You are currently displaying Big5
B (1999)
Purple Storm

Reviewed by: evirei
Date: 11/14/2011

A decent action movie to spend time watching over weekends. The characters in the movie are make believeable. This movie was the first action movie that Daniel Wu has taken up and it's totally good. And I personally find the connections of the character in the movie so unique in a way.

The action sequence was fast and interesting however the editing for the movie was poorly done. It seems some parts of the most interesting/informative movie was cut out. I would say it is one of the best action movie during it's times

Reviewer Score: 7

Reviewed by: dandan
Date: 03/15/2008
Summary: caterpillar and butterfly...

after his mission goes wrong, khmer terrorist todd (daniel wu) is taken into custody by the hong kong police. after he is diagnosed with amnesia, superintendent ma li (emil chow) calls in a memory specialist, shirley kwan (joan chen), and they begin to convince todd that he is actually an undercover cop, whilst they try and figure out what the khmer rouge are doing in hong kong. when soong (kam kwok-leung), the leader of the terrorist group and todd's father, steals him away from the police, todd finds himself questioning what is truth, what is lies and what is the right thing for him to do...

this is a pretty big budget affair, with hollywood-esque aspirations. some of it works, some of it doesn't, but the butterfly imagery which permeates the film is quite apt. caterpillar-wise, the idea and execution of the mental turmoil that daniel wu's character goes through is an interesting starting premise for the film and provides the most interesting narrative thread, especially upon his return to the khmer camp. unfortunately, the terrorist plot is the butterfly; just a gaudy coloured moth, a bit flimsy and a little disappointing. sure, there's some reasonably executed action, but the evil terrorist plot is a little lame, in concept and execution. alongside wu, josie ho, as his khmer wife, does a good job, whilst joan chen and emil chow make a good partnership.

overall, it is an entertaining film that is very watchable, even if there is some silliness which lets it down a little.

Reviewed by: MrBooth
Date: 01/07/2006

PURPLE STORM is a very slick, high-budget action film but it does not forget to develop the characters and the plot, which is implausible but handled in a fairly intelligent manner. There are some good performances (especially Daniel Wu and Josie Ho), action scenes with a lot of energy and adrenaline, and nice visuals throughout - let down by some bad CGI at the end.

A gripping and exciting thriller, I enjoyed it a lot.

Reviewer Score: 8

Reviewed by: mrblue
Date: 10/26/2005

A Khmer Rouge terrorist known as Soong (Kam) is planning to unleash a "purple storm" in the form of a deadly chemical that he hopes will wipe out the world. While bringing the chemicals into Hong Kong, Soong's son Todd (Wu) is knocked unconscious and loses his memory. After Todd is captured by the cops (led by Emil Chow), a psychologist (Chen) suggests that they implant fake memories into Todd to change him from a terrorist to an undercover cop. Chow reluctantly agrees, and the experiment seems to work until some of Todd's memories come back and he must decide which life he wants to lead.

Purple Storm is one of the more successful recent big-budget Hollywood-style HK action movies, mostly because it has a solid script. No one's going to mistake this film for something like A Better Tomorrow, but it's far above empty films like A Man Called Hero. The plot is at least somewhat original and allows for some nice character development over the course of the movie.

Performance-wise, the actors do well in the movie. Veterans such as Joan Chen and Emil Chow provide a nice base for some of the younger actors, such as Josie Ho, who lights up the screen as Todd's wife and Soong's number one assassin. However, the actor who stands out the most is Daniel Wu. After a lukewarm performance in Gen-X Cops (where it seems he was selected for his English-language skills rather than acting ability), he delivers a very solid performance that impressed me. Wu shows the germinations of a good acting career ahead, if he can use some discretion in picking out scripts.

Featuring a good cast, well-written script and some tight action sequences, Purple Storm has all the makings of a good night's (or at least a hour and a half's) entertainment.

[review from]

Reviewed by: Arshadnm6
Date: 04/22/2005
Summary: Daniel Wu does the acting of his life time to bring us another stylish action flick!!!

Teddy Chan (director of the action-packed ‘Downtown Torpedo’s’) directs yet another action-packed Hollywood-style wannabe with few well-known cast but surprising turns out to exceed itself in terms of entertainment and storyline.

