Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Invisible Target

Man, what a kickass flick! I realize that isn't a terribly scholarly pronouncement, but this ain't that kind of film. This is balls out action, everything's on the table: Urban crime thrills, martial arts, parkour, shit blowing up, gang fights, a seemingly unlimited supply of plate glass to fling people through, and of course guns, lots of guns. Shame about the crap title (how can a target be invisible? And what does that have to do with the price of rice?).

Boiled down to its essence, it's a cops and robbers picture. An elite criminal gang blows up an armored van, inadvertently killing the fiance of police detective Chan Chun (Nicholas Tse). Six months later, the tragedy has turned him into something of a rogue I-just-don't-care-anymore cop. When he isn't moping around the apartment, he's blowing a stake-out by chasing after the perp through the streets of Hong Kong in a dizzying free-running sequence. Then there's Carson Fong (Shawn Yue). He's another detective, more of a slick dick, but just as explosive and high-kicking. Rounding out the inevitable trio is straight-laced rookie Wai King Ho (Jaycee "Son of Jackie" Chan). On the other end of the equation is that group of baddies I mentioned earlier, led by Tien Yeng Seng (Jacky Wu, one of the toughest movie mofos I've seen in quite some time).

This film had me involuntarily laughing and whooping, delighted as an eight-year-old completely lost in the fun. If you've got a drop of testosterone in you, you'll likely do the same. Invisible Target (2007) is the perfect synthesis of Hollywood and Hong Kong action, with a little Parisian flair thrown in. The fight sequences are breathtaking -- fast and tight, they raise the bar considerably on what you usually get in this kind of film, even employing a touch of wire fu. Like I say, everything's on the table and director Benny Chan is on his game.

"That's all very well and good, Pat," I hear you saying, "but what's so shocking?" Well frankly, considering the bad title and generic box art, I wasn't expecting much. What's shocking is how damn good it is! Jackie Chan's kid acquits himself admirably; Nicholas Tse shows what a shape-shifter of an actor he is (in comparison to the character he played in The Beast Stalker); Shawn Yue and Jacky Wu are just plain awesome. While I'm not big on the historical epics coming out of Hong Kong of late, these crime flicks are just getting better and better. Of course I miss the more quirky, crazy, fried vibe of HK films of the 80s and 90s. Luckily there's a ton of those on disk when I need them; this new stuff, while more streamlined and Hollywood-influenced, well, I'm still liking what I'm seeing. Keep 'em coming, Benny Chan!


Matthew Gist said...

I will have to check this one out. Great blog, by the way. I've been reading it for the past couple of months and I just wish there were more like it.

Patrick Galloway said...

Thank you, sir! Consider yourself linked back.

Kitsuno said...

Immediately went to the top of the Netflix queue.