Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Invisible Target

As clearly evidenced by the cover photo of this new DVD, Invisible Target is an action movie starring a pouty young group of Hong Kong actors who get by more on their looks than their dramatic or action skills. Happily, they’re in the hands of a director who has shown considerable talent with this concept in the past, most notably Gen-X Cops and its inferior sequel, Gen-Y Cops. Director Benny Chan is also coming off fairly strong recent showings with the Jackie Chan vehicles New Police Story and Robin-b-Hood where he honed his high-gloss approach to action, utilizing superior production design and camerawork to deliver product approaching Hollywood studio quality. Although the character relationships and motivations in his new film are a bit muddled, there’s no denying that Invisible Target is delightful escapism and a great reminder of just how much fun Hong Kong action movies can be.

Chan’s star is heartthrob Nicholas Tse, a longtime collaborator dating back to Gen-X Cops (1999) but still a young gun under 30. Although his performance here doesn’t surpass his great turn in Chan’s New Police Story, he gets the glowering, disaffected hero part nailed down and comes off something like a young Johnny Depp. He’s ably abetted by fellow pretty boy Shawn Yue as his partner in crime prevention as they team up to bring down a gang of seven dangerous crooks. Also along for the ride is Jackie Chan’s son, Jaycee Chan, exhibiting no charisma or cool as a dutiful patrolman. They each get their turn to perform some perilous and impressive stuntwork, with Tse and Chan making the best use of their action screen time although never approaching the level of modern masters such as Tony Jaa or past kings like Jackie Chan and Jet Li.

As Hong Kong actioners go, this one is high on production quality but low on coherent story, even for its genre. Your best bet is to turn off your brain completely and just enjoy the numerous action scenes. There’s no doubt how this game of cops and robbers will turn out, but plenty of enjoyment to be had along the way. It’s another strong showing for Benny Chan and a must-see for fans of mindless Hong Kong action fare.

The DVD is a surprisingly expansive 2 disc release that contains deleted/extended scenes and numerous features on the film’s production as well as its stars.

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At 2:59 PM, Blogger grace said...

also, nicholas tse has a shirtless scene. woohoo! :P


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