The basic plot is as follows: Todd (Daniel Wu, from roles in other movies such as ‘Gen-X-Cops’ and ‘2000AD’) is a Khmer Rouge terrorist working for a sadistic evil rebel ‘Soong’ (played by ‘Kam Kwok-Leung’). Soong’s plan is to wipe out the whole of South-East Asia with a highly volatile gaseous substance named ‘Purple Storm’. When the Purple Storm is dissolved into the rain it will liquefy people into a bloody red-purplish mess acting as a nerve gas.

During a raid on a military ship, Soong’s Plan to capture the ‘Purple Storm’ goes awry which results in Todd having an accident, hitting his head against a large container (like that was original!!). Anyway surprisingly enough, Todd loses his memory of all his childhood and knowledge of terrorist activities and is promptly captured and impounded by HK’s Elite anti-terrorist unit. The anti-terrorist unit is lead by the zealous and sometimes over-confident ‘Emil Chow’ (from other recognizable roles in ‘Alls Well, Ends Well 97’ and ‘Gorgeous’). Unfortunately the anti-terrorists only hope of finding the ‘Purple Storm’ is by inhumanly brainwashing ‘Todd’ and making him believe that he was an undercover agent all along, whom had infiltrated a notorious gang of terrorists lead by ‘Soong’. Unfortunately something had gone wrong and when they had made contact with ‘Todd’ it was too late. Therefore, innocently ‘Todd’ begins to believe that he is in fact a member of the anti-terrorist unit and tries to help with the case. Meanwhile ‘Joan Chen’ (from other roles in US films like ‘The Hunted’ and ‘Judge Dredd’) makes an appearance as a Psychiatrist whom is trying to help Todd remember some of his memories, mostly to do with the case in hand, but also takes it upon herself to make him a righteous and noble person so that he may turn away from his terrorist-ways. Typically Todd begins to personify a child-like behaviour trying to distinguish between right and wrong and create a new free life were he can be in control. Unfortunately as Soong would have it, he intends to recapture Todd, unaware that he is suffering from amnesia, and activate the ‘Purple Storm’ project.

In contrast to its predecessors, namely ‘Downtown Torpedo’s’ and ‘Gen-X-Cops’, Purple Storm relies on a rigid storyline structure with more emphasis on emotional matters and the correlations between serving justice and serving beliefs and far less on pop-star good looks and the vulgar attitude that is displayed in it’s predecessors. Emil Chow and Josie Ho do great justice to the personification of Todd’s character and his beliefs and the storyline thickens when he has to choose between them. Daniel Wu carries the film very well and is the main star in this extravaganza, with the participation of ‘Stephen Tung Wai’ in the action-choreography the action sequences are classy and unique. There is the usual aura of character development and background description, with the obvious flashbacks playing in, but seems somewhat sporadic since the genre of the film is action mainly. Regardless this movie is a place above the rest of the films that embrace this new Hollywood style action choreography and certainly should not be regarded in any form trashy or pointless.

Overall Rating: 7.8/10

Reviewed by: Libretio
Date: 06/12/2004
Summary: Top-flight action, heartfelt drama


Aspect ratio: 1.85:1
Sound format: Dolby Digital

Though produced with an international (ie. American) market in mind, Teddy Chen Tak-sum's moody action-thriller PURPLE STORM retains enough of its Chinese identity to distinguish the film from its run-of-the-mill US counterparts. Daniel Wu Yin-cho (BISHONEN, ENTER THE PHOENIX) plays a young Cambodian terrorist who loses his memory during a shoot-out in Hong Kong with an elite anti-terrorist unit (run by Emil Chow Wah-kin). Reprogrammed by his captors to believe that he's an undercover cop, he's subsequently recaptured by his Khmer Rouge associates - commanded by his father (Kam Kwok-leung, handicapped by unconvincing 'old age' makeup) - only to discover they're plotting to detonate a bio-chemical device that will kill millions of innocent people. As Wu's fragile memory begins to return, he's suddenly torn between his father's destructive ideals and the lure of moral redemption...

