10 December 2002 | Bogey Man
Not so great achievement this time, Hong Kong
Allun Lam's The Blacksheep Affair (1998, Hong Kong) is a fast paced action pack set in some fictional East European country Lavernia. Man Cheuk Chiu's character Yim Dong, a policeman, is sent there as a punishment for his disobedience towards his authorities during the film's opening plane hijacking. In Lavernia, there's an evil Japanese Mishima (Hoi Lin) captured and his group has done some very severe damage to the people and he thinks he's on mission from God to "cure the world" by killing and so on. Qi Shu plays Dong's old love Chan Pun who also happens to be in Lavernia. What follows is action and brutality as the evil Japanese kill and kill innocent people and the good Chinese cop must fight them to death.
The film is very annoying in its attitudes towards foreigners, Japanese mostly. They are depicted as evil and rotten killers that cannot be good or change. The screenplay is filled with lines like "those evil Japanese this and that.." and I really can't appreciate a film that has so incorrect attitudes and undertones for no any apparent reason or real importance. And that's not everything that's wrong with this film.
Qi Shu's character, a young and attractive female, is depicted as total moron who can't do anything in a hot situation but scream hysterically and act as if she had no idea what's she screaming for and could she perhaps do something to it. This film suggests that females can't really do much and they are just useless pieces of flesh in a dangerous situation. All that seem to be good and capable for something noteworthy are of course the Chinese men and their police.
The music is very bad in my opinion and even though it tries to make the goings on more dramatic, it fails and sounds almost naive. None of the characters become too interesting or close to the real person so their destinies don't touch and make me feel anything either. There's only one thing this film manages to do somewhat good and that is the action.
The action choreography by the great Ching Siu Tung is not as near as kinetic and inventive as in his masterpieces (Chinese Ghost Story trilogy, various John Woo films plus many others) but his talent make the action scenes easy to watch and thus the whole film much easier to watch. The violence is surprisingly brutal and almost exploitive so there's plenty of evil acts committed by evil, uncharismatic and unreal characters in this film. Not too nice an experience for a lover of ambitious and unique Eastern cinema.
The Blacksheep Affair is very close to the most boring and needless HK category and is worth watching only for the occasional action scenes and some inventive usage of camera. For most of the time, the twisted and moving camera angles and drives don't mean anything special, they're just there to make the film look more "stylish", but at least occasionally they manage to depict something, too. A good example is at least the scene in which Qi Shu's character escapes from the raging masses. Otherwise there's nothing special or memorable in this film, and thus it is among the least convincing pieces of the more recent Hong Kong cinema.
3/10 and barely so.