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H (2008)
Beast Stalker

Reviewed by: mrblue
Date: 12/17/2009

One of the most critically-lauded releases to come out of Hong Kong in the past couple of years, and the recipient of two Hong Kong Film Awards, Dante Lam's Beast Stalker is indeed a good cop suspense/drama mixed with a bit of action. But looking upon the movie about a year after its' initial release, it appears that this film may have been a bit over-hyped by fans and critics hungry for quality Hong Kong pictures, which are unfortunately becoming an endangered species in this day and age.

Reviewer Score: 7

Reviewed by: Sydneyguy
Date: 07/20/2009
Summary: Was expecting more

I agree with dandan, I feel the actors have been miscast in this movie, Nicolas Tse looks more grown up but still looks too young,Nick Cheung as a bad guy from the former Stephen Chow clone is a little unbelieveable. ITs nothing against there acting, they just dont look the part

There are some thrills and intensity to this movie, it did keep me interested til the end of the movie but i thought, was that all? It left me with a empty feeling at the end

Reviewer Score: 6

Reviewed by: beyond asiaphilia
Date: 05/15/2009
Summary: the beast stalker vs. full alert

The Beast Stalker holds up pretty well and isn't an embarrassment, but it isn't quite all that. This gritty thriller demonstrates that the former Crown Colony can still crank out hard-ass crime dramas. But the field has been mighty thin in Hong Kong of late and in other, more fruitful years, The Beast Stalker might’ve been just one of the crowd.

Former teen heartthrob Nicolas Tse plays a tough cop (!) haunted by the death of a child hostage he accidentally kills in a chaotic shootout/car crash involving malevolent gangsters, innocent bystanders and much shattered glass. Nick Cheung plays a kidnapper-for-hire in charge of snatching the dead girl’s twin sister whose lawyer mother is involved in prosecuting the crime. Their meshing stories play out in a dizzying spiral of guilt, honor, fate and obligation.

The Beast Stalker has several full-on child-in-extreme-danger moments and the cast realistically sports facial scars and other mementos of mortal peril, but somehow the film falls short of greatness. Nic Tse, further distancing himself from his youthful idol years, shrieks angrily at his subordinates, but he still can’t nail the crying scenes. Likewise, Nick Cheung, who won Best Actor statues from both the Hong Kong Film Critics’ Association and the Hong Kong Film Awards for this role, glowers menacingly but doesn’t quite bring the extra layer of pathos and complexity that might have deepened his portrayal. As my pal Laura, aka redbean, aka longtime Hong Kong movie fanatic, noted, “Anthony Wong would’ve eaten this role alive.” Unfortunately Anthony wasn’t cast and in this case Nick Cheung only makes a so-so substitute.

I recently purchased a copy of Ringo Lam’s brilliant crime thriller Full Alert (1997), which bears some similarities to The Beast Stalker in its depiction of the complex relationship between a cop and a criminal. But Full Alert has the inestimable actors Lau Ching-Wan and Francis Ng in the lead roles and their sublime skills breathe life into their stock characters and make the film’s cat-and-mouse story vibrant and believable. Francis brilliantly creates a strangely sympathetic yet reprehensible character and Lau Ching-Wan’s finely tuned fits of anger and frustration show a cop dangerously on the edge of sanity. The final confrontation between these two driven characters beautifully brings their fraught relationship to a stunning conclusion. On the other hand, The Beast Stalker’s antagonistic pair never fully reach the heights suggested by their intertwined destinies and their anticipated showdown is merely a tease.

Full Alert and The Beast Stalker both have magnificent car chases as their centerpieces, the work of car-choreography specialist Bruce Law. The action direction in The Beast Stalker, however, unfortunately succumbs to the closeups and nausea-inducing jerky camerawork now in fashion, whereas Ringo Lam understood the need for distance and framing in an action sequence. Attesting to its greatness, Full Alert more than stands the test of repeated viewings, even more than a decade after its release. The Beast Stalker is a exciting, smartly-made movie but if, as several critics have suggested, this is one of the best of recent Hong Kong films, then the bar has been seriously lowered.

Reviewer Score: 7

Reviewed by: dandan
Date: 04/02/2009
Summary: ooh, that graffiti is by graphic airlines...

when a bust goes a little wrong, sergeant tong (nicholas tse) ends up killing a little girl during the pursuit which follows. the little girl just happens to be the daughter of a prosecuting attorney, ann gao (zhang jing-chu), who is later charged with trying to nail the crook, chuen (lao kong); the man tong was chasing. with the case against him looking strong, chuen gets his hung (nick cheung) to kidnap gao's other daughter. can tong save her, before gao has to sabotage her case against chuen?

after making a name for himself with the excellent 'beast cops', dante lam has struggled to re-create anything of a similar standard since. unfortunately, 'the beast stalker' is not a welcome return to form. a lot of the film just doesn't feel right - for a start, nicholas tse still retains his teen idol looks, which make it very difficult to take him seriously as a police sergeant (and his melodramatic antics don't help either), then there's a lot of hackney cliches, which add to the generally clunky narrative.

that's not to say that the film is complete junk, there's a couple of nicely executed sequences and a couple of good ideas amongst the bad ones, but not enough to drag the film up to a classification of 'average'. also, i wish zhang jing-chu would start choosing some better roles for herself; she has the potential to be very good, but is threatening to embrace mediocrity if she's not careful.

pretty poor...