Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Downtown Torpedoes (San tau dip ying / 神偷谍影 -1997)

Downtown Torpedoes
Takeshi Kaneshiro-Jackal
Jordan Chan Siu-Chun-Cash
Charlie Young Choi-Nei-Sam
Theresa Lee Yi-Hung-Phoenix
Ken Wong Hap-Hei-Titan
Alex Fong Chung-Sun-Stanley

Hong Kong’s answer to Mission: Impossible is a slight action-thriller that’s carried out professionally and commercially. Jackal (Takeshi Kaneshiro), Cash (Jordan Chan) and Sam (Charlie Young) form the core of ATM (Available Tactical Mercenaries), an industrial espionage unit that utilizes high-tech gadgetry to steal technology and fence it on the black market. However, they're blackmailed by the Hong Kong government (led by Alex Fong Chung-Sun) to snatch some counterfeit plates called SN2 from the British MI5. Naturally stuff goes wrong, our heroes are framed for SN2’s disappearance, and then they must set about clearing their names with whatever hi-tech gadgets they have leftover.

This was a pretty cool movie. I mean it had the hotman Takeshi-kun. Totally hot!

From the get-go, Downtown Torpedoes sets itself up as a slick spy caper and it doesn't disappoint. The movie mixes in just enough high-tech gear and gutsy action to make it both believeable and exciting at the same time. In a time when many films mistake computer gimmickry for action, it was refreshing to see more of a straight-forward style. As always with these types of movies (especially ones that are a few years old), not all of the gadgets make sense or look great, but overall the spy action in Downtown Torpedoes is well-done, culminating in a climatic chase scene that is one of the best done (in either the US or HK) over the last several years.

Even though there is a fair amount of double-crosses, hidden agents and other plot twists, the story is easier to follow because of the movie's efficent storytelling. The film-makers realized that we don't need to see each detail of every character's life, and this helps move Downtown Torpedoes at a brisk pace. Even the dreaded mandatory romantic subplot fails to rear its' head here, and the film flows much better as a result.

The emphasis here is on spy hi-jinks, not mushy love stories. This streamlined storytelling is welcome in this day and age of movies that try and pretend to be more important than they are by dumping everything but the kitchen sink into the mix. From top to bottom, Downtown Torpedoes is a solid action movie that's worth your time.~hkfilms
*I had to copy and paste this review because they said EXACTLY how I felt about the movie. I couldn't have said it better!*

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