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Tokyo Raiders

Reviewed by: Hyomil
Date: 04/07/2011

Reviewer Score: 7

Reviewed by: j.crawford
Date: 02/25/2007

I enjoyed this movie, but my problem with Tokyo Raiders is with the director and cinematographer of the film, Jingle Ma. Mr. Ma has worked as cinematographer movies like Fong Sai Yuk (1993), Last Hero in China (1993), Fire Dragon (1994), Viva Erotica (1996), and City of Glass (1998).

As you can see from this partial list of films, Mr. Ma has done some great work. He earned his chance to direct and did quite well with his 2 previous films, Hot War (1998), which I saw in the now closed Music Palace in New York City, and Fly Me to Polaris (1999). On these two projects, he had the good sense to hire a cinematographer. On Tokyo Raiders, he decided to handle both jobs. I found the cinematography very annoying at times. Some of the visuals were just out of place while others were beautifully done. This guy did shoot City of Glass, after all!

I liked the 'chemistry' between Ekin Cheng Yee-Kin and Tony Leung Chiu-Wai. They seemed to work well together. For once I didn't find myself thinking "Oh come on, Chan Ho-Nam is no kung fu master" while watching Ekin in something outside of Young & Dangerous films. Some of Mr. Leung's segments had a very 'Jackie Chan' quality to them, showing the influence of Mr. Ma's having worked on Rumble in the Bronx (1995) and First Strike (1996), especially the sequence on the car carrier. Tokyo Raiders also has some nice 'Chow Sing Chi' flavor mixed in, as well.

I thought the final jet-ski/speedboat chase sequence was a terrible way to end the film. It was just so believable. I did like the kooky, infectious soundtrack, though. Cha-cha-cha!

Copyright 2000 J. Crawford.

Reviewer Score: 6

Reviewed by: ewaffle
Date: 11/14/2005

In decades past we were amazed when we encountered the martial arts prowess exhibited in Hong Kong action movies. Bruce Lee, Casanova Wong, Gordon Liu, Lo Leih and Jimmy Wang Yu, to name just a few, thrilled us with the grace, power, strength, flexibility, stamina and even courage they displayed. They were the kings and princes of martial arts cinema, whether we first saw them on midnight showings of Kung Fu Features, in the grind houses on State Street in Chicago or on the odd VCR tape. No matter how ridiculous the dubbed dialog, how badly panned and scanned, or how clumsily they were edited to fit a time slot the purity of the action shone through. Action actresses like Angela Mao and Cheng Pei Pei added an exotic and welcome touch to the proceedings. We didn’t know who choreographed the fights, directed the action or worked the wires—actually we weren’t even aware that such behind the camera artists existed—since what happened on the screen was “reality”.

This is no longer the case, of course. In addition to directors, the action directors, cinematographers and editors are now as well known as the actors—many fans of Hong Kong and mainland films know the work of Christopher Doyle, Peter Pau Tak Hai, Corey Yuen, Yuen Wo Ping and Stephen Tung, where in the past only aficionados of the genre could name any of the technical people. Their skill and talent, combined with widespread use of computer generated imagery, digital editing software and increasing use of steadicams, high definition video and other hardware breakthroughs have allowed celebrities who are not trained in martial arts (or even, it seems, in the rudiments of acting in front of a camera) to star in action movies. “Tokyo Raiders” is an example of this.

Tony Leung is a wonderful actor with tremendous ability to develop a character and to show emotion with the slightest movement—raising an eyebrow, a hint of a smile, a throwaway glance. He can also do a decent impersonation of a tough guy who is skilled in martial arts or at least unarmed combat. He is credible in scenes using props—an umbrella, a shock stick, a coat made to tear away. Kelly Chan is a decorative addition to any film she is in. While her acting range is very limited and she has only a few facial expressions to deploy, the fact that she is extremely attractive and is playing an extremely attractive and vulnerable woman means she doesn’t have to stretch too much. However Ekin Cheng as an action hero means 90 minutes of complete suspension of disbelief, an act of concentration that is beyond me.

