Cold War (2012)

Prior to this past week or two of movie watching, I’d have to say that Resident Evil: Retribution was almost the best one I saw in 2012 (guilty pleasure and fun).  I still have a lot to catch up and right now, I’m saying that 2012 movies kicked some serious ass.  It was the year of amazing animated films and then we had the record-breaking The Avengers, then yesterday I reviewed The Bullet Vanishes and says that its been a while I’ve seen something so awesome in the Hong Kong industry.  Hong Kong entertainment has successfully regained my hope in it.  Cold War was a masterpiece, okay? Wait, wait…I’m getting ahead of myself!

cold war posterDirector: Sunny Luk, Longmond Leung

Cast: Aaron Kwok, Tony Ka Fai Leung, Kar Lok Chin, Charlie Yeung, Ka Tung Lam, Andy On, Terence Yin, Andy Lau, Michael Wong, Eddie Peng

The Commissioner of Hong Kong Police (Michael Wong) is away for conference to talk about Hong Kong raising itself to be called the safest city in the world through their technology and security systems set up and protocols.  Shortly after their departure, one of their emergency unit vehicles have vanished off the grid and no tracking devices on the 5 officers and the car itself could be located, while at the same time, a building  explodes in the middle of the heart of Hong Kong. The police has to now find the balance between not ruining their safest city reputation but not threatening the citizens either.  Normal protocol is that the Deputy Commissioners usually take over the role as Acting Commissioner to lead the assignment.  Right away, Deputy Commissioner Lee (Tony Ka Fai Leung), responsible for the operations takes the reins and summons everyone to an emergency meeting to start reacting with project “Cold War”. However, Deputy Commissioner of management Lau (Aaron Kwok) forces him off due to his connection to one of the missing officers being his son Joe (Eddie Peng) and takes over the operations instead to prevent him from overreacting and treating the situation too subjectively, especially if this was now considered a kidnapping and possibly a terrorist attack.

Deputy Commissioner Lau and Lee fighting for the role of Acting Commissioner

Deputy Commissioner Lau and Lee fighting for the role of Acting Commissioner

The plot thickens as we hit the continuing plot that enters, but if I told you all that, then what would be the fun of you watching it, right?

This crime thriller is intense as hell! My brain is overloaded by  how to even start describing this.  Its smart and fast-paced.  There will be some twists in the story especially seeing it has a 2 level plot line, that happens where you won’t even guess and then some that you probably might see but still be wowed afterwards.  The story is pretty incredible and held up by literally *almost* everyone in the entertainment business.  Most of them are veteran actors and if they aren’t, they will possibly one day get there.  On the contrary, both directors are green and its their first directing effort but their days working in as art director and assistant director really helped them out.  My mind was totally absorbed and my eyes were glued to the screen. There was some action that had me on the edge of my seat and then some parts that had me wondering who was behind all this.  I mean thats the first thing we, as the audience, and the police want to figure out, right?

Aaron Kwok as Deputy Commissioner/Acting Commissioner Sean Lau

Aaron Kwok as Deputy Commissioner/Acting Commissioner Sean Lau

A lot of you may not know Aaron Kwok but he was red-hot at the same time as Andy Lau.  He was the youngest of the four singers to reign in the industry in the 90s.  I loved this guy for a time even more than I loved Andy Lau as a singer.  When Aaron Kwok first started in movies, he didn’t do that many.  He was in Future Cops (which I reviewed HERE) but it was more of a cameo.  In the past 8-10 years (I have a lot of catching up to do on Hong Kong movies), he’s been staring in a lot of action thrillers.  I have a few that I haven’t seen sitting on my shelf but I’m pulling them out and watching them pronto.  This guy was amazing.  Pllus, there’s this whole having brushes of grey hair showing that makes him even more attractive.  There’s this thing that he does with his eyes to emote that is hilarious but also intensifies the whole situation.  Its awesome! He was totally in the role and man, to see him become such an outstanding actor makes me so proud.

cold war andy lauI talked about Andy Lau before! Hey, whats he doing here? He has a cameo as the Security official and comes out in 2-3 scenes.  What more do I have to say about him.  He’s great.  Now, if we look at Tony Ka Fai Leung who plays Deputy Commissioner Lee, there is really nothing to say.  He’s a Hong Kong equivalent Academy Award Best Actor so his skills are top notch.  I’ve always seen him doing gangster roles or slimmy perverted husbands (like in the horror movie Dumpling).  Seeing him as a police officer was a shock but at the same time, he proved to me that he fit the role even with his strong and stubborn character.  As much as there was a clash with the internal police HQ with the management and operations, they both had amazing sparks every time they hit the screen together.

cold war police

“We Serve with Pride and Care”

On the image above, its to point out, this is the 3rd Chinese movie in a row that I’ve watched with Kar Lok Chin. This guy is not particularly on my radar but from 1995 to his two movies in 2012, I can see now that he’s changed his acting style and especially in this one, he has earned my respect.  This guy came out from doing stunts and in this one, he gets to show off some of it again and goes all Bruce Willis (making fun of himself getting old).  On top of that, on the left standing up, we have Ka Tung Lam.  I’m not sure if anyone knows him but this guy has grown also.  I haven’t seen him in movies in a while (maybe its because I stopped watching it) but he always does these jerk roles but he is quite convincing at them.  One other person I’d like to mention made me jump with absolute joy was the cameo of Commissioner played by Michael Wong.  I haven’t seen the guy in ages.  I used to love his movies, so I was super excited about it 🙂 I kept going through the movie hearing his voice and being like, “hmm, that voice is so familiar.  Who is it?” Then BAM, there is he! *sorry, excuse the minor fan girl moment*

cold war icac confrontation

Awesome crime thriller with so many intense moments.  Loved the whole cast, maybe a bit less the young dude up there, but he was still pretty good.  Its officially my favorite movie of 2012 🙂 I don’t really see how anything else could’ve been better! I’m not going to go on with it because I’ll keep have fangirl moments.  I’m pretty sure they will have a sequel so GO SEE IT (if its accessible to you)!

