t one point in time, after the disgraceful "High
Risk", writer/producer/director/seamstress Wong Jing was at the
very top of my Hit List. But after the successful "Colour
of the Truth", a semi-take on "Infernal
Affairs" that was nevertheless strangely good, I removed the
Jingster from said list. Now that you know from whence I approach the
cinematic output of one Wong Jing, let's move on to his latest endeavor.
"Moving Targets" stars Nicholas Tse and
Edison Chen as Kit and Fit, respectively, two young bucks on the Hong Kong
police force. After a successful gunfight with heavily armed criminals,
our awesome duo is recruited by senior cop Cheung (Simon Yam) to join his
elite squad. Alas, there are problems. For you see, Cheung is Kit's
estranged father, who Kit hates with a vengeance. This makes our hero do a
lot of moping and generally acting like an angry baby holding his breath
whenever he's around Cheung.
After introducing the familial dilemma for Kit and
Cheung, the script wanders off to focus on Fit, as he's blackmailed to be
a mole for a gang boss with unsightly facial hair. Further complicating
matters, as well as hitting home the script's "Dads really suck"
theme, Fit's own dad, played with his usual downtrodden flair by Suet Lam,
is up to his ears in debt to said gang boss. And if you've never seen Suet
Lam get beaten up and abused in a movie -- well, what am I saying? This
guy always gets beaten up and abused in every movie.
I suppose in the annals of Hong Kong cinema
"Moving Targets" isn't the most awful thing to ever come out of
the island colony-cum-Red China backyard. It's certainly a fruitless film,
filled with the type of obvious scripting that gets beaten out of first
year film students and over-the-top melodrama that tries way too hard to
pull at the heartstrings. Add to that a leading man in Nicholas Tse
Tide"), who has been infected with Ekin Cheng-itis by simply
letting his hair do all the acting for him. The most challenging part of
the film is to keep from cringing whenever Tse is required to act
melancholy or emotional or, in general, act.
After babying his way through scenes with his
estranged poppa, Tse's Kit transfers over to Internal Affairs, where he
enters into a lascivious affair with I.A.'s top female cop. Why? Your
guess is as good as mine. Even though the movie treats the I.A. cop as if
she's the second coming of Michelle Pfeiffer, those double chins say
otherwise. And really, isn't dating your underling while you're both
working for Internal Affairs sort of, er, obviously against the
rules? Who watches the watchmen indeed!
Of note is Edison Chen, who finally gets to sink his
teeth into a role that shows him to be something more than just the goofy
sidekick. Chen is very good here, and the youngster even manages to lift a
mostly dull and trite adventure in uninspired filmmaking whenever he's
onscreen. The movie also takes its best turn at about the hour mark, after
Chen's Fit is kicked off the force for corruption. Now a civilian, Fit
still has to contend with the advances of the gang boss with the unsightly
facial hair. Hopefully Chen's performance in "Moving Targets"
will lead to better things. God knows he's certainly better than his
bigger named co-star.
Also good is Gillian Chung, one half of the
manufactured pop group Twins. Aside from hitting Hong Kong with the wallop
of SARS two years ago, Chung and her Twins cohort has done about 5,000
movies in the last 2 years, give or take a couple of movies. Chung is
effective here, probably because she's allowed to play an adult for once.
I guess the overwhelming stupidity and general dumbness of "Twins
Effect", the last movie I saw her in, blinded me to her obvious
charms. And oh yes, she's quite a lovely young woman. Strange that I
didn't notice that before.
"Moving Targets" is okay, but it's nothing
you can't do without. Wong Jing probably spends too much money on
gratuitous camera tricks and effects for no obvious narrative benefit. I'm
still trying to figure out why the film was shot entirely in split-screen
format for about a whole minute. And unlike Jing's previous foray into
cops and triads movies ala "Color of the Truth", there's no
decent action in "Targets" to overcome the film's many faults.
Nevertheless, any movie that gives Simon Yam a big
part definitely deserves some bonus brownie points, even if said movie
basically gives him absolutely nothing to do for the final 30 minutes.