Hey folks, Valkor here. CES 2011 has sucked me dry and then some. I know I've been out of it for like a week or so, but I really wasn't in the writing mood. However after some much needed rest, relaxation, and a heavy dose of Snapple, my faculties are in order and I can once again start churning out reviews, kicking things off in MediaView, journey with me as I take a look at Hong Kong action flick "City Under Siege".
In City Under Siege, Aaron Kwok plays Sunny, a clown in a Chinese circus who only wants to follow in his father's footsteps and be the master of the Flying Dagger. Though he has the tenacity to own the skill, no one has faith in his abilities. One night he stumbles upon his troop whom are talking about some guys finding this old Japanese mine that may contain gold. The troop ambush the guys and enter the mine with Sunny in the lead. When they reach the main area, there are canisters about, which Sunny is forced to open one. Lo and behold, inside there's gold. The greedy troop decide they don't need Sunny… anymore, so he's taken away to be killed while the rest go through the remainder of the canisters. Upon opening one, a bluish gas is unleashed affecting everyone within the cave, including Sunny. He's able to escape his captor (who dies in the process), and retreats on a boat that happens to be heading to Hong Kong. He's later discovered as a stowaway on the boat and tossed into sea. When Sunny emerges from the waters… he's put on a lot of weight. And as he stumbles along the streets, he has a chance meeting with Angel (Shu Qi), a TV news reporter, who helps him by giving him a ride to his Uncle's place (after he helps to fix her car). Once there he rests, only to awaken thin again… and with super abilities such as super strength and sight.
But what of the others who were affected? The circus troop, lead by Zhang (Colin Chou), also end up in Hong Kong and upon discovering their new found skills, they reign havoc on the city. However the price of their abilities comes with a heavy cost as they're constantly mutating, with no cure in sight. But for some strange reason, Sunny doesn't change and the troop wants to know out why.
With Zhang's team doin damage around Hong Kong, Sunny must step up to the plate to put an end to their reign of terror. And he's not alone. Angel does her part by using her rep as a TV personality, keeping Sunny in the spotlight, showing the people of Hong Kong that Sunny is a force of good. Also police officers Sun Hao (Jacky Wu) and his wife Hua (Zhang Jingchu) act as back up, but their main goal is to put a stop to the mutants at all cost.
But in the end it'll be Sunny vs. Zhang; do I really need to tell you how it'll end? Let's dig in to this review.
City Under Siege, even with all the bad I'm gonna spew about this film, is still fun and entertaining to sit through. The action is pretty decent and the story, while a bit of a mess, still holds your attention. It's like a superhero origin story, where this could be the start of Sunny's adventures. Aaron Kwok comes across as a chinese Clark Kent (there's even a scene where he kinda looks like Clark) - just a clumsy mess of a guy with a pitiful face, you can't help but feel sorry for. He makes you want to root for Sunny and hopefully come out on top. But the saving grace of this film is the action. Jacky Wu has the skillz as well as Zhang JingChu, who pull off some crazy stunts. I really enjoyed the actors when they were on screen, especially when they're battling the mutants. Shu Qi doesn't kick any ass like she did in So Close, but does what she does best and that's look mighty fine. Other than that, we move on to…
First off, the film suffers from what I feel a lot of HK films suffer from and that's poor pacing! Some scenes drag on longer than they should, but overall I think the film could have been chopped by at least 15 – 20 minutes easy. The special effects are nothing to cry home about, though there's some CGI, the film is made up of mostly make up effects and wire-fu. And as I mentioned in "The Good" section, the plot is a mess; who's the focus? Is it Sunny? Is it Sun Hao? Is it Angel? The focus is sloppy and everywhere! And the love triangle between Sunny, Angel, and Zhang could have been scrapped entirely. Sure Angel could have been the damsel in distress, but she didn't need to be a serious love interest.
Zhang in his final stages of his evolution – gag!!
Overall City Under Siege, while not the greatest HK film I've laid eyes, it still worth checking out. It's entertaining, loaded with action, and it has Shu Qi lookin all kinds of good, I'm gonna meet this film halfway and give it 2.5 out of 5 stars. Not bad, could be better, but wasn't a total waste of time.