This is where the new prominence of the technical side of filmmaking comes (not always positively) to the fore. Through a combination of low angle shots, high angle shots, slow motion, fast motion, stop action, a moving camera at the heart of the action, very high contrast and extremely fast cuts, fight scenes involving unlikely participants are created. In one extended fight, for example, when Leung’s and Cheng’s characters are trapped by a gang of thugs in a Tokyo apartment, there are at least 57 cuts in one minute of action. I say at least 57 because I may have missed a few that were only a few frames long. This doesn’t mean 57 different shots, of course or (especially) 57 different set ups. It does mean that the director, action director, cinematographer and editor of “Tokyo Raiders” created a fight scene almost from a blank canvas. Watching this scene and a few others in slow motion, one can see why they had to work so hard. In the golden (or even silver) era of martial arts movies the actors showed an exceptional economy of motion—it seemed that not a move was wasted, extraneous or unnecessary. Cheng, on the other hand, was all wasted motion—he hopped around to no particular effect and was unable to deliver a blow that looked dangerous. But with a cut every second or so and a camera that moves more than the actors the action sequences work well enough. Unfortunately it is all too obvious that they are the product of technical wizardry. I am not, by the way, saying that Hong Kong filmmaking must return to the wonderful days of the yesteryear—much of what was produced then was execrable and it may well be a “golden” age much more in retrospect. The reality is that Ekin Cheng, Kelly Chan and other crossover type stars are necessary to appeal to mass audiences. It is would be nice if they could find a bit of time to spend in the gym before the next movie in which they dispatch scores of gangsters. There are a few scenes which feature fights between Cheng and one opponent. One in particular, between Cheng and one of Leung’s assistants should never have made the final cut—there is simply no way that the lack of lethality can be disguised when there are only two combatants to focus on.

There are a couple of the usual nods to self-referentiality, mainly of the narrative within the narrative type. One is when Leung’s character replays a short excerpt from the fight scene I discussed earlier on his laptop to show Cheng’s character that he has been watching him. Another is when Leung explains to Cheng why they are pursuing the same guy, saying, “It all started two weeks ago,” and then a cut to a scene in which the evil gangster Ito terrorizes and then hires Leung. This is also the first of several red herrings in an unnecessarily complicated plot which involves, among other things, the CIA and some gangsters plotting to destabilize the Yen.

“Tokyo Raiders” is extremely fluffy, easily forgotten and not recommended.

Reviewer Score: 4

Reviewed by: mrblue
Date: 09/27/2005

I think I've been pretty forgiving when it comes to the new wave of big-budget HK action flicks. Many people have said that films like Hot War or Gen-X Cops are killing the HK movie industry. I feel that while they're not, of course, up to the level of the classic action films produced during the genre's heyday, most provide some decent eye candy and escapist entertainment. Tokyo Raiders has changed my mind about that. If this is the direction that HK action films are going to be going in during the new millennium, then get me off this bus right now.

The "plot" has something to do with Kelly Chan being wanted by the FBI, CIA, Japanese secret service, the Yakuza and (of course) some interested parties in Hong Kong since she was engaged to a Yakuza who was planning to smuggle in counterfeit Yen. Ekin Cheng plays some sort of interior designer who also happens to be a kung-fu expert (wah?!), who tags along with Kelly on her way to Japan, where they meet up with private eye Tony Leung. I don't want to ruin anything for you, but it turns out that everyone isn't what they claim to be (what, you mean your average interior designer can't do kung-fu?). In fact, there are so many convoluted twists and turns that by the end of the film, I didn't care who was what or where they were or what they were doing.

The fact that most of the actors stink didn't help matters out at all. Here's a word to Hong Kong filmmakers who want to get more of an international audience -- don't put Ekin Cheng in any more movies! I swear to God, there should be a Surgeon General's warning on any movie featuring Ekin saying that it'll induce nausea. Both Ekin and fellow non-actor Kelly Chan should just go back to making crappy Cantopop records instead of stinking up any film that they're in with their dismal performances. On a lighter note, Tony Leung -- who must be really hard up for the money -- does give a decent performance. It was pretty sad seeing him slumming in a film like this, but it also highlighted the fact that good looks and talent are things that are often not apart in actors. There are plenty of talented young actors who could have easily filled Ekin and Kelly's shoes. Maybe they had the good sense to pass on the movie once they saw the script.

And don't think the action scenes save Tokyo Raiders at all. If you think Ekin Cheng can look convincing as a kung-fu expert, then more power to you -- and I've got some nice swampland in Florida I'd like to sell you. The scenes are shot and edited in such a choppy way that it makes The Replacement Killers look like The Killer by comparison. Overuse of slow motion and other camera tricks don't make your action scenes cooler, they only tend to give the viewer headaches, especially when they're accompanied by a score that sounds more appropriate for a cheesy porno film or MTV promo than an action film.

If you couldn't guess, Tokyo Raiders not only ranks as the worst of the latest wave of HK action movies, it's one of the worst movies I've ever seen, period.

[review from www.hkfilm.net]

Reviewed by: Arshadnm6
Date: 04/18/2005
Summary: Light comedy with plenty of hillarious action and all round fun!!!

