Friday, October 20, 2017

VIFF Review 2017: Paradox --(Hong Kong)

One of the most memorable action stars in the past few years has been Tony Jaa from Thailand and makes a special appearance here to help a very exciting action film.
Wilson Yip directs what I can easily say is one of the most beautifully shot action films, every shot is well orchestrated. The film has a great score , well edited and the action sequences are done by Sammo Hung. He and the director had worked previously on the first 2 installments of the Ip Man series.
Our story starts early in the morning of a birthday for 

Lee Wing-chi (Hanna Chan-above)as time moves along in the story we see the distance formed by her father and their relationship.
She later goes and visits her friend in Thailand and when she does not arrive at her friends house she calls her father.
He gets himself to where his daughter was last seen and starts to work with the Thailand police, being a police officer in Hong Kong himself.

(left to right)Tak(Tony Jaa)-Lee Chung-chi(Louis Koo)Chu Kit(Wu Yue).

In one of the most amazing foot chases shot in recent memory is  the two officers giving chase to a man that was seen in video camera footage following Lee Wing-chi before her disappearance.
It goes and ends quickly, however the end shot of the man taking a leap into the water and the police officer catching him mid-air received the best response to an action scene by an audience in quite many years.
The difference maker here for me is that in North American movies there is a complete dislike almost immediately for another officer from another state or country for that matter.
Take for instance Red Heat with Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jim Belushi, Arnold was police from Russia and was met with great Resistance from the police in Chicago.
Another is Beverly Hills Cop where Eddie Murphy is visiting L.A.  from Detroit and he is given grief from the members of the force except one Det. Billy Rosewood(Judge Reinhold).

The fight scenes are fast and fierce no one gets out of here without some major bruises or even for some , alive.
There is corruption in higher levels of the police department and some levels of the local mayor's group of people.
The underlying story here is one of the trafficking of human organs and it gets quite dark for a good number of people that were at the showing of this film at 1:30 in the afternoon.
I felt it going this route than just your standard kidnapping film like we have seen so many previous movies of the last few decades this turns quite dark.
The difference here is there really is no real answer to any of it by the end of the film and that is where art often does imitate life in that this is not ending. Human organ and sex trafficking are 2 horrible human conditions preying on others to make money, plain and simple.
There are no real heroes here --most everyone here has some deep dark secrets, that's the human element of the characters coming out in the performers. Most are battered, bloody & bruised.
In more than just an attempt to entertain us I feel the filmmakers wanted to give us something to think about.

Here is the standard North American trailer:

Below is a trailer from Hong Kong with some more of the action sequences in it.

Thank you for reading this 
Anthony Nadeau

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