25 June 2009 | sitenoise
This film thinks inadequate storytelling gives it depth
Not the worst movie I've seen, but easily one of the most poorly constructed. There *is* an intriguing story buried beneath everything but you have to keep reminding yourself what it is while you wonder why it's not being told very well. It's not a nice looking film either. Zhao Wei has never looked more lost and out of place. The scenes of her fighting off armed criminals while holding her baby in one hand would have been funny if they weren't so disgusting. The fact that it looked completely phony doesn't redeem anything. The scenes of warfare-like gun play that are just plopped in from time to time look like they were lifted from a middle-schooler's Super 8 film project.
I knew in the first fifteen minutes this thing was a mess but I kept the faith, and while it hinted at getting on track from time to time it just kept failing. Someone brought a bucket full of story-boarded scenes to the party but neglected to introduce them to Mr. Story.
You can't just claim that because this isn't run-of-the-mill Hollywood fare that it deserves respect. Good film makers (Ann Hui is one of them) can fail too.