Review: 2000 A.D. 公元2000 AD (2000) | Casey's Movie Mania | Movie Reviews, Features & Others

Saturday, 5 February 2011

Review: 2000 A.D. 公元2000 AD (2000)


Chinese New Year's trend of high-tech action fave continues with 2000 A.D., another big-budget Hong Kong production that tries to catapult the current box-office success of TOKYO RAIDERS. On the surface, though, this movie sounds more promising especially with the much-anticipated return of director Gordon Chan, who previously helmed the multiple award-winning BEAST COPS (1998). But like TOKYO RAIDERS, the movie is all high-gloss but ultimately shallow deep within.

The movie begins promisingly though, with charismatic terrorist leader Kevin (Andrew Lin Hoi) blows an airliner out of the sky above Singapore before the pace slows down its momentum as the plot moves to Hong Kong, where Peter Li (Aaron Kwok), a bespectacled and nerdy computer programmer who gets caught in the web of nasty computer virus war when his brother Greg (Ray Lui Leung-Wai) is exposed as a CIA agent. Soon Peter, along with his best friend, Benny (Daniel Wu) and Benny's sister, Janet (Gigi Choi Lok-Chi) goes deep as they determined to find out what makes Greg such a wanted person. And long before they know it, the CIA, the Hong Kong police, lead by Ronald Ng (Francis Ng) and even a Singapore secret agent in the form of Eric Ong (James Lye) and especially Kevin, want Greg badly for the ultimate computer program capable to destory any computer database on the planet. Adding to the complication is Greg's fiancee, Salina (Phyllis Quek) who is actually more than she looks.

Gordon Chan and Stu Zicherman's script is no doubt favored for Hollywood-like storytelling method but for all the high-tech trapping, the movie feels surprisingly pedestrian with little emotion involved and the sudden burst of comic relief is very much out of proportion.

And then the cast are mostly forgettable, with the sadly miscast Aaron Kwok looking awkward for playing a nerdy computer programmer who happened to know a lot about martial-arts. It is like as if Gordon Chan wanted to gloom him as the next Jackie Chan, only with lesser success. Still Francis Ng steals the whole limelight out of everybody with his no-nonsense, world-weary police officer who really make full use of his otherwise thankless role into a well-modulated character that we actually rooting him for. It's just too bad his screen time is pretty much limited and he's very missed for when his character is written off. In fact, he is just so good that the Hong Kong Film Award rewarded him a Best Supporting Actor win.

If anything else least good about this movie is Chan's skillful direction when comes to action department. With the superior aid of famed action coordinator Yuen Tak, the action is reasonably top-notch: the two gunfights, one with the ambush sequence the car burst off the ground, flipped and hit the car that escorted Greg, and another one in the multi-level parking garage. On the plus side, there is an earlier brutal fight scene between Aaron Kwok and the high-kicking Ken Lo as well as a dramatic car chase scene, which is shot in Singapore. Too bad Chan is losing momentum towards the lackluster finale in the Singapore's convention center where the action is decidedly stripped as minimal as possible.

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