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雙瞳 (2002)
Double Vision

Reviewed by: MrBooth
Date: 01/08/2006

Double Vision is a horror movie from Taiwan that may be "The Next Big Thing" amongst Asian film lovers. It stars Tony Leung Ka-Fai as an intense, troubled Taiwanese detective and David Morse as an FBI agent sent to assist the Taiwanese cops in the investigation of a serial killer (since America produces more of those than any other country, the FBI are considered to be the world's experts).

It doesn't take much to discover that there's something very strange about the killings. The first victim is a business man, found frozen to death in his office on a hot day when the air conditioning was off. The second, a politician's wife is found burnt to death in her home - which shows no signs of fire damage.

The Taiwanese cops are convinced the case is simply insolvable, as it is clearly the work of devils or demons. David Morse, sceptic that he is, is quite convinced the deaths are the work of human hands.

Playing out rather like a multinational episode of the x-files, the film is infused with Taiwanese Taoism and the notion that there is more to the world than the ordinary human eye can see. Well, what good horror movie isn't?

Tony Leung gives a fantastic performance as the intense, haunted cop, and David Morse fares better than most Western actors do in Asian productions. The film is very slick, with high production values and great cinematography (from Hong Kong legend Arthur Wong). It doesn't all make a lot of sense, if you try to think about it too much, but that's just an aspect of horror movies I guess I will get used to one day. Scares are not constant, but are effective.

The script mixes together a large number of elements, and in particular contains far more political content than usually makes it into horror movies. Although clearly made with the international market in mind, it is very much focused on Taiwanese culture and history.

Although the film tries to be smart, and perhaps by horror standards is, the presence of several lapses of logic frustrated me quite a bit. I never seem to get it, but I always wish a horror movie would actually make logical sense. I guess this is usually compromised for "I didn't see that coming" type scares and twists, and so it is in DOUBLE VISION. This is the primary reason why I'm not a horror movie fan, and was never going to *love* DV. For those that enjoyed THE RING and its ilk, I'm sure DOUBLE VISION will be perfectly satisfying. It's certainly a glossy production that attempts to cover a lot of ground, sometimes with success.

Reviewer Score: 5

Reviewed by: Libretio
Date: 10/14/2005
Summary: Ravishing, stately, embalmed...


Aspect ratio: 2.39:1 (Panavision)
Sound formats: Dolby Digital / SDDS

Following a series of baffling murders in which the victims died under mysterious circumstances, Taiwanese police engage the services of an FBI agent (David Morse) who joins forces with a disgraced cop (Tony Leung Ka-fai) and traces the clues back to a murderous religious sect...

Produced by the Asian wing of Columbia Pictures, DOUBLE VISION is a beautifully-made bore. With its moody visuals and stately pace, Chen Kuo-fo's torturous film aspires to something more upmarket than your average 'slasher' movie, and the results are pretty mixed, to say the least: Too 'arty' for the multiplex crowd, and too commercial for Art-house audiences, DOUBLE VISION swaps atmosphere for action at almost every turn, save for a violent massacre toward the end of the film and a confusing climax which suggests a supernatural explanation for the murders before going off in a different direction altogether. In fact, Chen's kid-glove treatment of the established 'serial killer' formula - a series of outrageous crimes, followed by an investigation in which an assortment of details lead to a final confrontation with the killer - suggests an aversion to the material that extends all the way down to the murders themselves, few of which are especially graphic, except for a couple of CGI-enhanced eruptions early in the movie, and the narrative suffers accordingly.

On the plus side, Morse and Leung are well-matched as cops from opposite sides of the world, forced to set aside their cultural differences in order to track the killer to his/her lair. Morse is OK, as usual, but Leung has the showier role, playing an honest man whose life is in turmoil following a recent tragedy in which his young daughter was taken hostage by an officer whom Leung had accused of corruption. Rene Liu (FLEEING BY NIGHT) plays Leung's wife, a lost soul struggling to cope with the fall-out from her husband's guilty conscience. Grim stuff, in every sense of the word. The uncensored director's cut - available on DVD in Asia - adds more gore to the proceedings, but little else. Gorgeous production values, expansive widescreen compositions and a busy soundtrack aside, the movie is a wash-out.

(Mandarin and English dialogue)

Reviewer Score: 3

Reviewed by: magic-8
Date: 12/12/2003
Summary: Exciting in Fits and Spurts

"Double Vision" is part police thriller and part horror movie. As an Asian horror movie, "Double Vision" uses Taoism for its foundation. It also takes the serial killer motif from West to East, combining David Morse with Tony Leung, as the respective nationals and investigators for the United States and Taiwan.