Critical praise for the movie's combination of top-flight action and heartfelt drama isn't really borne out by the film itself. Wu - a terrific young actor - invests his divided character with genuine pathos, but the 'amnesia' plot device casts him adrift from everyone else in the picture, including his wife (Josie Ho Chiu-yee, playing against type), who retreats into blind obedience to the 'cause' after Wu rejects her sexual advances. As a consequence, the entire film rings a little hollow, lacking the kind of emotional conviction which has always been a distinguishing feature of HK popular cinema.

In most other respects, however, the movie is an impressive achievement, due in no small measure to its ambitious script (by Hui Yuet-jan, Yip Wai-chung and Aubrey Lam Oi-wa) and spectacular production values. Director Chen composes the narrative with remarkable attention to detail (note the unusual butterfly symbolism, for instance), though never at the expense of action set-pieces, all of which are filmed with breathtaking gusto. Arthur Wong Ngok-tai's location photography recreates HK as a gleaming, hi-tech metropolis, framing every shot for maximum visual impact, and Stephen Tung Wai's dynamic action choreography is transformed by editor Kwong Chi-leung into a veritable cinematic whirlwind. Incredibly, despite the film's strong showing in various technical categories at the Hong Kong Film Awards in 1999, most of the actors went unrecognized, except for Ho, shortlisted for her low-key performance. Wu - whose extraordinary portrayal of a tortured victim of circumstances constitutes the heart and soul of the entire movie - went home with nothing, not even a nomination.

Reviewer Score: 6

Reviewed by: balstino
Date: 05/27/2003
Summary: Good in places but pants overall

Purple Storm has tidy action sequences (full on and realistic), but the crappy special effects towards the end where very off putting. It has a fairly good story, above par acting and high production values. However, this is a serious film that tries to rival hollywood stuff and it just doesn't really! Because there is no humour, it has got a leg to stand on. Oh well, I suppose it's still worth a watch.

Reviewed by: Buckeyez
Date: 01/23/2003
Summary: Adrenaline Filled

Good solid action, pure enjoyment all the way through. Daniel Wu did superbly in the leading role as the amnesiatic terrorist/agent.

Reviewed by: edgecrusher01
Date: 11/16/2002
Summary: Great film, a new direction. daniel wu is great

A caught this a couple of weeks ago on the terrific new CNX channel, i was suprised that they would air a decent film as i thought that this new channel would show poor martial arts films but i was greatly surprised. Purple storm is a very good film, people say it fails as an action film, it does not need to be an action film to be good. HK isnt all action. This film was a teriffic mix of action and drama, and good character development.

The plot is strong the film opens up with a good action scene (why people say the action is bad i dont know. To start of the film, it begins with daniel wu as a terrorist then it moves on to him losing his memory and the film developes into a tense drama and strong action segments from then on. the story is more compelling than most HK films i have seen for a while.

to mention the acting as being good is an underestimation, the presence of daniel wu is a gift, i had never heard of him before this film and i know have the upmost respect for him. Josie Ho has a great part in this film also.
the casting is terrfic and this is reccomend to anyone that wants to see a new wave of Hk films

Overall purple storm is a new direction for Hk films, it mixes drama and action together and no wonder this film won 10 awards. it has everything, great acting, great directing, great action in its sections. deffinately worth a watch, even if it does not appeal to you catch it for daniel wu. he is promising watch him for the next few years, he will do well.

N.B there is quite strong violence for a 15 certificate.

Reviewed by: Sydneyguy
Date: 03/08/2002
Summary: Pretty good

The plot is very interesting, using a bad guy who has amensia and use him to go against his allies.

I found that this was a typical action movie. It's style has the makings of a American movie. But for some reason, i didn't get too much out of this movie. It was good, but not great, maybe my expectations were too high.


Reviewed by: Trigger
Date: 05/31/2001
Summary: Slick Action Thriller

I really liked this film. It's true that it did seem to drag a bit at times, but it could've been my mood. I truly thought it was a decent film with little hints of brilliance here and there all throughout the film. I'm not going to explain what it's about because others have done so, but I will say that the acting is very good (for the most part), and the script is fairly tight with a few frayed ends here and there, and the cinematography reminds me of Sam Raimi (which is a good thing). The pacing was good and the story had some great elements to it. There was alot of suspense built up as well. It was often difficult to figure out who to root for. This is one of those movies that Hollywood will steal all the ideas from, re-package, throw a bunch of money at, and make a fortune off of. I mean - it's nothing terribly new really, but Hollywood has a way of stealing entire films without getting caught.

