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男兒本色 (2007)
Invisible Target

Reviewed by: Hyomil
Date: 04/07/2011

Reviewer Score: 8

Reviewed by: dandan
Date: 07/14/2010
Summary: bullseye...

when a gang of professional thieves, led by tien yeng seng (wu jing), rob a security van using explosives devices, the resultant blast kills, all-action cop, chan chun's (nicholas tse) fiance. tien and his gang (including andy on) flee with $100,000, seemingly, dropping from the face of the earth. six months later, hard-boiled cop, fong (shawn yue) and his team pull over a suspicious vehicle, only to be brutally attacked by tien and his gang; they're back in town with some unfinished business.

the only link the police have to tien's gang is the missing, ex-cop, wai king tat's (aaron kwok - does a photo count as a cameo?) brother, wai king ho (jaycee chan). wai is a humble, straight-laced cop who plays by the rules and is happy to get by, being amiable; he is deeply upset to find that his older brother now seems to be affiliated with such a vicious gang, even if he hasn't seen or heard from him for six months. chan and fong, thinking alike, track down wai to see if he has information about his brother which can lead them to tien. wai knows nothing but, after a run in with some small-time hoods, the three begin to bond and set out to track down tien's gang and figure out why they've cme back to hong kong.

after ushering jackie chan back into the bosom of hong kong, benny chan has been doing his best to churn out some quality hong kong blockbusters; i wasn't a great fan of 'new police story', but i quite enjoyed the slightly convoluted 'divergence' and the rather silly 'rob-b-hood'. i'm very pleased to say that 'invisible target' is the most successful of this quartet; sitting somewhere between 'divergence' and 'new police story', in tone and content, but surpassing both of them in terms of quality.

'invisible target' mixes a weaving narrative, with just the right amount of twists and turns (unlike 'divergence', which went over-egged its pudding), and some full-on action that delivers more than 'new police story' did. there's even room for some well placed comedy, hitting a lot more often than it misses; particularly in scenes which involve wai's grandmother and the lighter moments that take place between the three leads. the narrative moves at a good pace and is as strong as required, even if there's a few moments of melodrama which cause the occasional stutter, but it is by no means the main attraction.

'invisible target' is probably the best action film to come out of hong kong; all things considered. it's not the best martial arts or crime drama, but i think it has the action bases pretty well covered. from the start of this project, benny chan had always stressed that he wanted his leads to do as much of their own stunt-work as possible; choosing nicholas tse and shawn yue, who had impressed him in 'dragon tiger gate', and wu jing, who seems to be re-establishing himself as a talent to watch closely, after 's.p.l.' and 'fatal contact'. then there's jaycee chan...

to say jaycee puts in the least physical performance is true. however, he still manages to take his fair share of kicks, punches and falls, even dishing out some beatings when required: he is his own man though and, unlike the amiable cop that his father used to play so well, jaycee is not an action lead. jaycee's strength is in his earnest portrayal, his ability to gel our three heroes together and in the comedy that he brings to the film; especially when juxtaposed with the non nonsense approach of both nicholas and shawn's characters. perhaps my biggest criticism of the film involve the scenes of melodrama that involve the young chan. now, i'm not sure if a better actor could have done better or if a stronger script could have helped him out; either way, these moments are easily forgotten in the grand scheme of things.

after the film's pyrotechnic introduction and gunplay, shawn yue is the first person to get his hands dirty; taking on a bunch of lam suet's hoods in a restaurant. this pretty much sets the tone for the film's action; very physical, with decent choreography, editing and more broken glass than i've seen in any other film. shawn does a good job, as the slightly older member of the trio, who still finds himself getting into more than his fair share of scrapes; looking good whether he's kicking ass, being beaten by wu jing or holding a firearm.

nicholas tse, though, is the film's real action star; he's come a very long way since 'young and dangerous : the prequel'. nic does a very good job here; whether he's chasing people across rooftops, going one-on-one with wu jing or fighting off a bunch of hoods, alongside jaycee or shawn. it is the aforementioned rooftop chase which provides one of the films most exciting sequences; beginning with a gunfight, things soon degenerate into hand-to-hand combat and reach a crescendo with an exciting pursuit across rooftops and through the streets. it's been a while since we've seen hong kong stars take such risks and produce such effective results as a consequence; lets hope that Mr tse keeps up the good work.

finally, there's wu jing. after his early career promised so much, wu jing seemed to fall out of the loop, until he came back into view with his excellent turn in 's.p.l.' and his outstanding performance in 'fatal contact'; sure the film was flawed, but his physical performance was a joy to watch. here, his character is slightly under-written and he isn't given as much exposure as he was in 'fatal contact', but his contribution shows him to be the most talented martial artist presence in the film.

so, despite not having the greatest martial arts or gunplay, that we've seen in recent years, when all the elements of the film are put together, with some gentle cgi enhancement, a wealth of pyrotechnics and smashed glass, putting it simply; 'invisible target' delivers on all fronts. more of the same, please...