"Double Vision" is an ambitious project with Hollywood backing and the requisite CGI. The investigation of a cult and its members was intermixed with Leung's domestic struggles. "Double Vision" uses a common plot and spices things up with some Eastern mysticism. By bringing David Morse in, the movie explores themes that are both foreign and universal, exposing the commonality among the police and the killers they hunt.

Although Leung's domestic problems are part of the film's payoff, they become part of the film's pacing problems. As the film shifts back and forth between Leung's domestic struggles and the serial killer investigation, it starts and stops and loses its momentum.

There are many fine thngs about "Double Vision," but the movie was in need of editing. Too much was thrown into the script. The film needed to strip away the tangential elements and emphasize the investigators and their work. By having all of the filler, the story rambles a bit too much and loses focus. Director Chen Kuo-fu does an able job, but tries too hard to please. "Double Vision" does stall once in a wile, but is generally entertaining.

Reviewed by: mrblue
Date: 09/25/2003

Every once in a while, a quality film slips under many people's radars. Double Vision definitely qualifies as one of the more under-rated movies to come out over the last couple of years, buried beneath a pile of over-hyped trash like Matrix Reloaded. This Taiwanese production is a tight little thriller that manages to capture some of the magic from Hong Kong film's "glory days", as well as displaying some of the spit-and-polish that comes from having a Hollywood studio back the proceedings. The end result is a great movie in the vein of Seven (with a bit of X-Files mixed in) executed with some more gusto.

Double Vision stars Tony Leung Ka-Fai as a burnt-out cop who lives at the police station shell-shocked after having to turn in his cousin on a corruption charge. After a series of mysterious murders, his superiors reluctantly team Leung up with a FBI agent (David Morse). The duo turn up a mysterious conspiracy led by rogue Taoist priests which leads them both down a dark path.

Unlike a lot of movies dealing with mysticism, Double Vision keeps its' focus pretty clear throughout the running time. There are a few twists and turns, but the matters never seem convoluted or forced, which is refreshing at this point in time, where far too many movies try to out-do movies like The Sixth Sense and plop on "big twists" during the film just for the sake of doing so. Things are helped along immensely by the performances of the two leads. Both David Morse and Tony Leung Ka-Fai are two of the better actors out there (the fact that Morse is stuck doing CBS dreck like "Hack" is a travesty) and Double Vision is another example where they put in solid work. They help flesh out the themes in the movie without going overboard, and a smart script (which thankfully doesn't fall into the "foreigner" cliches of movies like Rush Hour) provides them a solid foundation to work with.

Oh, and the gore. I've been waiting for so long for a new picture to deliver the goods in this department, and Double Vision does that. Some of the effects look a bit cheesy (too much CGI and not enough Karo syrup), but I'll take this kind of stuff over the PG-13 crap now pumped out by movie studios all over the world and considered "scary" by far too many people. Even the simple effects of a double pupil work very well, and some scenes literally have shredded limbs flying about -- all to great effect. When you combine the visceral thrill of the blood and guts along with a good story and acting, Double Vision is one of the best films this reviewer has seen in quite a while and well worth seeking out.

Reviewed by: Sydneyguy
Date: 06/08/2003
Summary: The chinese version of "Se7en"

The movie is about a series of unusual murders which calls for a FBI man from American to come help investigate. If i tell you more it would ruin the movie.

The movie is a little slow paced and does take a little while to get going. I find it strange that the case was handed over to the 2 main characters.

David Morse has always been a fine actor and Tony Leung plays his role well as a disturbed cop with a lot of family issues. But the OTHER COP (dont know his name) almost steals the show with his character.

This movie is actually CAT 3, and you will see why. One of the problems IS for the scene which is why the movie was given such a rating. I guess it has a shock value and is unexpected but almost feels like you are watching another movie because nothing else in the movie would give this movie a Cat 3 rating. They could of easily been a 2a or 2b rating if the shocking scene had reduced its effect.

While i didn't hate the movie, i didn't find it that great either. The unexpected twists feel TOO unexpected and maybe too much for this viewer. It takes about half an hour before things get going. What feels like a interesting movie turns into a supernatural dream sequence almost near the end. The ending did little to move me too.

One of the better horror/thrillers to come from asia but not one of the best.