16 January 2003 | supertom-3
This is wham bang thank you mam!! Amazing fights!!
Never mind the Matrix and the influx of Jackie Chan and Jet Li films. As far as martial arts films go this still has the best fight sequences outside of Hong Kong. The fights are amazing and capture the essence of Hong Kong chop socky flicks.
Merely having great fights wouldn't be enough, this has quality in terms of look and sound that a lot of Hong Kong films don't and it is minus the cheesy dubbing. What it also adds is a genuinely funny, if wafer thin script. It is of course just a series of events that give excuse for elaborate fight scenes.
Mark Dacascos stars in the lead and really shows his stuff. He moves like a cat, and really shines in the fights. The version you have to see of this film is the directors cut, the studio completely hacked away any sort of plot or character development. In the studio version we see Toby Wong (Dacascos) as merely a mercenary, but Wang's cut gives far more insight into his motives and gives the character an extra dimension. We get the chance to see Dacasco's acting abilities as well. He shows that he is an action star with more talent than most on all levels. You compare him to bigger money earners like Arnie, Van Damme and Seagal and he can out act them all as well as being even more impressive with the physical acting. Kadeem Hardison co-stars as Malik, who is initially Wang's hostage but they turn out to be best buds, cliché yes, but hey this is an action movie. Kadeem is hilarious, most of his lines are ad-libbed and you can see the other actors trying not to burst into laughter. Also Brittany Murphy is a scream as Deliverance a rather wacky motel owner, who is extremely randy and has the hots for Malik. The three of them together have amazing chemistry and it really adds to the humour. John Pyper Ferguson is also very funny as one of the bad guys. He comes out with some great lines, and also some hilariously cheesy lines such as `look its my favourite cheese eating, dick monkey' WHAT?!!
The film is pure mindless escapism, it's fast, it's funny, there's genuine chemistry there, and to hell with plot in a film like this, which features some jaw dropping fight scenes. Overall this is an action classic to savour. 8/10