The Universe DVD that I watched it on is awesome. They actually subtitled the making-of featurette again which I've noticed they've been doing lately. For the film, they provide a good 5.1 surround sound mix and the image was pretty decent - although not perfect nor as good as a few other DVDs for films released in the same country in the same year. I understand that the HKL DVD has a commentary that's interesting as well - since I haven't seen it, I couldn't say. So you Region 2 people should feel lucky. All is not lost though since the Universe DVD is more than adequate. I'm quite happy with it. It included a few trailers for this film as well as 3 others (including the Gen-X Cops trailer where they warn against piracy) and all are subtitled. Good job Universe.

Seen on: Universe DVD

Ratings: Movie - 7.3/10

DVD Presentation - 7.9/10

Reviewer Score: 7

Reviewed by: magic-8
Date: 09/07/2000
Summary: A Sign of Things To Come?

As the new milleniumun unfolds, I'd like to think that "Purple Storm" is an example of the direction that Hong Kong cinema is taking. Although Jackie Chan has taken leave of HK for Hollywood, he is still producing movies, moving from Golden Harvest to Media Asia and a new contract and greater behind the scenes control. This is one of his productions. He provides the budget and production values; and it shows.

From the very beginning of "Purple Storm," the pace is fast, straightforward and direct, where all of the development is actually through the characters. The script by Hui, Yip and Lam is tight and clever, where ex-Khmer Rouge agents are now terrorists up to no good. This should have been the breakout role for Daniel Wu, that is, until he stepped on a mine in "Gen-X Cops." Wu plays a terrorist who loses his memory when he becomes injured in one of the terrorists' raids. He is confused and morally challenged as he is fed information from Emil Chow (anti-terrorist agent) that he was actually an undercover agent working for the government. All of the information Wu is given is a ruse to confound the amnesiac. "Purple Storm" is a chemical weapon comprised of ricin-x toxin, which the Khmer terrorists plan to unleash. The good guys want to use Wu to lead them to the rest of the evil group. The viewer is taken along for the ride as Wu must reconcile his past and his current states of mind.

Teddy Chan does a very sturdy job with the direction, using the reliable Tung Wai to set up the action sequences. The action scenes help to propel the film through to its climax. The beginning of the film, with the ship being raided during a storm, was a prime example of how the action helps to set up the film's pacing while adding excitement at the same time. Joan Chen is on hand to play the shrink that helps Wu with his recovery and government brainwashing.

Without giving away too much of the plot, suffice to say that Wu is the standout in this film. Emil Chow plays both the good cop and bad cop roles, while trying to mentally handle Wu.

Overall, the movie is a solid piece of work that put my faith back into Hong Kong cinema, especially the cinematography. It was good to see that attention was paid to lighting, camera and lens work, and of course, composition, which has been lacking in many of the recent HK films.

Reviewed by: trenty
Date: 08/12/2000
Summary: Genre failed but with good story.

"Purple Storm" supposed to be an action movie but it failed to convince audience with many downsides throughout the movie.

There were too much dramas and some unnecessary action scenes throughout this movie to prove a non-action one. Also, the scriptwriter did added many nonsense/unappropriate moments during the film. For example, the scenes of Daniel being memory lost and trying to get his memory recovered. Those parts were very long and boring enough to put viewers to sleep. Yet, the scriptwriter should put those fancy senses to help Daniel recovers his memories in the movie. However, for viewers, it's a pain to sit through and watch him trying to find his losts. Other than that, the movie could have been more enjoyable.

As to the performances, Daniel had his good acting in this movie after seeing him in "City of glass". This movie gave Daniel an action mode to prove that he had the potential to be a good actor. I personally did like the acting by Gam Gwok Leung as a terrorist. His role in the movie was well done by him. Other main casts were well acted too but their roles in the movie were too boring/serious sometimes to make them acted only their average standard.