I’ll leave you and go to my corner and continue drooling over this movie 😉

The Bullet Vanishes (2012)

All I have to say is: Nicholas Tse! I’ve loved this actor before he was an actor but a stupid rebellious 18 year old when he first entered the show business.  There was no denying he made some awesome music and especially when he tapped into his rocker side.  Nowadays, he rules as an action star and he’s totally still one of my long-time faves! When I saw The Bullet Vanishes in Toronto, I snatched it up right away! Finally, I got a chance to watch it on Saturday morning…I know, weird time for an action crime thriller but still..

the bullet vanishes posterDirector: Chi-Leung Lo

Cast: Nicholas Tse, Ching Wan Lau, Yumiko Cheng, Kar Lok Chin, Kai Chi Liu, Yiyan Jiang, Boran Jing

We start the story in the city of Tian-Sheng where a young girl who works at the bullet manufacturing factory is shot because she is accused of stealing bullets under orders by their Boss Ding (Kai Chi Liu).  This starts off the story as we move to the prison in another city where a prison official Song Donglu (Ching Wan Lau) who enjoys analyzing and researching cases from prisoners to prove whether they are actually innocent in the most absurd ways is transferred to Tian Sheng to help them prevent innocent cases from happening as a detective because of exactly those skills.  There he meets the city’s sharpest and quickest shooter Detective Guo Zhui (Nicholas Tse) and his assistant Xiao Wu (Boran Jing). They pair up to look into a murder that occur after the young girl’s death which is rumored to be due to a curse of the vanishing bullet.  A wall will have these words “When the vanishing bullet appears, everyone will die.” Following, the murder will happen and in the body, they will not be able to find any traces of the bullet.  As the plot thickens, they work together with the doctor responsible of the autopsy Li Jia (Yumiko Hei-Ye Cheng) to conquer the barriers and figure out what actually happened and who is responsible.

Guo Zhui (Nicholas Tse) and Song Donglu (Ching Wan Lau)

Guo Zhui (Nicholas Tse) and Song Donglu (Ching Wan Lau)

The first thing you will notice when you start this movie is the similarities of the atmosphere and the background music to Sherlock Holmes with Robert Downey Jr. As much I do like Sherlock Holmes Hollywood style, this one gives a little bit more.  The style and the dialogue is witty and fun.  At the same time, the chemistry between these top stars are fantastic.  The story itself is very clever and the investigation of the whole vanishing bullet is full of questions which keep the audience intrigued and guessing.  There are many twists and each of the characters are unique and acted out very well. The concept behind the plot is in the little side story between Song Donglu and a case he followed on the perfect crime by a woman (played by Yiyan Jiang) who killed her husband (by Kar Lok Chin) that asks the question of whether someone is a bad person if they kill, but Song Donglu says a quote that is really thought provoking (and because I know about the source material): “I believe that humans are naturally good, I keep listening to prisoners tell their stories is because I really want to know why a good person would do bad things. So, you are just a good person that has turned bad.”

the bullet vanishes nic lau yumi

The two detectives with Li Jia (Yumiko Hei-Yi Cheng)

Nicholas Tse has been growing as an action star and he’s been doing both gangster and cop roles.  The latter being more frequent.  In this thriller, he is given a decent amount of action, shooting and some stunts.  Guo Zhui is a detective that doesn’t really like the law system and how the society in that era was full of corruption and favored the rich.  The difference usually put poor people in bad situations and would cause them to be taken advantage of.  The addition of Ching Wan Lau as his partner is nice because in what action doesn’t have, his character of Song Donglu gives the analysis and looks at the details.  He inspects the area around him quietly and only shares what he feels is necessary which leaves some parts for the audience to wonder what is going on in his mind and what he’s seeing as we do get hints from little reactions that he has.

the bullet vanishes liu

Boss Ding (Kai Chi Liu)

Kai Chi Liu plays the Boss Ding.  This actor has been in the business a long time.  Ever since I’ve been watching Hong Kong movies and TV dramas, he’s been around business which gives him a great job.  Usually he plays someone that always gets dealt the bad side of the deal but righteous.  However, in this role, he plays the “bad guy”. Why the quotation marks? Because back then, he was the role of the rich in the society who could make up his own rules that even the law couldn’t interfere with.  His money could buy him out of many tight situations.  Especially with the investigation at his factory, he comes into play quite a bit.  He will make you want to punch him in his face, thats how good he is at being bad.

the bullet vanishes nic

I’ve been watching a lot of 2012 Hong Kong movies recently and some reviews are to be posted soon.  To me, the Hong Kong movies has dropped in quality but the this one and a future one I’m going to review really kicks some serious ass.   Its a movie that has style and nice atmosphere, great background music to help out, an outstanding cast to play out the roles, and especially a clever storyline and on top of that, it has a really good ending, how many movies these days have that?  There is an awesome mystery action flick!  It had me intrigued the whole way.  If you get a chance to see this, I’d say its worth your time.

I’ll leave with my favorite quote of the movie:

You ask me if there is such a thing as a perfect crime? [spoilers cut out] Wu concluded that: the perfect crime wasn’t about making the case unsolvable but finding the perfect scapegoat

I can’t help but to leak a bit of my Hong Kong love and say that I’m extremely proud of the Hong Kong film industry for making this 🙂