Lam (played by Tony Leung Chiu-Wai from ‘Bullet in the Head’, ‘Hard Boiled’ and ‘Hero’) is the toughest private eye in Tokyo. Despite his small stature and broken Japanese, he runs Tokyo’s streets single-handedly and in a heroic fashion. After an encounter with jilted bride Macy (Kelly Chan from ‘Infernal Affairs I and III’) due to circumstances, who arrives in Tokyo chasing her groom, known as Takahashi (played by Toru Nakamura from ‘Gen-X Cops’), Lam agrees to help Macy find Takahashi. Macy is also accompanied by a persistent interior designer Yung (played by Ekin Cheng from ‘Storm Riders’, ‘A Man Called Hero’ and ‘The Duel’), who is pursuing Takahashi to settle a debt. Following their meeting mayhem erupts where Macy is constantly being hounded by the Yukuza for unknown reasons, and it seems that Lam and Yung may not be so innocent themselves. Moreover, Takahashi seems to be the main target and needs to clear up some information regarding a secret hi-tech chip that is sought by the Japanese government from the Yukuza.

This movie is constantly entertaining with cool gadgets turning up everywhere. However, the movie is simply an action-paced rollercoaster ride with thrills and spills, which tries to inject some comedy and romance into the movie, but evidently fails. Also, the characters are too silly and unbelievable to be convincing as real actors since Kelly Chan believes Ekin Cheng’s poor excuse for tailing her so easily! Also, the main characters all fall into their place too easily (i.e. everyone seems to have an ulterior motive for being present in the situation) and their acting is horrible. The action itself is well choreographed with Ekin Cheng being a five-time wu-shu champion (don’t ask) and the storyline is unbelievably realistic. It really never deals with any deep issues and seems to inject some adrenaline when things start to slow-down. The camera angles are quite well done in different areas of the movie and the soundtrack is exciting with several plot twists and double-crossings mainly revolving around the heroes, which keep the movie moving on. The many chases also involve using different forms of transport via both road and sea.

The choice of locations was quite good and shows off the major tourist sites of technological-metropolis Tokyo. However, certain characters such as Cecilia Cheung turn up from nowhere as Tony Leung’s assistant, which was a waste. There is no storyline in this feature and most characters are too wrapped up in their own lives and motives to care about anything else that is going on. Nevertheless, perhaps this movie was intended to be a rollercoaster action flick with little personality. Also, some characters such as Tony Leung’s assistant never play a necessary role and turn up whenever their use is required (or possibly to act as time-crunching decoys) possibly to fill-up the movie with some eye candy and fluff. All of the above is also explained by the director responsible for this movie, Jingle Ma who never has done any dramatic movies and probably never will! Some accidentally funny moments such as Kelly Chan being approached by a bunch of kids’ intent on making her star in a pornography production are really funny and most of the time you will be laughing at the characters and not with them. The main problem with this movie is that everything falls into place too easily and some characters are not required in the movie.

Overall, this movie was a slight disappointment due to its lack of depth throughout the movie and therefore does not make a major impression on anyone. However, it is very watch-able and mixes good amounts of Japanese and Chinese dialogue with some English to keep everyone entertained as done through the success of other tri-lingual movies such as ‘Time and Tide’ and ‘Gen-X-Cops’. All in all, a good amount of action and comedy make this film into an above average commodity of HK Cinema.

Overall Rating: 7.9/10

Reviewed by: SteelwireMantis
Date: 12/23/2003
Summary: Average film, but has a lot of style

Although this was one of the biggest HK blockbusters of 2000, I did find it quite boring, although it features some stylish action pieces.

Kelly Chan is a rich girl looking for her missing fiance in Tokyo, where she meets a shady Chinese PI Tony Leung. As she is accompanied by decorator Ekin Cheng, she discovers, that not everything as it seems to be.

I think the twists in the plot were just put in for the sake of it. If they spent more time writing the script as they did on creating the stylish fight scenes, they could've come up with something quite clever as David Fincher's 'Fight Club'. The acting from the cast was pretty ok, (but not thier best), but I did seem to find Ekin Cheng rather annoying in this.

This is a pretty cool and stylish movie, but not really perfection.


Reviewer Score: 7

Reviewed by: pjshimmer
Date: 05/05/2003
Summary: Too many plot twists

Simply too many unexpected twists for me -- some of which weren't explained clearly. Big budget, cool characters, slick action, and an AmeriJapSpanish (?) soundtrack make Tokyo an entertaining viewing experience. I know one thing: this is one of the COOLEST movies I've ever seen! I'm hooked.


Reviewed by: Dyogenez
Date: 12/29/2002
Summary: Great story

From the first action scene I was hooked. The creative fight scenes and amount of action kept me interested throughout. This is one of the first HK movies i ever watched, but it's still a basis for comparison. Great acting by Ekin Cheung, along with a complicated enough storyline to leave you on your seat. One of my favorites still.