Reviewed by: Sydneyguy
Date: 04/14/2009
Summary: Great, a lot better than expected, high production values

Ive almost forgotten this movie existed and by chance my local dvd store had this for hire. I am a man starved of action films from hong kong so watching this, i had certain expectations, actually low ones but this was a lot better than i expected.

This feels like a movie showcasing the younger generation of actors,no longer rookies at there jobs but showing they have matured and grown.

What is impressed me, apart from the high production values, is the action scenes are not overdone (well, the first time you seen Shawn Yu,that action scene was a little over the top, its like he had the strength of Hecules) but are fast paced and exciting. The action scenes seem to have a lot of energy in them, And since Nicolas tse and Shawn Yu were in "dragon tiger gate" together, the same intencity is shown in thsi movie too.

Jaycee Chan plays his part well, but like Twins effect 2, i was expecting hsi father to pop out somewhere.

Its also great to see Ken Lo and Mark Cheng in a big budget movie, they are both quite under rated!!

Jacky Wu though shows once again he belongs in action movies, despite his baby face.He seems to be the real deal and the future of action/martial arts movies in Hong kong.

OVerall it was a great experience, worth watching!!

Reviewer Score: 8

Reviewed by: cal42
Date: 12/02/2007
Summary: Visible Excitement

Chan Chun (Nicholas Tse) is a cop who lost his fiancée when a jewellery shop gets blown up as a result of a hit on an armoured car. Carson Fong (Shawn Yu) is another cop who is beaten and humiliated by a criminal gang. Wai King-Ho is yet another cop, this time one who has lost his brother. All three join up to bring down the Tien gang headed by Tien Yeng-Seng (Wu Jing), the gang responsible for all three officers’ circumstances.

INVISIBLE TARGET starts out with a bang not unlike a Hollywood blockbuster. It serves as a plot point in that Chan Chun’s fiancée gets killed (no great loss – she doesn’t have her own voice. I don’t think I could ever love a woman who was badly dubbed) and sends him on a path of revenge. It easily brings to mind films like DIE HARD and you start to worry that this is going to be yet another Hong Kong film aping Hollywood and failing miserably. While this is true to a small degree regarding the CGI, let me put your fears at rest and tell you categorically that INVISIBLE TARGET is a darn good romp.

Nicholas Tse gets a lot of stick for his film work (I admit I’ve never heard a note of his music and am quite happy to keep it that way) but fair’s fair, he puts on a good show as the haunted young cop out for revenge. I must admit that Shawn Yu has previously slipped under my radar, but he also impresses as Tse’s partner by circumstance. Jaycee Chan is so earnest and serious as Wai King-Ho that his character seems to verge on parody at times, and is the least believable of the trio. In one early scene, we see him giving CPR to a foul-smelling vagrant without showing any signs of discomfort while those around him are blowing their lunch. He then modestly goes home to his grandma. He strikes you as the kind of person who wouldn’t think twice about risking his life to save a bunch of young children on a bomb-laden bus, an opinion that is reinforced later in the film where he risks his life to save a bunch of young children on a bomb-laden bus, oddly enough. Nevertheless, Wai King-Ho is the glue for the partnership of the three disparate cops. He is searching for his brother, who may or may not have gone undercover in the Tien gang. Seeing Jaycee Chan in action is an uncomfortable sensation – seeing someone who is clearly the son of Jackie Chan doing fight scenes brings a weird feeling of deja vu and brings up the inevitability of the passage of time. It sure made ME feel old, anyway.

Wu Jing will be familiar to all who have seen the somewhat over-rated SPL, and many will agree he was the best thing about that movie. One great compliment to this film is that Wu Jing is still great, but he’s no longer the best (or at least the only good) thing about the project. Whereas most Hong Kong action films fail these days to entertain (for me at least) due to a number of reasons, INVISIBLE TARGET succeeds, and a lot of that goes down to a more back-to-basics approach to the stuntwork and action choreography. It still goes over the top occasionally, and some of the wirework doesn’t stand up to scrutiny, but the good far outweighs the bad. In fact, after a couple of action scenes I could have sworn they were accompanied by the same tinny, lo-fi synth music that went with all those great 80’s action scenes. Upon rewinding, I found this was not the case, but it’s an interesting association.

