f you picked up Michelle Yeoh's "Silver Hawk"
expecting something serious, then you're out of luck. The movie, directed by
Jingle Ma ("Tokyo
Raiders"), is all camp. After the average "The
Touch", one should invest very little expectations for Yeoh's latest.
As expected, "Silver Hawk" lays the camp on thick and fast, only
pausing to throw in one of those over-the-top melodramatic moments all Asian
filmmakers are genetically programmed to include, lest their Asian Filmmaker
Cards be revoked.
Taking place in the near future, Yeoh plays Lulu, an
heiress who uses her fortune to become the female version of Bruce Wayne.
Instead of donning a cape and cowl Lulu prefers funky and highly stylish silver
threads in her neverending quest to fight crime. Or at least she fights a lot of
random people who happen to be doing criminal-like things. In any case, Silver
Hawk meets up with Ren (Richie Ren) during a trip back from Mainland China,
where she just foiled a panda-theft ring. Ren, it turns out, is an old crush of
Lulu's from her days at a Shaolin temple where both attended, even though Ren
shows little ability to actually fight.
We fly back to Silver Hawk's homestead, called Polaris
City. (Director Jingle Ma has a thing for naming things "Polaris" in
his movies, including the movie "Fly
Me to Polaris".) As Movie Coincidence dictates, we learn that Ren is
taking over a division of the police charged with capturing Silver Hawk.
Although why anyone would trust an entire division to the bumbling, half-moron
Ren is a bit of a mystery. In any case, Daming Chen plays a professor who has invented a high-tech doohickey that can
read minds and tell people what to do (or something along that line). After Chen
is kidnapped by criminal mastermind Wolfe (Luke Goss, "Blade
2"), Silver Hawk suits up to do battle. And oh yeah, Ren runs around
acting like a half-moron.
As mentioned, "Silver Hawk" plays out as mostly
camp, which explains why a black van can go around kidnapping people in front of
the police in broad daylight and the only person who can track it down is a
chick in a silver uniform riding a motorcycle. Remember, this is the future. Everyone wears groovy handless phones and there are holograms all over the
place, so one would think the cops have improved along with society. And since
the streets of "Silver Hawk" seem to always be deserted, you'd think
tracking a lone black van would be a simple process. Also, for someone with a
secret identity, Lulu is pretty flippant about that whole "secret"
Directed by Jingle Ma, the man behind such lackluster fare
as "Hot War"
and "Tokyo Raiders", "Silver Hawk" has plenty of action to
keep one from being completely bored. That is, unless you want innovative or
thrilling action, in which case "Hawk" won't satisfy. Although Yeoh is
known for her martial arts, there's just nothing very new or particularly
exceptional about the fisticuffs here. There are plenty of elaborate action set
pieces, but they're all clunkers. Of course it doesn't help that "Silver
Hawk" is shot with a silver metallic tint ("silver" hawk, get
it?) that gets a bit tedious after a while.
"Silver Hawk" is obviously an expensive film.
Although I suspect that the entire thing was shot in some Mainland China setting
that has "futuristic" aesthetics. Nonetheless, the film seems to go
overboard on the CGI and computer stuff, with holograms popping up all over the
place for some odd reason. Not that I dislike CGI and computer stuff, but it all
comes across as gratuitous here. But of course you're not supposed to take a
movie like "Hawk" too seriously, because no one in the picture seems
to be. At one point Ren dresses up in drags to capture Silver Hawk. The sequence
involves hilarity and hi-jinx -- that is, unless you're not 10 years old, in
which case it'll just be juvenile.
The best I can say about "Silver Hawk" is that
it's a harmless enough movie, although one wishes it had taken its premise a bit
more seriously. For instance, why is Lulu only happy when she dons the costume
and kicks butt? Why does Ren go around calling himself "Ren the Rich
Man" when he's just a cop -- and not even a very good one at that? And what
happened to Lulu's Alfred? There was a female character that was also Lulu's
assistant who helped Lulu fight crime. At least for the first 15 minutes,
after which point the character just vanished and was replaced by a teenager who
worshipped Silver Hawk and worked for the kidnapped professor.
I would have also liked to know more about the enforcer
character played by Michael Jai White ("Spawn"),
who seems to have some sort of relationship with his partner, a female Asian
enforcer. The woman is either Japanese or Chinese, although I can't be sure
because she never utters a line that I can remember. In fact, I don't think the
film even bothers to tell us the names of either White's character or his partner's.
(Or if they did, I missed it, or just didn't care enough to pay attention.)
the end of the film, White and the Asian chick just sort of walks away from the scene
of a violent encounter with the cops, while the police watches on. This, mind you, after the duo have beaten up
dozens of cops and performed two kidnappings in broad daylight! You know, law enforcement in the future just isn't what it
used to be...