Reviewed by: Kyashan
Date: 06/06/2002

Really a good movie. Ekin Cheng and Tony Leung are really clever using all types of wu-shu style long all movie. The plot-story is pretty good and this becomed one of my favourite movies since april 2001 when I saw for first time.

Rantig 9/10

Reviewed by: Inner Strength
Date: 04/24/2002
Summary: Poor

Considering his disappointing debut, Hot War, this is a big improvement. But to date, Jingle Ma has not done anything anywhere near as good as Fly Me To Polaris. This film comes somewhere in-between those, but more to his Hot War. Like Hot War, this is another futuristic action film, which is reasonably entertaining, but that's it. The script is bad, but most acting performances were not too bad.

All in all, there is not much left for me to be able to recommend this one. It's not one for the more serious Hong Kong film fans, that's for sure.

Rating 2/5

Reviewed by: runo_jp
Date: 06/02/2001
Summary: Tokyo Raiders

Really disappointed ! I expected much more, and I felt that Tony Leung was the only one enjoying himself (of course, he has the best part!)
Kelly Chan is doing her best, rather good at it.
Ekin Cheng is sometimes caught by the camera wondering “what am I doing in this movie ?”
Cecilia Cheung has a cameo, and I found her rather exasperating.
Average : 5/10

Reviewed by: MrBooth
Date: 06/02/2001
Summary: The future of action films :-)

I had such a lot of fun watching this movie. I always describe it as the Hong Kong Charlie's Angels (though in reality it was the other way round). It just absolutely refuses to take itself seriously for most of the running time, and it seems as if cast and crew really enjoyed themselves making it. This enthusiasm is infectious. It's particularly refreshing to see Ekin leaving his "cool" image behind and take a much more playful role. He's actually quite charming here.

The action scenes were also very refreshing, choreographed by Jackie Chan's Stunt Team member Alien Sit (fantastic name), and very much in a Jackie Chan interact-with-the-environment style. Whilst it's obvious that Ekin & Little Tony aren't real fighters, the choreography doesn't really require them to be, and Jingle Ma brings out the best of the scenes with some innovative editing and filming. Time becomes very malleable, with freeze frames, fast forwards and slo-mos running into each other in a single shot, creating a very interesting effect. The same sort of thing was done less effectively in Charlie's Angels.

The plot is also quite playful, taking in many twists and turns that unfold quite cleverly. I'm surprised by criticisms that there is no plot... there most certainly is! It's not big or profound, but it's there and it's fun.

Special mention must go to the young Japanese starlets that seem to have even more fun in the film than anybody else as Tony's doting assistants. Very cute and charming, and their interplay with each other and Leung Chiu Wai is amusing.

The only let-down with the film is the ending. Showdowns at the marina should be left to Pamela Anderson's VIP. It's the only place where I felt that Jingle was trying to add "hollywood style" to the film, and he shouldn't have bothered... it was working much better without it. Hollywood style isn't what Hong Kong does well, and nor would I want it to... there's a good reason I don't watch Hollywood movies after all.

If this is the direction that Hong Kong's big budget action films are going to take, then I'm quite happy. It's not the same as the older action movies, where you got real physically gifted performers doing their stuff, but since those performers aren't around anymore I think it's a good substitute.

Reviewer Score: 8

Reviewed by: Trigger
Date: 05/29/2001
Summary: Must Own DVD

Tokyo Raiders was pretty good I thought. It was a contemporary spy vs. spy of sorts with a good amount of kung-fu with very little gunplay or blood. Well paced and quite entertaining. I liked the little twists in the characters. Not my favorite HK action film, but it's very good and family-friendly without making you feel dumber having watched it. Highly recommended for a slick and light HK action flick.

The disc was phenominal. It had a DTS track which stated it was DTS 2.0, but it was definitely 5.1 and sounded brilliant - much better than the DD5.1 that was also included. The picture quality was outstanding as well - perhaps a bit washed out though. The disc contained the Making Of documentary which was Subtitled (for once) and pretty decent compared to other Making Of's I've seen from HK.

The subtitles were clear and easy to read and mostly went below the picture inside the black bars where they should be... I have a feeling though that they didn't translate alot of the dialogue as they kept talking and yet the same 4 or 5 words would appear as if it was supposed to cover all that dialogue. I think it was the cliff's notes subtitles or something. I still got the whole story though.

