrilling as you think it should be. But I've seen another version for the front cover somewhere, which shows Cecilia Yip wearing a police uniform and pointing a gun forward. Now that's really deceiving!
Also, I find an error for one of the props in this film. For the police van that's doing the roadblock, the label on the van is shown in Traditional Chinese instead of Simplified Chinese, which is impossible given that they're in Mainland China!
This film is so average that I don't have any good scene/line to share.
[Worth Watching A Second Time?]
It's not completely worthless to watch for the first time, but it's definitely not worth to watch a second time.
Reviewed by: mrblue
Okay, to start off with, apparently "stumer" is British slang for a counterfeiter. Yeah, I never heard it used, either. And this movie is nowhere near as violent or salacious as the cover art -- which features women under obvious distress, as well as a child being "warmed up" by a welding torch -- would lead you to believe.
Reviewer Score: 5
At the end of the day, The End of the Stumer is your garden-variety cheap shot in the Mainland and sent straight to DVD police procedural action/drama. I guess we might at least be grateful that it was actually shot and edited via actual film stock, rather than some janky-ass digital video crud.
Kent Cheng is really the only real "star" present here with any sort of meat to their role -- and it looks and feels like he did this movie to pay off his dim sum tab at the local eatery. Anyway, he plays a cop named Nam, who is pursuing the titular stumer, a smarmy Taiwanese chap called Fang (Lin Wai-Kin) that offed Nam's wife (Cecilia Yip) during a botched robbery attempt.
Nam's superior (Woo Kung-Yue) thinks that he is too close to the case, and so makes him take a little vacation. Sitting at home and being hen-pecked by his sister-in-law, Yun (Lui Kit), and ignored by his child (Wan King-Lam) doesn't sit too well with Nam, so he decides to help out the detective working on the case, Cheng (Pang Hing-Wah).
Nam and Cheng look to be close to cracking the case until Fang uses his relationship with Yun to set up a trap, which threatens to take away the last few threads of a family Nam has.
For most of its' running time, The End of the Stumer revolves somewhere being just merely passable. In many instances, it even veers into the "total mind-numbing crap" territory, with a lot of throwaway scenes that manage to be quite boring, even though they are obviously "inspired" by the better efforts in the genre like A Better Tomorrow and Lethal Weapon.
However, Kent Cheng puts in a very good performance -- it's really a hell of a lot better than one might expect from this type of movie and/or role, which gives the viewer a solid buffer to stave away a lot of the chum floating about here.
And, like the cheapie low-budget pics from the 80's that so many HK film fans hold dear, the action quotient of the proceedings is noticeably ratcheted up during the final reel. It's not enough to elevate this movie anywhere above the realm of the squarely average, but as the DVD ejected from my player, this reviewer didn't feel like The End of the Stumer was a total waste of their time.
[review from www.hkfilm.net]