Benny Chan (GEN-X Cops) is a good action director, his action scenes are hyper-kinetic, hard-hitting, visually stylish. However, it is the skill of great storytelling that still eludes him. Benny Chan's latest outing; "Invisible Target" is action-packed with a lot of great stunt work but it feels like it was left in the oven too long and turns out overcooked and bland. After all, even Jacky Wu Jing (SPL, Fatal Contact) cannot carry a film by himself.
The rise of Ronin Gang, a group of highly skilled robbers affected the lives of three policemen drastically. Each of the three policemen: Fang (Shawn Yue), Jing Hau ( Jaycee Chan) and Chen (Nicholas Tse) have their own inner demons but all three are motivated to achieve a common goal: to bring Jiang (Wu Jing, SPL), the leader of the Ronin Gang to justice. The trio is pressed for time as Jiang's influence grew and the gang's ruthless acts are getting more out of control. With Fang's wit, Jing Hau's courage and Chen's dexterity, the three vowed to apprehend Jiang. However, while tracking down the Ronin Gang, the three cops become aware of the presence of a prominent figure in the police force who is connected with Jiang. With all these against them, they become even more determined and relentless to stop the wrongdoings of Jiang and his accomplice...
Screenplay for this film lacked discipline and cohesiveness. The character development is a bit overlong and quite frankly, Benny Chan fails to bring every factor together. It seemed like the issues only tie to the plot's main premise with a lack of detail, the screenplay stumbles at times with its perfunctory style. The three lead characters' meeting seemed so convenient and unconvincing, that it lacked needed credibility. At times, we see the three lead characters do some soul-searching and they come to an epiphany about their goals at the most unbelievable moments; (example: fisticuffs) and it all turns out so cheesy that it seemed so irrelevant that the scene appeared so stretched out. There was an unbearable scene with kids in a school bus with a bomb counting down that was so laughable. Chan and company should have just stuck to the basics and refrained from adding wanna-be emotional/dramatic moments in the most "out of place" sequences in the film. The director put some heavy attention to its theme and emotions; said scenes turned out corny and never really did anything but hamper the film's pace. I know successful action films like "Ong-Bak" and "Tom Yum Goong" also have weak plots but "Invisible Target" was so pretentious in its attempts to add depth into the simple plot.
Despite all its faults, "Invisible Target" thankfully delivers on the action sequences. It looked like Tse did most of his own stunts while Shawn Yue and Jaycee Chan (I think he's Jackie Chan's son) had their own share of risk also. Jacky Wu Jing is very charismatic as the villain; he is in familiar territory as with "SPL". At least, the filmmakers had enough sense NOT to try to convince us that Tse or Yue or Jaycee can beat Wu Jing in a man to man fight. The stunts are well done and the action sequences although it uses some CGI/wires are very well executed. Hard-hitting and somewhat brutal, the fight scenes are nicely done and fast-paced. Action choreographer Lee Chung-Chi did an admirable effort.
Invisible Target is not a bad movie, then again; it isn't good either. It did deliver on the energetic action sequences and the stunt work is reminiscent of the early days of Jackie Chan. The film gets really hurt by the usual canned melodrama and the overdone heroics. Its greatest weakest is the inability of the plot/characters to match the quality of the action. The climax felt so obligatory and dry. Action junkies may find the film to be diverting because of its numerous action scenes. Just leave your brain at home and close your eyes in the numerous over-directed cheesy scenes and it may be a fun watch. It may not hold up to repeated viewings and may be worth a look for fans of Wu Jing and Nick Tse.
RENTAL [3- stars]
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The rise of Ronin Gang, a band of notorious robbers affected the lives of three policemen drastically. Each of the three policemen: Fang (starring Shawn Yue), Jing Hau (starring Jaycee Chan) and Chen (starring Nicholas Tse) have their own stories but are motivated to achieve a common goal: to bring Jiang (starring Wu Jing), the leader of the Ronin Gang to justice.
Time is running out as Jianga¢æ¢âs influence grew and the ganga¢æ¢âs ruthless acts are getting out hand. With Fanga¢æ¢âs wit, Jing Haua¢æ¢âs courage and Chena¢æ¢âs dexterity, the three vowed to capture Jiang. However, it was also during the intense period of tracking the Ronin Gang that the three learnt about the presence of a prominent figure in the police force who is in cahoots with Jianga¢æ| With all these against them, they are even more determined