Seen On: Universe Laser DVD
Ratings: Movie - 8.5/10
DVD Presentation - 9/10
DVD Extras - 7.5/10

Reviewer Score: 8

Reviewed by: future113
Date: 05/02/2001
Summary: Ok

I was expecting a really nice triad type movie (based on the cover ) so it was disappointing at first. but once you get into the movie it's actually fun to watch though I wouldn't go out and tell all your friends to see this movie.
Out of 10, my score would be 7.

Reviewed by: David Harris
Date: 04/18/2001

You know it's Chinese New Year when there is a big budget star-studded Golden Harvest action movie in the cinemas. Now the biggest film of the new year period (and if memory serves it is in terms of box office second only to the Andy Lau / Sammi Cheung summer smash "Needing You") hits the home viewing market in a bewildering variety of formats - four limited edition VCD's (each one depicting the films main stars - Ekin Cheung, Tony Leung, Cecilia Cheung & Kelly Chen), regular VCD, regular DVD and a DTS DVD!

"Tokyo Raiders" is Director Jingle Ma's third film after "Hot War" & the summer 1999 smash "Fly Me To Polaris". He followed "Tokyo..." with the second biggest movie of this summer at the HK box office - the appropriately titled "Summer Holiday" with Richie Ren and the aforementioned Sammi Cheung. Jingle Ma is asides from being a rapidly rising director a vastly experienced cinematographer having worked on close on 50 films over the last 15 years - the films include Jet's "Fong Sai Yuk" and Jackie's classic "Drunken Master II".

The "Tokyo Raiders" story kicks off when Macy (Kelly Chen) realises that her Yakuza fiancee isn't going to show up on their wedding day. She goes to his flat / apartment but finds it empty save for "interior designer" Young (Ekin Cheng) who is owed money. They set off for Tokyo in order to track down the errant fiancee and while there they bump into another guy and find out from him that Macy's guy has run off with his girlfriend - from there as the old saying has it the plot thickens and everyone finds themselves in increasing danger when they get caught up in the middle of a conflict that features the Yakuza, the CIA and a counterfeit money operation.

Don't watch "Tokyo Raiders" if you like intense, bloody action as you simply will not get it. It is like Jingle Ma's debut film "Hot War" in that it is action light with an all-star cast - forgive me for using an very much over used cliché but there is something Bondesque about the story and the style of the film. You have the array of colourful villains, the dashing hero (make that heroes and heroines in this case) and lots of action but none of it too brutal and if you like that style then you'll love this film but for me - a major fan of Hong Kong triad films - this was just a little too lightweight.

All the principals give good performances although as you might expect the best of the bunch is from the Cannes Best Actor award winning Tony Leung (he won the award for the new Wong Kar-Wai film "In The Mood For Love"). Being the hugely experienced operator that he is Director Jingle Ma has certainly made the film look very good indeed but the chief problem lies not with him or with the actors but predictably the script - simply put there is just not enough substance. A lot of people will really dig this film and why not because it is in many respects unarguably top stuff but for me it just didn't hit the spot.

Reviewed by: Souxie
Date: 01/29/2001
Summary: Loved it

Loved it, loved, loved it! I really enjoyed this spy thriller come spoof come bit of fluff. It was a non-stop ride of fights, daft plot twists and most of all, Tony Leung Chiu-Wai. Good from beginning to end, as purely a bit of fun. If you're looking for something to entertain you for the afternoon, watch it! If you want something more serious, go find "The Tigers".
I especially liked the opening fight between Lin and his Japanese enemies, and the discussion in the back of his minivan after Macy has just passed out. Great acting, good comedy!

Reviewed by: Paul Fonoroff
Date: 11/23/2000

If packaging were everything, Tokyo Raiders would be the first outstanding Hong Kong movie of the new millennium. But, just as a glittering lai-see packet must ultimately judged by what is inside, this spy comedy loses some of its luster when the viewer goes beyond the arrestingly designed poster and eye-catching lobby cards.

There is no disputing the superb visual sense of cinematographer-turned-director Jingle Ma Cho-shing. Aided by a cast as glossy as the film’s high-tech Tokyo settings, Tokyo Raiders is nothing if not stylish. The various offices, clubs, and apartments deserve multi-page spreads in Vogue or Vanity Fair, a tribute to the art direction of Yee Chung-man and Kenneth Mak Kwok-keung. But pinning down exactly what the film is is another matter. This is not a raucous spoof, a la Austin Powers; nor is it a James Bond-style comedy thriller; nor does it have the sophistication of Hitchcock or Charade, though there are bits reminiscent of all these strands. There is even an aimless Emma Peel-like cameo by Cecelia Cheung Pak-chi.

