Review: EXPECT THE UNEXPECTED 非常突然 (1998) | Casey's Movie Mania | Movie Reviews, Features & Others

Sunday, 20 February 2011

Review: EXPECT THE UNEXPECTED 非常突然 (1998)

Review: EXPECT THE UNEXPECTED 非常突然 (1998)

When a trio of inept Mainland robbers (among them are Collins, played by Lam Suet) botched a jewellery heist, a chain of violent event strikes in a matter of short time. Apparently, Collins make an escape into a nearby apartment building, inadvertently leading the police to the hideout of the second gang of criminals (led by Keiji Sato) who happened to be a much more vicious killing squad. Nevertheless, a shootout massacre ensues, leaving plenty of police officers dying mercilessly in the wake. Leading the case is the "O" department, headed by a no-nonsense, by-the-book sergeant Ken (Simon Yam) who is working hard to rectify the situation. His team is consisting of his mischievous lieutenant Sam (Lau Ching-Wan), veteran Ben (Hui Siu-Hung), and two rookies Macy (Ruby Wong) and Jimmy (Raymond Wong). While they are on the case, a minor love triangle occurs between Ken and Sam, who both shared the same affection with their key witness, a lovely waitress named Mandy (Yoyo Mung). Apparently, three of them were childhood friends, and Mandy is particularly fond of Ken. However, Ken spends too much time concentrating on his job and doesn't realise that Mandy has fallen in love with him. Still, Sam, who also have a crush for Mandy, decides to become a cupid of sorts and masterminded a series of plans in hope to hook up both Ken and Mandy together.

REVIEW: With an intriguing title like EXPECT THE UNEXPECTED, you would be expecting something different than your average cop thriller normally found in Hong Kong cinema. And for that alone, Patrick Yau's follow-up to his earlier Milkyway's nihilistic thriller, THE LONGEST NITE, is another curious beast worth checking out for. EXPECT THE UNEXPECTED has all the hallmarks of an uncompromisingly violent cop thriller that characterised the Milkyway's genre speciality and mixes them with a lightweight soap opera route. The result is a unique Hong Kong genre mishmash but mostly a heavily uneven piece of work.

Deep down, there's really nothing new beneath Chow Yin-Han, Szeto Kam-Yuen and Yau Nai-Hoi's screenplay except that the movie is best seen for its unique approach to surprise the viewers at the least expected moment. The lightweight moment, which happens to be the central attraction of the movie, is pretty much a corny love melodrama that sometimes feels awkward and most of the times, very annoying as well.

But on the other side, the pessimistic approach is what saved the movie from being a complete stinker. In EXPECT THE UNEXPECTED, anything can happen as Patrick Yau wanted to point out that life is fragile and of course, unpredictable. Being cops, especially in a tough division like the "O" department, can lead to deadly consequences. This is where the action sequences truly excel here, with the violent shootout and car chase that reminds the gritty work of Ringo Lam. Perhaps the most extraordinary set piece of all is the movie's unexpected surprise ending that is pretty downbeat and something of a disturbing shocker.

In the meantime, the cast is equally credible by the likes of Simon Yam and Lau Ching-Wan. Newcomer Yoyo Mung, who garnered a Best New Artist nomination for the Hong Kong Film Awards, is lovely to look at, though her acting leaves nothing much to be desired of.

Though EXPECT THE UNEXPECTED feels patchy in most parts, the movie remains one of the interesting Milkyway productions ever made and fans of Hong Kong genre cinema wouldn't want to give this a miss.

EXPECT THE UNEXPECTED is a heavily uneven cop drama almost ruined by the corny love story, even though Patrick Yau deserves some credit for his pessimistic approach in the action department.

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