- Nothing original but still quite fun with some good fights and touches 2/8/2004 12:00:00 AM by bob the moo
Lynn and Sue are sisters whose father developed a cutting edge global surveillance tool before he and his wife were murdered for it. As a result of this the sisters became hired killers, with Lynn doing the killing and Sue guiding and advising remotely. When they complete a major job it leads to two events - firstly, their employer looks to silence them by killing them, and second, a driven cop, Hong, picks up their trail and begins to hunt them down.
As many of the audience for this film likely were, I was attracted to this film by the beautiful women on the dvd cover just as much as I was by the promise of martial arts action. The plot starts out as the standard thing with hired killers and `tough cops who are out to get them but also admire/relate to them', so nothing new there. Meanwhile the action is good but it will be standard fare for HK fans (in fact, for most of the world now thanks to Hollywood embracing it's style), although, having said that it is still entertaining even if I always find the very unnatural looking wire work to be a bit offputting.
The opening scene, where Lynn expertly moves through an office block to the strains of `why do birds etc' easily marks out the style of the film (not original, but fun) and the fights are good and have a good dramatic sense to them. The plot may well be seen elsewhere but it still has good touches and twists that will come as a surprise to many despite the familiarity of the plot basics. The cast are pretty good. The two lead actresses, Qi and Zhao, both play their roles with confidence and, needless to say, they are both very easy on the eye (and then some!). Mok is pretty but looks ugly next to these two - however she has a good character and has a fun, tough attitude. The support cast are evil bad guys and comedy sidekick cops, they all do what they are supposed to do, but to be honest the focus is always going to be the main women.
Overall, this film is not anything original or special but it is still quite good fun with plenty of stylish action. The plot has just enough going for it to carry it off, while the leads' good looks and appealing characters are a draw in themselves. Fans of the genre should enjoy it even if it doesn't stand out.
- So cool 3/8/2004 12:00:00 AM by soulcharmer
Let's talk about prerequisities first.
If you hate American action flicks, if you don't revel in nerve-wrecking psycho-dramas too badly, if you can appreciate style over substance and if you're into asian cinematography, pick So Close.
Rest assured there's plenty of nonsense in this movie, even cliches from time to time, but there's not enough of it to prevent you from enjoying it. Really, even acting was fine with me. Action is exquisite, girls are lovely, effects are cool, plot is trivialized but sufficient I guess. It was meant to be easy and fun and you know what? It's easy and fun alright.
- Why do Birds of Prey suddenly appear... 2/8/2005 12:00:00 AM by sarastro7
"So Close" is a terribly unremarkable and uncharismatic title for a movie that should have been called, simply, "Sexy Action Chicks!". There's a lot of cool action and style, mostly to do with wire-aided martial arts and the three immensely appealing leading ladies, who were obviously having fun doing this. So if you like Asian action and kick-ass heroines, this is a must-see.
The premise with two girls being an action team, one a computer whiz and the other a field agent, is extremely similar to the comic book "Birds of Prey", which was also a short-lived (but abominably bad) TV series recently. Being martial arts assassins, the characters can also be compared with other comic book action chicks like Elektra or Lady Shiva, or, for that matter, Danger Girl. This movie seems very comics inspired.
Unfortunately, there is also some bad news: the story is pretty awful. In fact, you hardly notice it. The film-makers almost appear to have forgotten about it. Once again Asian producers do not realize the importance of having a proper plot. This is formulaic assassin/police/revenge clichés ad nauseam, with nothing even remotely original or surprising. One of the girls has a crush on the female police officer, and while that's sure-fire fodder for male fantasies, it's also gratuitously voyeuristic. Oh well, peace be with that - I admit I enjoyed it! Also, this was the first time I saw Karen Mok (outside of cameos), and she made a great impression. She's not drop-dead gorgeous, but she makes what she has go a long way! And she's a very sympathetic kind of person.
The CG effects were a little grating, esp. all the smashing glass. You'd think it would have been cheaper to just use real glass - but I guess they didn't wanna clean up afterward! Some of the other effects, like the elevators and many of the shots of the office building, were very well made.
I would have liked to rate this movie very highly, but at the end of the day it doesn't have much substance. It does however have beautiful women, some cool fight scenes, and great style. The entertainment value is definitely not bad, but I can't rate it higher than a 7 out of 10.
(Edit: Actually, yes I can! In hindsight I think it has enough intriguing elements, also story-wise, to warrant an 8 rating, and that is what I have now revised my rating to.)
- Slick and glossy action thriller with great kung-fu 1/23/2005 12:00:00 AM by brainfertilizer
Immediately one of my favorite movies. Excellent action, great use of CGI, a few jarring "impossibilities", but overall an excellent action-thriller.
Here's the thing: I didn't know who Vicki Zhao was, so she didn't impress or disappoint me. I had seen Shu Qi in "Gorgeous" and didn't like her much in that, so she impressed me with her range of acting in this movie, to tell the truth. In fact, all three female leads were impressive in some of the thoughts and emotions they communicated in nothing more than a quirk of an eyebrow or a twitch of the lips. But I came away totally impressed with Karen Mok. I know her as a singer, and have always considered her a little arrogant or conceited. I don't consider her half as sexy as she seems to be generally considered. But I *liked* her character in this movie, and that must be largely attributed to her acting and scene presence.
I think they played up the "sexy" angle of the girls too much. They are all quite attractive, yes, but the attempts to take advantage of that sometimes distracted the movie...to me, inadvertent sexiness has far more impact than when it is shoved in your face. Still, an excellent movie. Well worth seeing.
...and for what it's worth, I liked the sound-mixing on the gunshots. Excellent heavy/punchy sound that really communicated what it might feel like to get shot.
- Exciting 1/6/2006 12:00:00 AM by kellicough00
The writers get no points for creating a cohesive or logical plot. It's all over the place. A guy creates a worldwide spying device and then he's killed in an attempt to steal it. Years later his two daughters use the device to become hired assassins and get away with all their crimes. One of the sisters falls from some Korean sex symbol and decides she wants to stop killing people for money. The other sister wants to keep going and so she tries to do a job on her own and she screws up. There's a rookie cop who pretty much figures it all out and she's hot on the sisters' trail. One of the guys who paid for a hit decides he wants to wipe out the sisters and the cop and then it's all kicking and shooting and wire fu for the last exciting 20 minutes or so. Like I said, the story is pretty poorly put together but you will enjoy almost every moment any of the sisters or the cop is on the screen. Karen Mok is brilliant as the tough, smart, sassy and sexy cop. Shu Qi and Vicki Zhao make for the cutest sisters you'll ever see on screen. Whenever any of these characters are fighting with good guys, bad guys, one another or each other, you will be amazed at the stylized kung fu artistry. Yes, there's a lot of wires and camera trickery but it never takes away from the enjoyment. And how many movies can turn "Close To You" into a action theme? Don't watch the English dubbed version if you can avoid it. Watch it either in Mandarin or Cantonese for full enjoyment.