The “usual suspect” is a weak script, by Susan Chan and Felix Chong, that has plenty of twists and turns but doesn’t pack much of a wallop. When “all” is ultimately revealed, the conspiracy at the movie’s core is so ludicrous that it is neither compelling nor, more damaging, does it capture the viewer’s imagination.

The trio of leads are certainly attractive enough. Tony Leung Chiu-wai is Lin, a Chinese private detective in Tokyo (a role which seems tailor-made for the wacky zaniness of Stephen Chiau Sing-chi). Lin is assigned to track down the whereabouts of a mysterious Japanese businessman, Takahashi (Nakamura Toru). Takahashi has disappeared, leaving his fiancée, Macy (Kelly Chan Wai-lam) alone at an altar in Las Vegas. She comes to Tokyo for an explanation, accompanied by an uninvited fellow-traveler, Yung (Ekin Cheng Yi-kin). He is an interior designer and martial arts expert (where else but Hong Kong cinema could you have such a combination), and wants to find Takahashi to settle the huge debt incurred when Yung built the couple’s love nest. Not surprisingly, Takahashi’s trail is a complicated one, involving the yakuza and CIA.

It certainly sounds like everything you need for a tongue-in-cheek thriller. But while there is much pleasant “wallpaper” to engage the eyes, there isn’t much to engage the mind. One doesn’t expect intellectual stimulation, but something to keep the brain cells caring about what will happen next. Unfortunately, there is a pretty blandness to it all and even the myriad action scenes never cause one to sit on the edge of one’s seat.

There is at least one fight every reel, with the first twenty minutes alone having three combat sequences. As staged by Alien Chun Wai-sit, these are imaginative enough, taking advantage of the Tokyo locations and employing such novel means of transportation as motorized skateboards, bicycles, and those huge trucks that transport new cars. But novelty does not necessarily mean excitement. One admires the skill and money that go into these sequences, but we almost never feel that these people are in danger, let alone a life-and-death struggle. Take the scene where Macy hangs from a speeding boat as it clips through a canal. I don’t think anyone believes that either Macy or actress Kelly was ever in any mortal peril, so there isn’t much edge to the whole thing. Compared to Michelle Yeoh’s motorcycle stunt in Supercop, it’s just kid’s play.

Tokyo Raiders is an improvement over Ma’s directorial debut, Hot Wars (a Christmas release in 1998). The two are similar in genre and cast (Kelly Chan and Ekin Cheng), and share a similar lack of substance—glossy, far-fetched, beautifully shot but little to occupy the intellect. Tokyo Raiders benefits from its refusal to take itself so seriously, and another big plus is the absence of a mawkish subplot. Even more thankfully, Tokyo Raiders has none of the maudlin sentimentality of Jingle Ma’s last picture, the box office hit Fly Me to Polaris. Armed with a script as evocative as his visuals, Ma could create something special.

This review is copyright (c) 2000 by Paul Fonoroff. All rights reserved. No part of the review may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

Reviewed by: shelly
Date: 11/04/2000
Summary: Impressively good fun

Like many others, I was surprised to discover how enjoyable and impressive this 2000 New Year's film was. Tony Leung Chiu-wai brings as so much charm, energy and a roguish sense of playfulness to the main role that it reminded me of Chow Yun-fat at his best. Even Dior Cheng does positively no harm. Superior to all the budget-heavy, effects-based action machines of the past year (Purple Storm, 2000 A.D., Gen-X Cops). Although it's closest to the latter, with a built-in sense of fun and knowing self-mockery. Add Jingle Ma's gift for hyper-active, constantly inventive cinematography, and the film more than makes up for its unfortunate loss of drive and energy in its second hour.

Reviewer Score: 8

Reviewed by: Dai Lo
Date: 08/30/2000
Summary: Entertaining

A very entertaining and stylish movie which is what one should expect from a chinese new year movie which is the equivalent to a summer blockbuster. The plot is simple, the actors are pretty, and the action is fast paced with some humour thrown in for good measure. A good movie as it does what its suppose to do entertain.
man-kin chan

Reviewed by: resdog781
Date: 08/24/2000

One of the most fun-filled movies I've seen in a long time coming out of HK, recalling the golden age of Jackie Chan, updated for Y2K.

Lots of fun action scenes with a pretty crappy climax (a boat chase? come on.) a lot of which reminded me of Jackie Chan's stuff (Tony Leung fighting with the umbrella at the beginning, etc) But this film as a pretty incongruous soundtrack. Latin-accented house music while everybody's kung-fu fighting in Tokyo?? Where'd that come from? Is Lou Bega suddenly doing HK movie soundtracks now??

