2002 (2001) Movie Review

Nicholas Tse (Time and Tide) stars as Chiu, the only cop in a department within the Hong Kong Police Department designated “2002” that deals with supernatural occurrences around the city. (Don’t ask, I don’t know the significance of the title, and the movie never elaborates.) Helping Chiu out is Sam (Sam Lee), Chiu’s former partner who was killed by Chiu during a shooting incident, and is now a ghost that helps out on supernatural cases until it’s his turn to be re-incarnated.

After Sam leaves, Chiu has to seek out a new partner. He finds one in Fung (Stephen Fung), a traffic cop who, like Chiu, can see ghosts walking amongst them. Chiu isn’t too sure about Fung and he’s reluctant to take on a new partner since he’s cursed and all those around him eventually dies (re: Sam).

The duo’s first assignment pits them against a Fire Ghost (Anya) who is torching people at rave parties. No sooner is the Fire Ghost dispatched by the paranomral cops does her boyfriend, Water Ghost, appears to take revenge…

2002 is a mishmash of elements from various successful American productions. Chiu and Fung have the natural ability to see ghosts around them (Sixth Sense) and they dress up in black leather as a matter of course (The Matrix), and are equipped with special weapons to take out the naughty ghosts (Men in Black).

2002 plays out like a comedy with spurts of action, and director Wilson Yip uses an extensive amount of wireworks for the action sequences, and has the budget to digitally remove all the wires from the film. In a word, the movie’s stunts look very nice. The whole look of 2002 is very slick and actually looks more like a 90-minute trailer for a movie instead of being a movie itself. The actors pose constantly and slow motion is used as if the technique is going out of style. A deep movie 2002 ain’t, but it’s very nice to look at and has a very good sense of fun.

Nicholas Tse has a very firm grasp on his Chiu character. He knows he’s in a movie devoid of any substance and does all the required posing and looks “cool” in his black wardrobe. Stephen Fung seems unsure if his character is supposed to be the comical sidekick or an equal partner to Chiu, and comes across as uneven as a result.

The film’s female lead is Danielle Graham, who plays a nurse name Danielle (although the movie doesn’t bother to identify her until the very end) who likes Chiu and vice versa, but because of his curse Chiu dodges her at every turn. Besides being a pretty face, I’m hard pressed to understand what Graham is doing in the film. She has very little acting ability and her character feels and looks like an emotionless skeleton walking to and fro — re: she’s stiff and unnatural. (One gets the feeling Danielle Graham is, ahem, a “good friend” of someone powerful and involved in the production.)

The special effects in 2002 are very good. The movie’s ghosts fly in bursts of energy and natural elements (the Fire Ghost can turn herself into fire and shoot fireballs, and the Water Ghost can — what else? — turn himself into water). Although a long, drawn-out action sequence in a hospital swimming pool must have looked great on paper, but is rather silly in execution.

The film also suffers from quite a few bonehead plotting, but at the risk of spoiling potential viewers the fun of pointing one out, I’ll just say that a character dies and another character has no idea he’s died, and let’s leave it at that.

Wilson Yip(director)
CAST: Nicholas Tse …. Tide
Stephen Fung …. Wind
Kar-Ying Law …. Paper Chan
Rain Li …. Rain
Sam Lee …. Sam

Buy 2002 on DVD