Friday, October 26, 2007


For those who contend that the young guns of Hong Kong cinema can't act, Invisible Target will not prove them wrong. It won't prove them right either, because not much is asked of them (unless you include the trembling of Nic Tse's lip or the clenching of Shawn Yue's jaw.) Invisible Target showcases three of the most promising young actors working in Hong Kong today: Nicolas Tse, Shawn Yue, and Jaycee Chan. One of these guys could be the next Tony Leung (either one), Andy Lau or, yes, Jackie Chan. Unfortunately, this will not be decided with Invisible Target. Acting is not what Invisible Target is about; it's about the action. And action it has plenty of.

Popular but largely mediocre director Benny Chan turns in a predictable police versus villain, good versus bad, vengeance versus vengeance story. Chan has a talent for making films that are entertaining and moderately successful, but never quite manage to go beyond the status quo or offer anything that would allot him a breakout film: Big Bullet, Gen-X Cops, New Police Story, Divergence, and so on. Invisible Target is not that much different, with the action sequences are turned up a notch.

Wu Jing plays Tien, the leader of a band of rough and tough criminals who seem to have unlimited access to bombs, grenades and guns. Oh yeah, and they happen to be Mainlanders. Enter three cops who are hot to find and arrest Tien: Chan (Nic Tse) whose girlfriend was killed during one of Tien's heists, Fong (Shawn Yue) who has a chip on his shoulder because his ass was whooped by Tien, and King-ho (Jaycee Chan) whose brother is somehow involved with Tien's gang. Tien is back in town to find out who double-crossed him in his last job in Hong Kong. The various street chases and fights that ensue are some of the best to be found.

Shawn Yue may be the most disappointing performance. He doesn't quite have it for the full-on tough guy. This is the first film I have seen Jaycee Chan in, and he is actually pretty good as the young and earnest cop. Jaycee (Jackie's son, don't ya' know) has a prominent role in Jiang Wen's recent The Sun Also Rises , and it will be interesting to see him in a more demanding role. Nicolas Tse, new father that he is, turns in a good performance and admirable athletic bravery with some of the stunts he performs. At one point he falls off a building, and even those he has wires on him, he hits an awning pretty hard. Nic Tse may be the bravest one, but the real story here is Wu Jing (aka Jacky Wu). This guy is so incredible fast and athletic when it come to martial arts, logically you think there is some sort of special effects. Although Wu doesn't look a day over 20, he's been acting for over 10 years mostly bit parts and TV series. He was a wu shu master first, and an actor second, scouted by Yuen Woo Ping in 1995. Recently he has gotten some roles that push him ever more closer to the spotlight, even if he is the bad guy. His fight with Donnie Yen is the only thing I remember from Sha Po Lang (and maybe the only thing worth remembering.)

It's hard to take this film too seriously and make it out to be something it isn't. The allure of this film is pretty basic: cute boys and raw action. Invisible Target may be a must see for HK film fans, but its appeal may be lost on everyone else.

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