Tony Leung seemed to have fun in this one as the prissy secret agent / private investigator who'd rather comb his hair than fight with the Yakuza goons, drawing inspiration from everything including Inspector Gadget, Maxwell Smart, Charlie's Angels and of course, Jackie Chan. Kelly Lam is supposedly one of the most beautiful HK actresses nowadays, but something about her didn't really click with me. I enjoyed the cute Japanese "Angels" that Tony employed a lot more. Ekin Cheung lays the smackdown as quite possibly the world's first and only martial arts interior decorator, and the Japanese dude who plays the Yakuza boss No is menacing enough, but doesn't really do anything about it except smoke and make really wheezy threats.

And you gotta love that fat Yakuza henchman that Tony zaps (twice!) with his stun gun.

Reviewed by: magic-8
Date: 08/15/2000
Summary: Great Action Over Plot

"Tokyo Raiders" is a fun-filled movie that's as fast as the action is smooth. Jingle Ma does a fantastic job with this movie released for Chinese New Year, which is to Hong Kong what the summer movie is to Hollywood. This means that the pace is furious and the plot is secondary to the action. Tony Leung and Ekin Cheng strut their stuff throughout the film. The action choreography by Ailen Sit Chun Wai is spot on, taking a page out of the Jackie Chan school of mayhem. The leads perform many of their own stunts during the fight scenes, which are laced with humor, somewhat reminiscent of the action-comedies of the '80s. Kelly Chan runs around Japan trying to find her lost groom to be. Ekin plays a private investigator posing as an interior designer, who follows along with Kelly looking for Toru Nakayama, a Yakuza member who is actually a CIA agent that everyone is deperate to find. Tony plays a gadget-laden, Japanese spy, with a bevy of cute women in his employ. Cecilia Cheung displays her winning charm as one of them, but mostly in a large cameo role.

The script by Chan and Chong is the weakest part of the movie, next to Kelly's performance, which was listless and unengaging. The plot was made too overly confusing as the characters try to unravel the disappearance of Nakayama, peeling away one layer after another in an attempt to add drama and tension. The characters also became too involved with the appearance of not being who you think they are. This is where the script writers added exposition instead of character development. Jingle Ma, a cinematographer in most of his earlier works, becomes too cute in having the camera frenetically move all over the place. This is very effective during the action sequences, but instead of using the technique sparingly, the jumpy camera movement is used throughout the film, and is, at times, annoying.

Overall, "Tokyo Raiders" goes beyond its limitations to be a winning effort, and one of the most entertaining movies this year.

Reviewed by: MilesC
Date: 08/11/2000
Summary: Could it be...

Am I seeing what I think I'm seeing? A brainless but entertaining Hong Kong action movie that doesn't look like the director's tryout for Hollywood? When was the last time we saw this, Drunken Master II?

Make no mistake, this movie is dumb. But unlike the other recent big-budget actioners, this movie isn't the victim of screenwriters desperately trying to work in every Hollywood cliche; it's just a dumb movie that revels in its own silliness. The opening ten minutes set the tone and pace, with Tony Leung employing some nice fighting skills and an array of wacky weaponry to fend off some unidentified thugs while the wacky soundtrack and Jingle Ma's so-stylish-it's-ridiculous camerawork hammer home the fact that you're not watching something that's meant to be taken seriously. Ma's philosophy seems to be "why just move the camera when I can be constantly speeding things up and slowing down? When spend three seconds panning when I could just remove every other frame?" Some people may find this irritating, particularly during the action scenes, but I thought that, given the movie they were in, the techniques worked well to highlight the action and keep up the pace during the downtime.

The cast is fair enough. Tony Leung, naturally, carries the movie, being the only real actor. Kelly Chen has never annoyed me, but then she's also never impressed me; no change here, especially since her character really doesn't have much to do. As for Ekin... This is his most tolerable performance in a major role that I've seen. He's not supposed to be stoicly heroic or carry the movie with his cool; he's just a goofy guy with some nice moves. The supporting players, being Japanese, are unfamiliar to me, but they generally do fine. I really liked Tony's female sidekicks, there was just something about them that was so knowingly cheesy.

Now for the middle-to-bad news. There's really practically no plot or real script. I would, of course, blast most movies for this, but I think this one mostly gets away with it. Unfortunately, the plot twists employeed in the middle of the movie aren't taken as far as they should've been; I was hoping for a "God of Gamblers" style deus ex machina ending where everyone changes allegiances at the last minute in order to neatly wrap up the plot. Unfortunately, people just switch and stay switched. The movie also ends on a low note action-wise, in the movie's only real nod to American-style action movies: a tepid boat chase and a dull punch-up. Boring, and, of course, the last impression is the most important.

