Wesley's Mysterious File
Director: Andrew Lau
Cast: Andy Lau, Rosamund Kwan, Shu Qi, Roy Cheung
I heard that this film was originally set to be the 100th film of Andy Lau. Now I am glad that it is not (The 100th one goes to A Fighter's Blue). I am also certain that Andy Lau would not like to see his 100th feature to be a total flop.
This film is really a big disappointment. Wesley, one of the most successful novel characters in Hong Kong, has been adapted to the big screen many times before. Due to the immature development of Sci-Fi genre in Hong Kong film industry, it never gained any big success. Today, with the advent of a more advanced level of computer graphics technology, it allows the filmmaker to achieve what they could not have done in the past.
Having said that, it seems that time is ripe for Hong Kong filmmaker to develop the Sci-Fi genre. But after viewing this film, I have to totally reconsider this hypothesis. Plagiarism is so serious in this film that makes us hard to believe if the filmmakers understand what creativity and copyright are.
The story of the film is just like what you can expect from a typical Hollywood Sci-Fi flick. Wesley (Andy Lau) is a member of the United Nation Extra Terrestrial Analyzing Agency. He was saved by a blue-blooded alien Fong (Rosamund Kwan) when he was young. Many years later, he comes across Fong on the street again. Their encounter has gradually turned to an adventurous journey when the FBI interferes and two mysterious aliens get in the way.
Starting from the beginning of the film, we can trace out the shadow of many Hollywood Sci-Fi films perpetually. For instance, the beginning monologue of Andy Lau reminds us of Men in Black immediately. Followed by that is the alien fight, a complete replica of the video game Resident Evil, the character design of the monster and the combat style are both copied directly from the game. Throughout the film, the plot keeps making us aware of many famous films like The Matrix, Terminator 2, Mortal Kombat and many more. In fact, it is harder to look for an original concept than a copycat item. Although the computer special effect is pretty awesome, the lack of creativity really pisses me off.
This film is shot mostly in San Francisco, for various reasons, most of the dialogues are in English, which creates a big problem. Most of the cast, including Andy Lau, are not fluent in English. Andy Lau, with his profound acting experience, is still able to sustain and perform normally, on the other hand, it is really a torture to listen to Shu Qi's dialogue. Her accent is so weird that it is almost impossible to comprehend what she is trying to say. Her performance is also strongly degraded because of this verbal deficiency. There are many wonderful actresses in Hong Kong who can speak English fluently, e.g. Christy Chung, Theresa Lee, I really don't understand why Shu Qi was picked to play this role.
Andrew Lau started his career as a cinematographer. He is good at picking the right camera angle for the right shot. What he sucks is storytelling, especially the depiction of love affairs. Similar to most of his special effects films like Avenging Fist, the love affair among Andy Lau, Rosamund Kwan and Shu Qi is extremely dry and insipid. We cannot feel the intimate relationship among the characters at all. Every character lacks genunine emotions.
Although he has the technology to produce a Sci-Fi movie, what Andrew Lau lacks is a creative script and a capable production design team. With his existing crew, it is really hard for him to reach the level of achievement we are all looking for.
VCD (HK version) - Don't ask me which version to get, I simply won't recommend this film to anyone. However, if you can ignore the plagiarizing elements, the film is actually not too bad in terms of the visual quality. The visually stunning image is worth seeing. But to me, I really couldn't tolerate the poor script and all the copycat materials, they are just so annoying and make me fail to acknowledge the positive aspect of the film.
Reviewed by: Kantorates