Overall, the movie supposed to be an enjoyble one but due to the downfalls, this movie ain't as worthy as it should be. I personally did found the story in this movie was well written, however, depends on your perspective, you may disagree with me.

Reviewed by: MilesC
Date: 04/24/2000
Summary: A waste of money.

This film is disappointing in more ways than I care to list, so let me stick to the basics. As an action movie, Purple Storm utterly fails. While there's a reasonable amount of mayhem, Teddy Chan's handling of the action scenes is borderline inept; medium shot of someone firing a gun, cut to medium shot of someone being shot or dodging bullets. Repeat ad nauseum. Though the action scenes are reasonably lengthy, they're far less exciting than the brief glimpses of action seen in many lower-budget films.

The action scenes might, however, have been a bit more engaging if the plot or characters had created any real tension. Unfortunately, the plot is handled so poorly that it's hard to tell why the even used the "terrorists with a superweapon" plot. The characters are thin, and the writers seemed to include character development out of obligation rather than to boost the storyline.

The special effects are mystifying. The first CGI explosion is beautiful; the next is embarrassing, and the rest are merely okay. If they could get it right once, why did they stop?

As much as I might complain, I didn't find Purple Storm an entirely miserable experience. Josie Ho's role is very cool, and there are some interesting ideas buried in the screenplay. I was rarely bored, and never too annoyed. That's the best praise I can give, though; for all the money that was poured into it, Purple Storm is inferior in every way to dozens of less extravagent films. Thankfully, it made somewhat less money than might have been expected; if these poor imitations of (awful in their own right) American films cease to be profitable, perhaps the major HK studios will stop flushing money down the toilet.

Reviewed by: Dai Lo
Date: 04/13/2000

A worthy follow up to 'gen-x cops'. Media Asia and Jackie Chan put out another slick action production. American born model turned actor Daniel Wu is Todd son to Khmer terrorist Soong. He loses his memory and is re-programmed by an anti-terrorist group led by canto-singer Emil Chow as Ma Li with the assistence of actor/director Joan Chen. This movie pulls everything together the cinematography, action sequences, and musical score are on par with any current american action movie, it has the same feel as 'the Rock'. Theresa Lee's bit part was thuroughly enjoyable. The ending though i thought tanked a bit but still satisfying. recommended viewing.
(by man-kin chan)

Reviewed by: zeni
Date: 04/12/2000
Summary: Josie Ho revelation ?

The Anti Terrorist Forces (ATF) leaded by superintendant Mi La have to face with a huge terrorist menace. A former Khmer Rouge named Soong ( who reminds me Wisley Snipes from Demolition Man!) who has turned into a illuminated terrorist, wants the Khmer revolution to become a reality. Helped by several Khmer Rouge fighters, he's about to spread a dangerous organic virus in the Hong Kong area. During an operation, one of his men, Todd, is wounded and captured by the ATF. Totally amnesiac, Mi La decides to build him a new, false identity and turns him into an undercover agent in order to infiltrate the terrorist group. Mi La expects Todd to help him to elude terrorist's plans.
We all know that HK cinema is in a quite bad period for several years. More and more ambitious movies (Stormriders, Hero, …) are released and are trying to take up with success. But a movie is not only action and special effects. A good script is needed.
For Purple Storm, Teddy Chan used old (but good) recipes from "realistic police" movies (just take a look at the numerous movies about SDU!) with very satisfying action scenes but the main point of interest of this movie is not action. He concentrates on the inner distress of Todd who is torn apart with his two identities and his current desire for a peaceful life. This is the most interesting and successful aspect of the movie.
I think the second point of interest of the movie is in telling about a major event of Asia's history, the Khmer Rouge revolution. This event has not been referred before in such a way (may be I'm wrong?) in HK movies even if some of them used events such as the Vietnam War (Bullet in the head). May it's interesting to notice that Khmer Rouge Revolution appears in a movie only after HK retrocession. To be honest, Purple Storm is not a political movie but remains a very good police and action movie far more intelligent than most American action movies of the same kind. Finally, the presence of Josie Ho is worth watching this movie even if she doesn't speak a lot!