I can't whole-heartedly recommend Tokyo Raiders, probably at least partially because I was exhausted when I watched it. It's not a clever movie at all, and the finale is, as with all big-budget actioners these days, weak. Still, for the first time in a while, they actually managed to provide enough action and laughs that you won't be sitting there picking the story apart out of boredom. Buy it sight unseen? No way. I could easily understand someone hating this movie if the direction and lack of a script didn't "click" for them. It's definitely worth seeing for yourself, though.

Reviewed by: Sydneyguy
Date: 07/23/2000
Summary: Ummm.............

I AGREE with most of what Ryan said for once about this movie!! A bit predictable (Like Ekin Cheung's character is a interior designer yet he can kick ass?) and the action scenes TRY to be a Jackie Chan movie but doesn't pull it off!! I felt a bit bored watching the action actually........
and a better plot would help!!

I saw a really bad quality version of this movie so that may effect my score on this one!!


Reviewed by: ryan
Date: 01/29/2000
Summary: Good action and cinematography but without plot

Tokyo Raiders (2000)
Directed by: Jingle MA Chor-shing
Casting: Tony LEUNG Chiu-wai, Ekin CHENG Yi-kin, Kelly CHEN Wai-lam, Cecilia CHEUNG Pak-chi, Torua Nakamura
Category: II B
Running Time: 100 minutes
Date of Grand Opening in HK: 29 January 2000 at Golden Harvest Circuit

After the weeks of release of tons of Class B or C local movies, finally the Chinese New Year movies come. This year Golden Harvest does not show up Jackie CHAN movie as he is busy with he production of Hollywood movie "Shanghai Noon". Instead, GH puts up Jingle MA's "Tokyo Raiders" with a frash combination of castings -- Tony LEUNG Chiu-wai and Ekin CHENG Yi-kin.

On Macy (Kelly CHAN Wai-lam)'s wedding day, her fiance Yakuza does not show up. Searching for her fiance she finds his apartment empty, but meets Young (Ekin CHENG Yi-kin), the fiance's interior designer, who is owed money. The pair decide to go to Tokyo in search of the vanishing groom. Once again they find his flat empty, but meet someone else on the same trail - a member of the Japanese Mafia, the Yakuza - Macy's fiance has run off with his girlfriend. The plot thickens and the pair are drawn into a complex web of intrigue involving the Yakuza, the CIA and large amounts of counterfeit money, and they already know too much.

"Tokyo Raiders" is Jingle MA Chor-shing's third direction. His first direction "Hot War" is unsatisfactory while his last direction "Fly Me to Polaris" gained word-of-mouth from audiences. This results in the expectation of "Tokyo Raiders"amng audiences.

In terms of the action and cinematography, "Tokyo Raiders" is fantastic. Starting from the first minute of the movie till the end of the movie, over 80% of the film is the actions done by either Ekin CHENG or Tony LEUNG Chiu-wai. Action designer SIT Chun-wai has design a large variety of action. From streets to Yan (Tony LEUNG Chiu-wai)'s apartment, from the streets to the sea. This shows that the movie has been hard in building up excitement by action.

Some of the action details is also interesting like the making use of home appliances and furniture as tools for fighting. The different kinds of tools for fighting also gives audience some sort of excitement. However, it would be questionable if you ask for some of the source of the tools.

Tony LEUNG Chiu-wai and Ekin CHENG Yi-kin hsa done most of the actions. In terms of action, they have done well. In terms of overall performance, Tony LEUNG Chiu-wai is shining over the whole movie. He is so cool is his facial expressions the the group of his female partner around her.

In terms of cinematorgraphy, "Tokyo Raiders" is also cool. Cinematorgrapher is ableto catch what audiences want to see in the movie to make it fantastic.

However, we cannot consider "Tokyo Raiders" as a cool production in 2000.

Like his previous "Hot War", the main problem of Jingle MA Chor-shing in "Tokyo Raiders" is the plot. Actions are okay but the plot is too weak to support the movie. For a few individual sub-plot, the movie is trying to put Macy as an emotional person but there is not enough contexts to convince audience. For example, there should have been some description on the romance between Macy and her fiance and there should have more sub-plot on the romance between Ekin CHENG, Tony LEUNG Chiu-wai and Kelly CHEN so as to build up the conflicting character of Macy.

Ekin CHENG's character has been set up badly. In the movie, his role is to relax the stressful pace of the whole movie. Unfortunately, his dialogues is so annoying. Together with his negative news on the daily newspaper entertainment section, audience are not feeling comfortable with him in the movie.

In short, "Tokyo Raiders" looks like Golden Havest's Jackie Chan new year movie with all the charactistics -- good action and cinematography but without plot.

Written by Ryan Law from Hong Kong Movie DataBase on 29 January 2000.