Downtown Torpedoes (1997)

Reviewed by: mrblue
Date: 07/30/2002
Summary: good spy flick

Even though many Hong Kong film fans don't like the recent "Hollywoodization" of the industry, Downtown Torpedoes (despite having an extremely silly name) is a stylish movie that shows that HK film-makers can take some inspiration from the US without totally diluting their product. It's not a classic, but compared to crud like Tokyo Raiders or this movie's pseudo-sequel Skyline Cruisers, it's a refreshing change.

Borrowing a bit from the Mission: Impossible movies, the story has Jordan Chan, Takeshi Kaneshiro, Theresa Lee, Ken Wong and Charlie Yueng as a team called ATM (Adavnced Tactical Mercenaries), who perform high-risk industrial theft "jobs". After a successful job, they are brought in by the MI5 (British CIA, led by Alex Fong in an extended cameo role) to steal money printing plates from a rogue agent. The job turns out to be a double-cross, and the ATM team must try to find the plates to clear their name.

From the get-go, Downtown Torpedoes sets itself up as a slick spy caper and it doesn't disappoint. The movie mixes in just enough high-tech gear and gutsy action to make it both believeable and exciting at the same time. In a time when many films mistake computer gimmickry for action, it was refreshing to see more of a straight-forward style. As always with these types of movies (especially ones that are a few years old), not all of the gadgets make sense or look great, but overall the spy action in Downtown Torpedoes is well-done, culminating in a climatic chase scene that is one of the best done (in either the US or HK) over the last several years.

Even though the plot is reminiscent of Mission: Impossible, thankfully Downtown Torpedoes isn't as convoluted as those films. Even though there is a fair amount of double-crosses, hidden agents and other plot twists, the story is easier to follow because of the movie's efficent storytelling. The film-makers realized that we don't need to see each detail of every character's life, and this helps move Downtown Torpedoes at a brisk pace. Even the dreaded mandatory romantic subplot fails to rear its' head here, and the film flows much better as a result. The emphasis here is on spy hi-jinks, not mushy love stories, and this streamlined storytelling is welcome in this day and age of movies that try and pretend to be more important than they are by dumping everything but the kitchen sink into the mix. From top to bottom, Downtown Torpedoes is a solid action movie that's worth your time.

[review from www.hkfilm.net]

Reviewed by: bloody_romeo
Date: 05/25/2002

This movie was released in 1997, and its a good peace of work,. i dont want to tell much,....Its about a team that has always worked together but the members were anonymous,..only 2 guys know each other who r goosd friends and who play the main characters one could say,......But know they r gathered togeher by the government to "save the World",.....the story line is not that easygoing and the plot is nicely made.

good acting, good action, less brutality, make the film worth watching.

Reviewed by: Inner Strength
Date: 04/15/2002
Summary: crap

One word 'CRAP'. It's really bad.

Rating: 1/5

Reviewed by: crazytigerfong
Date: 03/20/2002
Summary: Some good stuff

Perhaps because Downtown Torpedoes was one of the first few true hong kong movies I've seen (what I mean by true is something other than a dubbed Jet Li or Jackie Chan film), but I was totally amazed by this gem of a film.

All actors blew me away with their charisma and style. I felt the team had great chemistry and really worked well together. Charlie Young was absolutely gorgeous as Sam, and Takeshi Kaneshiro and Jordan Chan were excellently portrayed as well.

Give this film a try; you won't be disappointed.

Reviewed by: Rab99bit
Date: 06/05/2001
Summary: A different sort of movie

When I played the movie a second time on my VCD player, it didn't seem as bad as the first time I saw it. I agree that there is a lot of high tech computer rubbish in an attempt to copy from Western spy thrillers and the TV series "Mission Impossible" but you must give the producers some credit for having the nerve to even attempt to imitate such films. The storyline does not hold much logic but hey ! a lot of films nowadays are not made to appear logical. To enjoy the movie, appreciate it for what it is - pure fiction and good imagination on the part of the writer. The cast, including guest actor Alex Fong, performed reasonably well. I enjoyed the "chase" towards the end, filmed overseas and culminating in one human torch, refusing to give up till the very end! It was probably a private joke between Alex and the director.

Reviewed by: Jareth
Date: 04/30/2001
Summary: I've seen worse

Takeshi. Real death of stunt man. Good looking deaf chick.

What are the only three "good" things about the movie Downtown Torpedoes?

Canned Laughter.

And the deaf chick dies early on. That should tell you something.

Reviewed by: Sydneyguy
Date: 07/23/2000
Summary: I really don't know what to think..........

I watched this and it does want to be a "Mission Impossible" clone!!
I don't know how to rate or talk about this movie, but i generally agree with what the reviewer below me said, but see for yourself!!

NO rating because i don't know what to give it!!

Reviewed by: twist
Date: 12/09/1999

What an awful movie! I heard that this was actually getting considered for a U.S release, which is crazy. It is so silly, all the computer talk is insane- "Wow her computer has been still hacking away by itself and has got through to NASA and located the M15" or "I found some of his skin in the drain pipe, have you got that IT-404 DNA tester to check if it is really him". Takeshi Kaneshiro is very bland, I also saw him in another turkey a while back called The Jail in Burning Island which was unwatchable. Mission Impossible it wants so bad to be, right down to the music. All of this could be forgiven if the action was good, it isn't, it's also very bland. Well Downtown Torpedoes, I would say avoid it. The name should have been a warning-Downtown Torpedoes??!

Reviewed by: hkcinema
Date: 12/08/1999

Specialists Jackal and Cash are arrested by the British Hong Konggovernment special agent Johnny and forced to trace the counterfeit currency printing plates in order to save the possible British Pound currency problems. Jackal and Cash meet with Titan and Phoenix and their contact Sam as the five form a formidable team and begin action. Unfortunately they are then swept into the war of espionage between the British Intelligence and the Iranian Counterfeit organization......

[Reviewed by Next Magazine]