The film – at ten minutes over two hours – is slightly too long, but paradoxically doesn’t feel bloated with extraneous material. There are some nice plot turns and interesting characters to root for and hiss at, and a couple of really standout moments. The scene where the gangster explains to Wai King-Ho, without malice or bravado, what happened to his brother and how he felt about it is one such outstanding moment.

So despite being too long and having a corny character or two, Invisible Target is still very much worth a watch, and I’m looking forward to a second viewing already.

Reviewer Score: 8

Reviewed by: mrblue
Date: 09/29/2007

It's not secret that the Hong Kong film industry isn't close to the heights it attained during its' "golden age". And after seeing recent junk like Fight for Love, one might question why they even continue to try and watch their output. But then a movie like Invisible Target comes along. It's nothing fancy or thought-provoking, but it definitely delivers thrills, and gives at least some hope that the spirit of classic Hong Kong action cinema is still alive and well.

The movie centers around a group of Mainland robbers (led by Wu Jing) who come to Hong Kong to pull off an armored truck robbery. The gang escapes with the loot, which eventually brings three different cops (Nicholas Tse, Shawn Yu, and Jaycee Chan) together, who each want to bring down the gang for their own reasons. Things get siginificantly more complicated as it is revealed that the gang has a man inside the police force, who has turned the tables on the trio and made them into wanted criminals.

So Invisible Target's plot isn't all that complicated, nor does it have a reason to be. It does suffer a bit of bloat, particularly during the second act where a lot of sub-plots are introduced and an ending that drags on a little, but overall, Invisible Target does a fine job telling an interesting story without insulting or boring the viewer.

The acting really helps to move things along and make the story more relevant. Okay, there's nothing award-winning here, but all of the actors do a good job. Nicholas Tse and Shawn Yu are probably the two best young actors working in Hong Kong nowadays and make great anchors for the film. Wu Jing seems to gravitate to villainous roles (i.e., SPL) and does an outstanding job.

Even Jaycee Chan (Jackie's son) does a fine take in what could be a stereotypical role (the overzealous rookie). He does go over the top at times, but in comparision to his debut in Twins Mission II, it's like night and day. Benny Chan is a director not often noted for the performances in his films, but he must have worked some real magic with Chan.

But at any rate, in films like this, the story is really just an excuse to get to the next action scene. And what action we have here. Sure, there are a couple shots that have obvious CGI tweaking, but for the most part, this is the fast and hard-hitting stuff Hong Kong action junkies have come to know and love through the years. I really hope the stuntmen got hazard pay on this production, because there are plenty of wince-inducing moments.

Invisible Target was just such a refreshing change from what we usually get nowadays from both HK and the US, which usually looks so slick and video game-like that it takes out any impact. Believe you me, there is imapct to spare in the action scenes. This is some of the best stuff Hong Kong has produced in years.

That might not be saying much give HK's output as of late, but I would rank this as something that would fit just fine alongside those movies from the 80's and 90's that are considered cornerstones of the genre. If you consider yourself an action fan, go out and see this movie now. You will not be disappointed.

[review from]

Reviewer Score: 8

Reviewed by: leepifer
Date: 08/24/2007
Summary: Benny Chan is not invisible...

And he wants to show that he can be a leader of this new generation who wants to take the power...Well, they don't rule yet.
Anyway, it's a good entertainment with high class action.I'm impressed by Nicky Li's work on this film.There is plenty of action and actors have paid from their bodies some pain.Nicholas Tse is perfoming some stunts here that assure the show(Watch how he wants to take the bus when he's late;-).
Tse and Yu do not have the bodies cut to make equal play with Wu Jing but their rage and determination give them finally the sufficient athletic side to fight hard.
Wu Jing is in a bad guy role and he is the orphan'gang leader involved in a van-bank robbery who turns in a betraying story.It wouldn't fit him if SPL wasn't passed by there but he seems have fun to play the bloody guy,even if he's not yet enough "heavy", as Sammo for example ;-)).Andy On is his fellow fighter but his limited role doesn't permit him to be taken serious by audience when he tells stories to Jaycee Chan.This last one has an alternative role, almost in a "my father speech morale"!He tries to be dramatic and coherent but he's not really plausible.But he's got something, a real goodwill to exist and he makes progress at each new film.

Tse got a more strong screen presence than others actors but they all manage quite well to let the story being told.
Script is not bad although it got some holes,especially in the middle film, but progression'story is quite logical to be interested by.

All in all, a good time is assured with this big production, a sort of light response to SPL and NPS from this new generation who is preparing to take the power soon...but not today.

Reviewer Score: 7