Invisible Target

"Weak"

Invisible Target Review


Although I'm not totally sure why the Hong Kong film industry seems to have fallen into an irreversible funk, I'm starting to develop a theory after watching Invisible Target: There are no more new ideas. It's all been done. This action-heavy police drama is helmed and co-written by the venerable Benny Chan, who has several memorable Hong Kong flicks to his credit, but this time around it's just one more toss of a very familiar salad. All the elements are there -- the armored car heist, the rooftop chase, the grenade-filled duffle bag, the hijacked school bus full of cute kids, the appalling HKPD body count, the rogue cops -- but what's the twist?

To add some psychodrama, Chan gives each of his three lead cops a different motive for chasing the bad guy. Chan (Nicholas Tse) is mad because his fiancée was killed when the bad guys blew up the armored car. Carson (Shawn Yue) is mad because the bad guys humiliated him. Wai (played by Jaycee Chan, Jackie Chan's son) is mad because the bad guys kidnapped his brother, who was also a cop, and probably killed him. Of the three, Chan and Carson are rule breakers who can't stand authority, while Wai is by the books all the way.

The main bad guy, Tien (Jacky Wu), is also in a foul mood because the armored car money was stolen from him, so away we go, with Tien chasing the money and the three cops chasing Tien and his goons. Cue the car chase. Cue the gun fights. Cue the kung fu. Cue the insanely dangerous rooftop chase. To their credit, the entire cast works extremely hard, as Hong Kong casts always do, stepping in to do their own stunts and suffering through them multiple times, as the entertaining making-of featurette aptly shows. A-list American stars would never put up with being dangled by a wire while being hit by a double-decker bus or enduring a fist fight while standing in a flaming pool of gasoline, but these guys live for it. (If I ever have lunch with Nicholas Tse, I'll ask him two questions:1) What does it feel like to be thrown through not one, not two, not three, but four plate glass windows? And 2) How did it feel to be cuckolded by fellow Hong Kong star Edison Chen?)

All roads in Invisible Target eventually lead back to police headquarters, where a final bloody showdown results in the deaths of countless cops and the near total destruction of the skyscraper, thanks to that duffle bag full of grenades. When the smoke clears, the survivors lick their wounds, congratulate each other on surviving, and live to fight another day in another movie.

There has to be a way to put some new spin on these very old tropes. Do we need to commission the Coen brothers and send them over there to breathe new life into the genre? (Actually, that's kind of a nifty idea.) At their best, Hong Kong actioners are totally fun thrill rides. At their worst, they're boring as hell. Let's find a fresh way to keep those cops busy.

Aka Naam yi boon sik.

Need invisible water!



Invisible Target

Facts and Figures

Run time: 129 mins

In Theaters: Thursday 19th July 2007

Distributed by: Genius Productions

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 2.5 / 5

IMDB: 6.8 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: Benny Chan

Producer: Benny Chan, Cary Cheng

Starring: as Detective Chan Chun, Shawn Yue as Inspector Carson Fong Yik Wei, Wu Jing as Tien Yeng Seng, as Officer Wai King Ho, as Ronin Tien Yeng-Yee, as Ho Wing Keung, Lam Suet as Loan Shark Cheng

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