Writer: Casey ChongWriter Ratings:Overall: Cast: Plot: Effects: Cinematography: Watch this if you liked:
"A Better Tomorrow", "Bullet in the Head", "Protégé" and "Drug War"
After the bloated but entertaining martial arts epic "Shaolin" in 2011, director Benny Chan returns to his familiar contemporary action-movie roots in "The White Storm".
The movie focuses on three childhood friends, Tin (Sean Lau), Wai (Nick Cheung) and Chow (Louis Koo) who join the police force. While Tin and Wai rise to become high-ranking police officers, Chow becomes an undercover cop working closely together to infiltrate a drug-dealing syndicate in Hong Kong. Things get complicated when Tin, Wai and Chow face the uphill task of apprehending Eight-Faced Buddha (Lo Hoi-Pang), a notorious drug kingpin operating on the Thai-Cambodian border.
For the record, it's rare to see a Hong Kong action-movie blockbuster on such an epic scale and a running time clocking more than two hours long. No doubt this is the most ambitious project Benny Chan has ever made in his entire career as director. Citing John Woo as his major inspiration for this movie, die-hard Hong Kong movie fans will immediately recognize the genre that involves themes such as brotherhood and friendship popular in the 80s and early 90s.
From the look and feel of the movie, watching "The White Storm" is almost akin to the experience of watching John Woo's cinematic masterpieces, "A Better Tomorrow" and "Bullet In The Head". While Benny Chan's direction isn't as sharp as John Woo, at least there are a couple of high-octane scenes that will keep the viewers on the edge of their seats.
Storyline is mostly tense and emotionally heartfelt, even though some of the dramatic moments tend to be excessive - a weakness which often plagued in all Benny Chan's movies.
As three of the most sought-after Hong Kong actors working today, Sean Lau, Nick Cheung and Louis Koo each deliver remarkable performances. Whether revisiting their childhood memories, singing Adam Cheng's 1980s classic song, "Vow To Enter Blade Mountain" or arguing against each other, it is simply engaging to watch them acting together.
Despite the flaws, "The White Storm" remains one of the most entertaining Hong Kong movies of the year. Action-movie fans shouldn't give this a miss.Cinema Online, 28 November 2013