z (2004)
Explosive City

Reviewed by: Sydneyguy
Date: 11/02/2005
Summary: Average

Apart from the nice twist near the end, there is nothing new here. A cast of internationals makes it a little more appealing but there wasnt enough to satisify me.

Average movie with average action, not the worst out there but not the best.


Reviewed by: MrBooth
Date: 04/10/2005
Summary: Good entertaining cinema, HK style

What a great film! Why doesn't HK make films this entertaining anymore? It has everything you could ask for - a ludicrous plot (brainwashing, amnesia, international terrorists with over-complicated plans, a cop on the run for a crime he didn't commit and to save his kidnapped son), cool characters (Sonny Chiba, Samuel Pang, Simon Yam, Alex Fong), buckletloads of style and a decent amount of action. Well, not *everything* I guess, but enough that it's just rude to complain about what's lacking :)

What I liked best about the film is that even though it's full of cliches, it still manages to surprise you. Often because the plot doesn't make a lot of sense, but that doesn't matter if it's a fun ride - something I wish Hong Kong's filmmakers would remember, 'cause it doesn't take a whizz-kid to realise that the industry has gone down the toilet since this ludicrous obsession with "scripts" and "professionalism" appeared in the late nineties :p

The film is vaguely reminiscent of director Sam Leong's previous HK-Japanese collaboration, COLOUR OF PAIN, but on a grander scale. The cast is multinational, with a mix of languages being spoken - often you'll have one character speaking Cantonese and the other speaking Japanese yet understanding each other fine, which is a bit odd but still preferable to dubbing. Unfortunately, for the two leads (Alex Fong and some Japanese lass) I guess they thought it would be a bit too much, so she's often dubbed in Cantonese when there's just the two of them together. I think I'd have preferred native language throughout, but I got used to the dub actress's voice quickly enough.

It's not a classic film that's going to go down in history or achieve major international success, but it's a fun action-drama that never gets dull. I don't know if it made any impression at the box office at all, or if it'll make it's money back. I do hope so though, 'cause then we get more of these sorts of films coming out again.

The Deltamac DVD has a good anamorphic picture but a sub-par sound mix for a recent film. Dialogue is too low and some sound effects too high (presumably trying to create maximum surround-soundness), and the overall mix is very quiet. Subtitles are good enough, with some quaint not-quite-English-as-we-know-it turns of phrase. Not a release one can really call "good", but perfectly adequate.


Reviewer Score: 7

Reviewed by: rarnom
Date: 03/28/2005
Summary: Above Average Cop Drama

Alex Fong stars as a cop forced to take matters into his own hands when his wife is killed and son kidnapped by the big bad brainwashing baddie Sonny Chiba. In the attempt to find his son he teams up with a female assassin who is a former prodigy of Chiba's. Simon Yam stars as the 'good' cop who is on the case as well.

Alex Fong is great as the lead character. There is a good amount of gunplay, chases and intrigue throughout the film. Sonny Chiba is great as the evil yet charismatic bad guy who specializes in brainwashing little kids to become master assassins. I got a good laugh from the space age 'brainwashing helmets' that he used on the kids while they slept. Simon Yam is decent. He does speak some lines in English and that is good for another laugh.
Overall the film is good. Nothing groundbreaking, but good, especially for fans of the main actors.

version reviewed:

Video quality: excellent

Audio quality (Original/Cantonese 5.1, Mandarin 5.1) : excellent

Subtitle quality (Traditional Chinese, Simplified Chinese, and English subs): the English subs are very good, some of the subs are written a little 'odd', but it is all very understandable.

Extras: DVD includes a trailer for the film