Cold War

Pop open the cold champagne! Christy Chung is back on the big screen. OK – so maybe you weren’t even aware that she hadn’t been in a film since 1997 – but all the same I am glad to see her once again. HK films need all the star power they can get these days and Christy was always more of a media star than an actress anyway. Over the last three years she has been taking care of her baby girl, having problems with her ex(?) - husband and being a spokesperson for a chain of fitness centers in HK.
This film might seem like an odd choice for her to return to. It’s not a typical Christy Chung romantic/comedy role – but instead it is a dark action film with plot themes that mildly echo The Killer. Christy takes on the Sidney role to Simon Yam’s ultra efficient professional killer. She hires Simon to make numerous hits – but knows that at the end she will be ordered to silence him.

The film gets off to a quick if convoluted start – and within seven minutes of running time it has switched locales from the Chinese/Burma border to Hong Kong to Manila back to Hong Kong and finally to Seoul where most of the film takes place. I imagine this is a HK/Korea co-production and there are a number of Korean actors in the cast though the VCD is all in Chinese.

The confusing beginning initially lends the film a semblance of intriguing mystery – who is behind Christy – why is Simon being ordered to kill over a dozen men – why was Simon’s wife murdered – but as the film finally begins to jell it also takes on a fairly mundane nature. The script also lets it down with numerous instances in which the characters magically seem to know things that beg explanation – how do the bad guys know where Simon is hiding out – how do the cops know his name – and what on earth was the opening war scene from 1992 all about?

Simon is pretty solid here as a killer looking for an explanation of his wife’s murder – even when having to recite dialogue such as “I only trust my gun. Though I trust my gun, I don’t love it”.  Whether he sleeps with it goes unanswered. During a hit, a woman is wounded and Simon takes her to the hospital. Soon he has the bad guys after him as well as a pair of relentless Korean cops – and he has to turn to the wounded woman for help. For some inexplicable reason – other than Simon helping get her cat down from the roof – she is willing to sacrifice everything for him. I know Simon is charismatic and all, but still this was a bit farfetched.

There is a decent shoot out in the end  - though how the bad guys with enough firepower to start a small war manage to miss Simon is a mystery – and in the final moments there is a nice homage to “A Hero Never Dies”.

The film has a decent beginning and a good ending with a lot of filler in between. Christy is fine – whether involved in a point blank gun exchange or in a locked lipped lesbian kiss. One annoying thing was that I think other actors dubbed both her and Simon and at times the mouths and voices were not very well synched. Vincent Wan also co-stars as one of the bad guys.

My rating for this film: 5.5