Fatal Contact (2006)

Reviewed by: Chungking_Cash
Date: 11/21/2009

Alternating between cacophonies of tone Dennis Law's romantic street fighting drama "Fatal Contact" is either too saccharine to stomach or too bleak to fully digest. The film's strengths are two of its primary actors: former Beijing Wushu Team member Jacky Wu Jing, who makes for a pleasing lead with a natural martial arts prowess and obnoxious comic Ronald Cheng in a likeable turn, here, as a low ranking rascal with a knack for street magic and impromptu mooching. Frequent Milkyway player Lam Suet (1) is wasted in a hollow supporting role as a triad fight promoter.

Reviewer Score: 6

Reviewed by: cal42
Date: 08/30/2008
Summary: A mixed bag

“I want to...be the next Jet Li” says Kong (Wu Jing) with a smile in this Dennis Law directed actioner. It’s an obvious nod to Wu Jing’s growing popularity and physical similarity to the Jetster. However, Wu Jing should learn from Li’s mistakes and be very careful about the projects he chooses to take on.

That’s not to say FATAL CONTACT is a poor film; it is, however, a very mixed bag. Wu plays a travelling circus performer with his eye on young Tin (Miki Yeung) and gets caught up in the shady world of illegal boxing. Actually, he gets persuaded into it by Tin, who along with trainer/friend/scrounger Captain (Ronald Cheng) hones the fighter into a fantastic fighting machine.

When Wu dismantles his first opponent in a few seconds, you know things are going to be good. Sure enough, the action scenes throughout the entire movie are brilliantly executed, and for once Wu takes centre stage and is not some seething psychotic villain. Not since the 80s has there been such a spectacle as Wu Jing, and the showcase he puts on in FATAL CONTACT is as good, if not better, than anything else he’s done in the past. A frantic fight in an underpass at night is shot in a style similar to that of Jackie Chan at his peak and will further endear him to the heart of action film fans worldwide.

However, the glue holding the action scenes together isn’t quite so strong. Ronald Cheng is great as the tight but friendly Captain, and the sight of Ken Lo as a kind of sci-fi pimp will raise a few smiles, I’m sure. There has been some attempt to add depth to the script, but there’s only so much you can do with the concept of a fighter moving from fight to increasingly difficult fight, and most of it disappoints.

His girlfriend is another source of concern. She actually persuades Kong to start fighting for money and eggs him on to take greater and greater risks, which is a complete turnaround from the archetype. While this could be seen as refreshing, in the end it just seems strange. She comes across as a cynical manipulative bitch, even giving a former friend who has fallen upon hard times some tips on how to be a better prostitute. Without giving anything away, this point is addressed, but we as the audience are obviously supposed to get behind her as the unwavering girlfriend of the hero and this just doesn’t feel right from the very start.

Despite his obvious and undeniable skills, Wu Jing is middling as a leading man. It’s not that he’s bad at acting (he’s not), it’s just that he doesn’t yet have much of a screen persona to exploit the way, say, Jackie Chan did with his clowning underdog. Maybe this will develop in time, but in the meantime his scenes of a less active nature are quite forgettable.

Despite the rather long running time, this movie flies by, which is always a good sign. But the film winds up with a very unconvincing climax that feels like Law ran out of time. As it stands, the ending of Fatal Contact is the most disappointing I’ve seen in an action movie for a very long time.

Still, the fight scenes are fantastic, and for many that will be good enough. Personally, I hoped for something a little bit more substantial. Maybe next time...

Reviewer Score: 6

Reviewed by: MrBooth
Date: 09/11/2007

The plot for the movie is retarded, to be frank, but as an action film and a showcase for Wu Jing it made me a little giddy. Ignore the story and the annoying love interest, and just enjoy a string of superbly choreographed fights that prove once and for all that Wu Jing is really something special - a martial arts talent we haven't seen the likes of in a very long time.

Reviewer Score: 8

Reviewed by: dandan
Date: 01/04/2007
Summary: "i want to be the next jet li"

kong (wu jing) is a national martial arts champion. whilst on tour in hong kong, he is approached by some low level gangsters who operate illegal boxing matches. at first kong resists their offers but, with some persuasion from a girl named tin (miki yeung), he begins fighting. things start to look up for kong and tin but, as the bettig on the matches gets more serious, trouble is on the horizon.

well, the plot is pretty bog-standard, most of the characters are forgettable and the sub-plots are pretty dire, but...

wu jing, who seem to have been on the verge of breaking into being a star in his own right, having been labelled as 'the next jet li' for as long as i can remember, finally seems to be maturing into a resonable presence on screen. having put in a great supporting role in 'sha po lang', he now carries this feature on his back. although, the contribution of ronald cheng, as captain, the film's only interesting character, cannot be underestimated.

so, watch this, but don't expect much from the narrative (apart from cheng); just enjoy the fights. yep, there's around half a dozen quality set pieces, between wu jing and various challengers, all of which are pretty damn impressive and more than a little brutal.

ignore the fluff, enjoy the fights...

Reviewed by: mrblue
Date: 12/30/2006

There's an old saying: "Always the bridesmaid, never the bride". That is pretty appropriate for Wu Jing (aka Jacky Wu). Though he has been making movies for over a decade now and has worked with some of the top people in the industry like Yuen Woo-Ping, it was not until his appearance in last year's SPL (aka Killzone) that Wu began to get some buzz about him. With most of the genre's major stars now in their last days, can Wu capitalize on the hype and become "the" next big action star?

Judging from Wu's latest film, Fatal Contact, the answer is a resounding "maybe". Wu certainly looks good during the fighting sequences and is amicable enough during the exposition stuff. However, the film falls prey to many of the traps which surround movies of this type (especially at the lower end of the budget spectrum), and one never really gets the sense that Wu is being used to his full potential.

In the film, Wu plays a member of the Chinese national wushu team who is tapped by a local promoter (Lam Suet) to particiapte in underground fighting matches. At first, Wu refuses, but after some prodding from his girlfriend (Miki Yeung) and training from a strange kung-fu master (Ronald Cheng), Wu enters the dark world of unlicensed bouts. He quickly rises to the top of the ranks, which attracts the attention of an unscrupulous promoter (Ken Lo), who wants to fix the fights in order to insure a big payday.

For someone weaned on the action movies of the 1980's, this plot fits right in with those types of films. And, like those films, the plot is only really a device to get to the next fight. There are quite a few brawls -- most of them are far too short to really see what Wu Jing can do onscreen -- but overall, they're done well enough that the viewer can forgive some of the fluff surrounding them (a weak love story, obvious double-crosses, etc.). If you're an action junkie and are willing to sacrifice things like actual character development for ass-kicking, then you'll have a good time with this movie.

[review from www.hkfilm.net]

Reviewer Score: 7