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Capsule Reviews

Invisible Target    (2007)
Summer again and probably most of you think Flash Point is the one to watch this season. Maybe, but now it sure has its work cut out for it, with an amazingly satisfying, over the top, touching and down right honorable release from dear old Benny Chan. Mr. Chan’s New Police Story was an admitted wink at good action things past, and Invisible Target bears the same hallmarks of quality only much better implemented.

Ostensibly, it’s a promising flick with a strong cast finally heralding the return of two of this reviewer’s fave tough guys: enigmatic and oft crazed Shawn Yu and sulking, intellectual trouble maker Nicholas Tse. Of course a lot could still go wrong but it dawns on one that Invisible Target is an awesome movie right from the first scene when they proceed to blow shit up with extreme prejudice smack in the middle of Hong Kong’s Central business area, namely Queen’s Road.

Yes, Eye in the Sky had a heist taking place in the same locale, but that one was pale and forgettable. Here we have a ballsy depiction of crooks on the loose that brings a tear to the most jaded of eyes as you sit there reminding yourself that this isn’t merely how they used to make them, here they are, making them like that in this day and age. Oh yes, just like New Police Story, Invisible Target has kick ass villains, headed by martial artist Wu Jing, whose deranged but respectable streak was previously flexed in SPL. The guy’s simply spectacular as a bad guy, as is cool dude Andy On. Andy shone in New Police Story alongside Daniel Wu, and here he’s even better, adding a sensible, human side to his nefarious character. Indeed, the antagonists here are all well done and conspicuously Putonghua speakers. Hmmm. Regardless, they help make Invisible Target an excellent release you must not miss out on.

As we behold, the baddies wreak havoc in jolly HK, setting in motion a storyline that has Inspector Tequila-inspired Shawn and Nicholas go after them with a vengeance, aided by Jaycee Chan who for once is truly impressive and adds much to the story. The three cops engage with the demented robbers across a variety of locations, using fists, feet, guns, cars and a variety of other tools. This movie is a field day for makers of breakaway glass everywhere, as literally not a single sheet remains intact for more than a second.

Invisible Target isn’t a dour-faced, overly serious affair, it gets the balance between crime drama and lunatic fantasy just right as cops and robbers leap huge heights and take more punishment than your average WWII battleship could ever hope to withstand. With good supporting appearances from Sam Lee, Lam Suet and even Aaron Kwok, this is out and out a fun, thrilling and gripping film. It’s aggressively cartoonish at times but always professional and never coming across ridiculous. It’s also atypically long for its genre or for Hong Kong releases in general, coming in at a hefty 130 minutes, which still isn’t close to enough.

In the end, good triumphs but there really isn’t any evil here, as even the vilest of people seen in the story has an explanation for what they do and a tale to tell, which is an added bonus not to be overlooked. Plus, how can you say no to the first SDU sighting in a long, long, long time? Yes, they return to battle Wu Jing and his crew, and of course promptly get their posteriors handed to them.

Invisible Target is a frenzied, beautiful assemblage of classical themes (there’s even a British cop in the briefing room like in the good old days), gorgeous stunts, mind-boggling explosions, intricate fight scenes and ever-shattering glass partitions. The macho-sensitive cast is a perfect fit and we’re delighted to see them together and on screen again. In fact, aside from giving logic and physical reality as we know it the finger, there’s nothing wrong with Invisible Target and I, for one, can’t wait to get my hands on the DVD version.

Invisible? Anything but! Don’t wait for Flash Point, get your summer kicks right here, right now.

9/10
Lee Alon 7/23/2007 - top

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 7/23/2007 Lee Alon

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