Friday, November 28, 2008

So Close

With this movie, director Corey Yuen (The Transporter) just confirms that he's able to give us mindless movies as well as fairly good ones. Because this movie involves a decent scriptwriting, So Close is not just a mere action movie that you watch and forget; it's Asia's smart response to Hollywood's Charlie's Angels. All in all, So Close has a focus in the script (minus the humour) and a good performance by the cast. Besides, it's definitely a movie that should please to men with its three beautiful stars and also to women especially for the action scenes.

Lynn (Shu Qi) and Sue (Zhao Wei) are two sisters who inherited of a worldwide computer surveillance system. Because of that, they're the best killers for hire in Hong Kong. However, after having killed a shareholder from an investment company that would make Norbourg look like a bedtime tale, a client wants to eliminate them. Besides, add to that Hung (Karen Mok), a cop who is on their tail while investigating two murders related to the investing company in question.

With its attempt to look serious, So Close's script takes quite a lot of time to be clear cut. In fact, the movie's script strangely evolves, at the beginning, like a TV series' episode with its sub-plots converging toward a central point. Hopefully, once this is done halfway through, we're left with an exciting and fairly good story that takes avenues that are associated with thrillers. I don't want to reveal any more, but if you liked John Woo's The Killer, the plot twist - which is So Close cornerstone - at the end will amaze you.

Although Corey Yuen has never been really known to make serious movies, this time, I was surprised to see his clear attempt to show a back story for the three main characters, which shows a little bit of maturity in his style. However, this creates the movie's weakness as Yuen brings us back into the past of Lynn and Sue. Indeed, although we know what brought them to become killers, the script doesn't mention how they got trained. In the end, going into such a detail wasn't worth it, because you'd have to justify any detail. This means that we could've had a story that just doesn't mention how Lynn and Sue became killers.

Hopefully, let's say that Shu Qi (Millennium Mambo), Zhao Wei (Shaolin Soccer) and Karen Mok (Black Mask) manage to show their thespian ability. However, of all these actresses, it's Zhao Wei who delivers the most interesting performance because its looks so natural. If Shu Qi can be seen like a femme fatale with ass-kicking techniques, Mok, on the other hand, brings a little touch of masculine roughness with her tomboyish character.

Finally, the movie does make you forget any blockbuster films that dismayed you in the past. Its spectacular fights and its slow-motion gunfight scenes always eject us from our seat. As a matter of fact, choreographing fight scenes just like Yuen did is a hell of an exploit given that Shu, Zhao and Mok are not the martial artists they seem to be on the screen! Moreover, this movie is a proof that once in a while, blockbuster movies can be taken a little bit seriously.

Rating: 3.5/5

So Close
Hong Kong (2002)
Length: 111 minutes
Genre: Thriller
Screenplay: Jeffrey Lau
Director: Corey Yuen
Starring: Shu Qi, Zhao Wei, Karen Mok, Michael Wai and Wan Siu-Lun

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