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Thread: My Review - So Close

  1. My Review - So Close

    In recent years Hong Kong film industry fell into the slump. Long gone the days of glorious and exciting action epics of 80s and 90s, replaces by endless flood of comedies and horror films. In recent years Korea and Japan came into the front, with alot of excellent films, filed with style and energy, that old HK films had. Many of HK talent, moved to their Hollywood projects, but some are still working on both sides. One of these people is Cory Yuen. Most known in US for his choreography work for his Jet Li US films, like Romeo Must Die, The One and Kiss of the Dragon, and who recently had his US directorial debut with The Transporter. While working on that project, Yuen also was making another film on the side, big budgeted HK Action film, sponsored by Columbia Pictures.

    It was called So Close, and when its trailer premiered last winter, it made some people guess on choice of the title. What did that name actually had in common, with the story of 2 sisters, who use High tech surveliace computer system, created by their late parets, as the tool in their trade as paid assassins, and young and smart police detective on their tail. But the trailer looked very good. It showed that the film seems to have all the ingridients of the good action film just right: high pounding action scenes, lots of bloody gunfights, hot female leads, and some nice special fx. Once I saw the trailer, I was intrigued, especially since the narration was done in Eglish, thus pretty much stating that this film will eventually be released in US.

    Hong Kong release date was announced(September of 2002), and knowing HK film industry, you could expect vcd/dvd release in about 1-2 months after that. But its not the case here, simular to other Columbia big action projects(CTHD, Time & Tide), the distrubitor Edko, postponed the dvd release till early March, with vcd version to come out in February. After So Close hit HK theaters, the reviews started pouring in, majority of which negative. And after actually having watched the film, those reviews baffle me. I found the film to be very entertaining, and I havent had soo much fun with HK film in a long time.

    Now, Lets talk about the film:

    Cory Yeun knows his craft well and can stage and shoot action scenes very well. So Close starts with older sister Sue(played by Shi Qi, also appearing in The Transporter), trying to escape closely guarded high rise building, after finishing mission to kill high profile business man. After fighting her way out of penthouse, Sue must avoid multiple armed guards, and find her way out, while her sister guides her through while using their computer system. Whole sequence is very tense, and proffessionally staged. It gives this film a good start, and gives a cool introduction to one of the main characters. After that the story slows down a bit, and introduces viewers to the rest of the player, and explains some of the backstory. There is a love story between older sister Sue, and her old friend, she hasnt seen in a few years. This releationship adds some more drama to the later parts of the film, where things take a sad turn. While the story will not win any awards, its stays true to the action formula, and moves the film forward on the steady pace.

    The cast does very good job, especially in the action scenes and fights, considering that none of the actresses is not real martial artists. Shi Qui, Karen Mok and Zao Wei look great on screen, and director gives the viewers lots of eye candy, with showing these beautiful women, in various versions of undress during the film.

    But the main attraction here are action sequences, and what the fun ride they are, especially the final, that has some of great, very bloodygunfughts, and one one the best swordfighting battles I have ever seen, and I seen quite a few of them over the years.

    There are alot of visual fx in the film, and while some of them obviously look fake(multiple broken glass scenes), other ones are done very well(elevator jumping and some action scene enchancements).

    I recomend this film to all the fans of Action and HK cinema. It doesnt offer a groud breaking storyline or Oscar calibur acting, but it delivers good dose of great action, and fun to watch. I dont understand why most of the reviewers were soo harsh. Many people now days complain about that HK films are not what they used to be, but then bash film that does it right. I wish Transporter was as good as So Close, and had its energy and style.

  2. Hopefully we will see US release this year. Hopefully theatrical, like it was done with Time & Tide.

  3. Time and Tide had a theatrical release in the US? I'm pretty sure I saw the DVD last year. Overall it was pretty good, but some of it didn't make much sense.

  4. Yes, T&T was in limited theatrical release in few cities. I know it played around me, but I missed the chance to catch it on the big screen.

    US dvd of T&T is very good though(I have it), and I wish Miramax, biggest offender in this category would learn thing or 2 from Columbia on how to treat HK films.


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