Review: PARADOX 杀破狼·貪狼 (2017) | Casey's Movie Mania | Movie Reviews, Features & Others

Wednesday, 23 August 2017

Review: PARADOX 杀破狼·貪狼 (2017)

Louis Koo in PARADOX 杀破狼·貪狼 (2017)

When the Hong Kong-based police officer Lee's (Louis Koo) teenage daughter (Hanna Chan) is found missing in Pattaya, he teams up with a Thai Chinese cop Chui Kit (Wu Yue) to search for her whereabouts. Soon, they discover she is abducted by kidnappers (led by Chris Collins' Sacha) who involves in organ-trafficking business. Things get complicated when her abduction is subsequently tied to Cheng (Lam Ka-Tung), a political aide looking for an immediate heart donor to save the mayor's life.

REVIEW: From the organ-trafficking business to the Thailand setting, PARADOX looks as if it tries to remake the similarly-themed SPL 2: A TIME FOR CONSEQUENCES (2015). Besides, this latest action thriller is actually the third instalment of the SPL series (as seen from the Chinese title on the movie poster that translates as SPL: PARADOX). Like the second SPL movie, PARADOX continues the trend of delivering its own standalone story that emphasised on the Chinese astrological symbols of Sha Po Lang (SPL).

Wu Yue and Chris Collins engage in a brutal fight in PARADOX 杀破狼·貪狼 (2017)

The biggest selling point in PARADOX is no doubt the reunion of director Wilson Yip and action director Sammo Hung. Both of them have previously collaborated in the first two IP MAN movies. Yip was, of course, best known for kick-starting the first SPL alongside Donnie Yen back in 2005. It's definitely nice to see him returning to the SPL franchise where he has once again proved his worth as an accomplished genre stylist in the action cinema. Like the first SPL, his direction is both stark and brutal. Together with returning screenwriter Jill Leung, who also scripted SPL 2, he manages to approach his subject with an underlying pessimistic tone that evokes the gritty Hong Kong action movie of the yesteryear. Leung's script may have been thematically similar like SPL 2. But his story remains efficiently told that thankfully doesn't feel neither as protracted nor sluggish as the second movie. Sure, implausible coincidences still happen in this movie but it was all forgivable, thanks largely to the combination of Leung's confident storytelling and Yip's sure-handed direction.

The thrilling rooftop fight between Tony Jaa and Chris Collins in PARADOX 杀破狼·貪狼 (2017)

The action, in the meantime, brings a welcome return to the brawny style that populated the first SPL. Unlike Li Chung-Chi wirework-heavy action choreography in SPL 2, Sammo Hung adopts a more visceral approach that emphasises on the close-quarters combat technique. As expected, the fight scenes are intensely choreographed with sheer brutality. It's like almost you can feel the pain of every kick and punch landed against the body. Wong Hoi's frenetic editing matches well with Hung's action choreography, especially in notable scenes during the rooftop fight between Tony Jaa and Chris Collins as well as Wu Yue and Collins' machete-wielding showdown in the meat factory.

Lam Ka-Tung and Vithaya Pansringarm in PARADOX 杀破狼·貪狼 (2017)

As for the cast, Louis Koo delivers an emotionally riveting performance as a determined father willing to go the extra mile to locate his kidnapped daughter. He also shows great restraint in expressing anger and frustration without going overboard. Apart from his top-notch acting performance, Koo even gets to showcase his physical prowess during the climactic scene where he takes down a few opponents. For an actor who isn't known for martial arts skill, Koo's months of rigorous training manages to pay off handsomely.

Hanna Chan plays the kidnapped daughter in PARADOX 杀破狼·貪狼 (2017)

Wu Yue, who will be next seen in THE BRINK alongside SPL 2's Zhang Jin, gives a strong support in his role as a dedicated cop. The Hebei-born actor, mostly known for appearing in various Chinese TV dramas, happens to be a wushu-trained martial arts expert. Although he is not as physically graceful as Donnie Yen in SPL or Wu Jing in SPL 2, his fight scenes ranging from fisticuffs to the use of weaponry remains impressive. Nevertheless, he has the potential to become the next Chinese action star if given more pivotal roles. Tony Jaa's appearance as the superstitious cop is nothing more than an extended cameo. But even so, Yip made good use of him during the aforementioned fight scene on the rooftop. Lam Ka-Tung, who recently won a Hong Kong Film Award for Best Actor in TRIVISA, is perfectly restrained in his antagonist role as a conniving spin doctor.

PARADOX is a familiar but effective action thriller that lives up to the first SPL-style of bone-crunching fight scenes and gritty storytelling.

1 comment:

Epi Ma said...

mmg trend dia eh, yg villain film sblum ni akan jadi hero filem seterusnya.

spl 1 wu jing villain, spl 2 hero.
spl 2 louiss koo villaim, spl 3 hero.

spl 4 tgk trend berterusan atau x hihi..