30 January 2020 | Movie-Misfit
Fun, But Far From Perfect!!
I was pretty excited to see Stephen Fung's latest adventure flick, and on a recent trip to Hong Kong, managed to pick it up on DVD. A loose remake of John Woo's classic Chow Yun Fat vehicle, Once A Thief, the film definitely has more likeness to the later Mission Impossible films and other light hearted Hollywood blockbusters such as Knight And Day (2010) and Oceans Eleven (2001). There's even shades of 2002's The Transporter throughout - which is ironic given that starlet, Shu Qi, starred in that also...
The opening 10 minutes takes us from Andy Lau's release from a French prison - where cop Jean Reno (who is looking very rough) warns him that he will be keeping an eye on him - to the Czech Repubic, where Lau has already arranged with his team, their next big heist. That just happens to be in the beautiful Grand Pupp Hotel in Karlovy Vary, although renamed the Grand Hotel Cannes for the film. I had the pleasure of a special birthday lunch with my husband in this stunning hotel a few years back - and just weeks before this production got there, unfortunately!
With no less than 6 writers credited to the film, I have to say it would be the script that is the bigger let down of The Adventurers. Its not dreadful - but it certainly lacks any creativity or excitement one would expect with so many writers involved. Then again, too many cooks and all that.
The cast is pretty good though with the never-aging Andy Lau and Shu Qi being as great as always. Zhang Jing Chu (Rush Hour 3, Seven Swords) who also starred with Lau in Protege (2007) is fantastic as his old love interest and partner to cop Reno, and the addition of Eric Tsang adds even more star-power. To be honest, I don't think I need to complain about any of the talent involved...
As much as there is a few nods to the classic Once A Thief, The Adventurers is more James Bond than John Woo with plenty of hi-tec gadgets and stunt work that is impressive at times, and often is accompanied by a Bond-esque score or humorous moment. While the action itself can be big and certainly challenges its Hollywood counterparts, it does lack the hand-to-hand combat one would expect from a Hong Kong movie like this, but that's not necessarily a bad thing.
A light-hearted, action-adventure, this is about as mainstream as Fung could get, delivering a Hollywood-style Hong Kong movie with international appeal. The European setting is stunning, and cinematography from Shane Hurlbut (more known for his work on 80's and early 90's music videos) makes it a joy to look at.
The Adventurers is far from perfect, but for anyone looking to escape and enjoy a decent popcorn movie, then it'll do the job!
Overall: Stunningly shot and fun, yet at times flat, The Adventurers isn't as bad as the critics say but offers little originality...