Reviewed by YTSL
There is something to be said for simplicity.
This especially so in a contemporary Hong Kong movie world whose action
films seem too full of megalomaniacs scheming to throw the world into chaos,
stoic super agents, big explosions, lots of material damage, slick but
improbable-looking technogimmickery and -sounding technobabble (I think
here of such as "Downtown Torpedoes", "Hot War", "Tokyo Raiders" and "Purple
Storm": The kind of productions that often aspire and look more like
Hollywood clones (only with worse CGI effects...) than actioneers made
in the pre-Handover years).
There's also something to be said for star power.
And I'll be honest here and own up that I wouldn't have been all that interested
in DOUBLE TAP -- a film which takes it name from a particularly high precision
shooting skill (which involves the rapid twice hitting/"tapping" of a target
in about the same place) -- if it didn't star charismatic Leslie Cheung
and hunky Alex Fong, and also have the always competent Ruby Wong in it.
Alternatively put: There's plenty of eye candy for da grrls in this
picture show along with a sufficient amount of pistol-packed segments for
those who like seeing lead spitting out of gun barrels and blood shed by
individuals who are pretty convincing at looking like they really are playing
DOUBLE TAP does not quite mark a return to "the
good old days" when all out action was king in Hong Kong (as opposed to
now, where seemingly everything else but that is jostling for that movie
crown). If truth be told, this Derek Yee production does not present
the viewer with any especially impressive spectacles. It will also
be pointed out that quite a few of the gun battles and duels in this medium
budget offering take place on shooting ranges and in gun clubs (Still,
this does not mean that all of them only involve dummy targets).
However, I think it definitely is in the film's
favor that it does have people rather than gadgets and master plans or
ultra-violent set pieces as its focus. More specifically, DOUBLE
TAP's story -- which starts in 1996, then fastforwards to 1999 -- centers
on: A perfectionist gunsmith cum Practical Shooting expert named
Rick Pang (played by a surprisingly unboyish-looking Leslie Cheung); an
incident which triggers off a certain disturbing impulse on his part and
sends him on a particular path of no return; a rival sharpshooter on the
side of the law (Alex Fong's Inspector Miu is not without his own inner
demons either); and the decisively different abilities to influence their
men possessed by two women (Ruby Wong is Rick's gal, Colleen, while Monica
Chan has the small but intriguing Dr./Mrs. Miu role).
Although the characters they essay are not among
the most well-developed or even three-dimensional around, the cast -- who
include Joe Cheung (who also got co-credit for conceiving the movie's story
and served as the show's shooting consultant), Vincent Kuk and Henry Fong
Ping -- do a professional job with what was given them. While it
may seem like I am damning DOUBLE TAP with faint praise, it really did
make for an enjoyable experience for me to watch a movie whose chief merit
may well lie in my getting the sense that everyone involved in the work
at least adeptly executed whatever was asked of them, and sometimes actually
made more of their opportunities than others with less ability or enthusiasm
could have done.
My rating for the film: 6.5
Distributed by Universe
The transfer is solid - clean, good colors.
This DVD has Cantonese and Mandarin language
tracks and English and Chinese subtitles - so I read - but hell if I can
find that option on the menu - but fortunately it automatically went to
English subs when I played it.
8 Chapters done on a cool shooting target menu.
It has it's own trailer plus - Tokyo Raiders
and Twelve Nights.
The sub-titles are easy to read.
Star Files - Lesley Cheung, Alex Fong, Ruby
Wong, Monica Chan, Vincent Kok.