Worth A Look: 19.8%
Just Average: 1.98%
Pretty Crappy: 1.98%
2 reviews, 89 user ratings
by Brian McKay
SO CLOSE is the latest Hong Kong action flick from director Corey Yuen (THE TRANSPORTER), and despite a plethora of familiar contrivances and paint-by-numbers plotting, the film excels thanks to some innovative action sequences and the charms of its leading ladies.So Close isn’t about to re-define Hong Kong action cinema by any stretch of the imagination. It’s the standard “Cop and Assassin team up to take on the real bad guys” routine, with all the usual clichés. Paper-thin plot and cardboard cutout villains? Check. Silly, even inane, dialogue? Check. Sappy, melodramatic romantic subplot with incredibly bland love interest? Check. Heavy reliance upon gadgets, software, and hacking techniques that defy realistic technology and the laws of network infrastructure? Check. Excessive slow-mo and wire-fu? Check.
"John Woo’s ‘The Killer’ . . . with GRRRL POWER!"
But still, I’d hate to be the guy that tries to get his money back on this flick.
CUSTOMER: “I’d like a refund. I don’t like this movie”
CASHIER: “I see, sir. May I ask why?”
CUSTOMER: “It’s silly and contrived. The plot is simplistic, the dialogue clichéd, and the action sequences are unrealistic.”
CASHIER: “I understand, sir. But let me ask you something. Does it have hot chicks in it?”
CUSTOMER: “Well, of course it does! I mean, look at the poster!”
CASHIER. “Mmm hmm. And do the aforementioned hot chicks kick ass?”
CUSTOMER: “Well, yeah. I suppose they do.”
CASHIER: “So it’s got hot chicks who kick ass. Is there any other conceivable reason why you would pay to see this movie?”
CUSTOMER: “Well, no. But still-“
Yes, that's right. Babes kicking ass? TRIPLE-check!
Lynn (the lovely Qi Shu, also from The Transporter) and Sue (Vicki Zhao) are a sister act assassination team. Lynn does all the trigger work while her kid sister does the planning, hacking, and surveillance. Sue wants a chance to prove herself by taking on an assignment, but the protective Lynn refuses to let her. When an old flame re-appears and sweeps Lynn off of her feet, she decides she wants to quit. Of course, quitting won’t be that easy when the goons who worked for their most recent target are bent on revenge. To make matters worse, a kick-ass she-cop named Hong (Karen Mok) is on their trail. Naturally, Lynn and Hong spend half the movie trying to beat or shoot each other into submission. But when the same bad guys frame Hong for a murder, it’s time to put differences aside in the name of the Sisterhood and break some heads.
Despite all the familiar clichés, the plot occasionally takes some surprisingly clever turns, and the dynamic between the leading characters is charming and effective. Lynn and Hong have an amusing rivalry, while the film adds a vague lesbian subtext with Sue being attracted to Hong (though sadly, it never comes to fruition). Although it’s probably safe to say that Qi Shu’s career is based more on her stunning looks than her acting ability, she is obviously more comfortable acting in her native language, and she carries off the role of the sexy and stylish assassin with ease. Indeed, she is a vision in white as she lays waste to several henchman while the Carpenters' “Close to You” drones softly in the background. And of course, she walks away with nary a hair out of place despite all of the shooting, kicking, leaping, and flying glass. Mok is even better as the tough-as-nails forensic expert who has a photographic memory of suspect files and just happens to be a Kung-Fu expert equal to Lynn’s prowess. Zhao also gets to strut her stuff in the finale', when an orgy of fists and bullets climaxes in a whirlwind duel of Katanas.SO CLOSE will have you laughing a lot with its exuberant silliness, but you’ll be laughing with it more than at it. This is the kind of film that THE TRANSPORTER almost was, and it stomps all over that CHARLIE’S ANGELS bullshit. Naturally, the leading men are relegated to the role of dull love interest or comedic sidekick, but that’s okay. Those who come to see this film come to see girls kicking ass - and they will not go away disappointed.
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originally posted: 04/23/03 03:52:59
|OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2003 Edinburgh Film Festival. For more in the 2003 Edinburgh Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2003 Seattle Film Festival. For more in the 2003 Seattle Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2003 San Francisco Film Festival. For more in the 2003 San Francisco Film Festival series, click here.