Review: TRIPLE TAP 槍王之王 (2010) | Casey's Movie Mania | Movie Reviews, Features & Others

Saturday, 10 July 2010

Review: TRIPLE TAP 槍王之王 (2010)

Review: TRIPLE TAP 槍王之王 (2010)

TRIPLE TAP begins promisingly with a tense showdown between a successful investment banker named Ken Kwan (Louis Koo) and a by-the-book police detective, Jerry Chong (Daniel Wu), at an amateur shooting competition where they first meet as friendly adversaries. To Jerry's surprise, he finds out Ken manages to beat his all-time record who mastered the shooting technique, not twice but three times so lightning fast in exactly the same spot. After the competition, Ken is on his way somewhere when he stumbles upon an armoured truck heist at the underpass. During the heist, Ken reacts by gunning down four of the masked robbers after an unfortunate traffic cop (Andrew Lin) is being shot. However, the last robber (Chapman To) manages to escape. Ken's reckless action for shooting down the criminal may have been against the law, but his act of bravery and especially for saving the life of a traffic cop immediately made him a media attention. Still, he is facing criminal charges for illegal uses of the firearm. At first, Jerry has his own share of doubts over Ken's involvement in the shooting incident but Ken is fortunate enough to be proven not guilty during the court trial and being set free. Jerry remains sceptical because he believes Ken has a hidden agenda lying somewhere in between. On the other side, Ken is facing pressure of his own as he is seeing both women of his love -- one is Anna Shaw (Li Bingbing), her superior who often keeps a watchful eye on his ever-growing career in the investment banking firm, and another is a sweet-looking nurse named Ting (Charlene Choi). Soon enough, the missing robber is coming back to stalk Ken and this is where the suspicion has subsequently escalated to the point that Jerry begins to believe Ken might be the mastermind behind the armoured truck heist after all.

REVIEW: After the cinematic misfire of the highly-ambitious but bloated gangster drama SHINJUKU INCIDENT (2009), it's fair to say that Derek Yee's TRIPLE TAP looks promising enough worth checking out for. After all, TRIPLE TAP is actually a sequel of sorts to DOUBLE TAP (2000), in which he produced the movie and the one that starred the late Leslie Cheung. No doubt DOUBLE TAP was one of the best Hong Kong's action movies of the decade and it's no surprise that expectation is very high for TRIPLE TAP. What's more, it's also featured two of among today's hottest actors working today in the form of Louis Koo and Daniel Wu as the leads. But thanks to misleading marketing campaign and subsequent trailers that suggesting TRIPLE TAP follows the similar path of DOUBLE TAP proves to be an entirely different story altogether. Instead of an enjoyable movie that leans toward all the more action-packed vibe, TRIPLE TAP is a highly-complex, psychological thriller focusing on the battle of wits where word speaks louder than action.

Despite a promising start, which includes the armoured truck heist sequence that is nevertheless packed an engaging wallop, the movie is frequently undermined by its weighty issue of deep psychological evaluation. It's a kind of rare these days that a highly-commercial Hong Kong movie like TRIPLE TAP which uses such genre that commonly seen in Hollywood counterparts. No doubt it deserved somewhat a praise for attempting something out of the usual norm of a typical Hong Kong crime thriller. Except it's too bad that the plot, written by Chun Tin-Nam, Lau Ho-Leung and Derek Yee, is heavy-handed that ultimately drags the movie a lot. It's also painfully slow-moving, especially the movie isn't engaging enough as one might hope for. It doesn't help either when the movie deals with too many subplots regarding about Ken's relationship difficulties between Shaw and Ting.

The supposedly top-notch cast are somewhat mixed bag, with Louis Koo trying too hard to channel a multifaceted character. Too bad he's not as versatile as the late Leslie Cheung in the first movie. Instead, most of the time Koo is looking wooden and surprisingly lacklustre, especially given the fact he has been doing so good in a complex role for last year's ACCIDENT. Daniel Wu, on the other hand, is credible if nothing much to shout about as the straight-arrow cop. The rest of the supporting actors are sadly undermined, especially good actors like Li Bingbing and Alex Fong, who returns as Miu Chi-Shun, the burnt-out cop who appeared in the first movie.

Perhaps the biggest fault is Derek Yee's overly-ambitious direction for combining DOUBLE TAP and last year's OVERHEARD (in which he also produced) to craft a layered plot that not only involved with the art of shooting pattern but also a story about corporate chicanery. But for a title that goes as obvious as TRIPLE TAP, one might logically expect the movie to be more relevant to the subject matter of shooting and usage of the firearm. Sadly that particularly relevant topic only deals at the beginning and the finale. And speaking of the finale, the one-on-one duel between Ken and Jerry outside the hospital is somewhat disappointing, in which the payoff is too short and too little to justify as the entire whole.

TRIPLE TAP isn't a burning sensation as the high anticipation have suggested in the first place but remain decent enough to be watched for.

Despite the star-studded cast and a promising start, TRIPLE TAP is a painfully slow-moving thriller ruined by Louis Koo's wooden performance.

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