Martial Arts
So Close
.
Dir: Corey Yuen
Star: Shu Qi, Vicki Zhao, Karen Mok, Siu-Lun Wan
Cert / Year: 15 - R / 2002
Format: DVD R2
'

An Unscrupulous businessman Chow Nunn hires two sisters who work as a high tech assassination team to kill his older brother so that he can take over his corporation. Using some unique high tech surveillance software Sue guides Lynn to her target for a successful hit and back out again all according to plan. Things start to go wrong when super cop Hong Yat Hong arrives at the scene of the crime and starts to solve the case. Now Chow Nunn must remove all evidence of the hit before it traced back to him. This means killing both sisters the cop who is pursuing them.

Naked Killer is a really great film and was a great success in its native Far East. The legacy of such a film has been a spate of lady assassin films that has lasted from 1992 all of the way up to today. Unfortunately nearly all of these clones including the less than inspired sequel have failed to match the quality of the original. So with its female assassin storyline how does So Close compare?

The one thing that this film does have going for it in spades is a serious amount of slick kick ass action. This is realised by a number great stunts, neat fight choreography, and cool computer generated effects. Corey Yuen is one of the best action directors out there (as his work in The Transporter went on to prove) and he ensures that all of the actions scenes are highly polished exciting affairs. Lynn's exit from the corporate headquarters at the beginning of the film sets the tone and style for the rest of the film, it is very impressive in a (dare I say it) post The Matrix sort of way. This isn't as bad as it sounds as the computer effects are well integrated and the stunts not too outlandish (although a couple push it a bit) making for some pleasingly stylish fights.

This isn't a film blessed with a great deal of originality. Apart from the Naked Killer type story the computer surveillance idea is straight from Max Headroom the TV series, even gadgets like the false images have been done before in Total Recall. This isn't a fatal flaw but it does mean that the film has a certain level of predictably, and there will be little here that most people haven't seen before.

One area where the film is significantly inferior to Naked Killer is the more sexual element to the story. It is understandably as this is made to be a lower rated movie but the attempts to include a racy edge mainly include girls tearing at each others shirts for no apparent reason, it is clumsy and about as sexy as a house brick. A high rating and a bit more flesh would have been welcome, otherwise this whole element should have been jettisoned, which would have been just as acceptable in terms of the end result.

So Close is a very well produced and directed modern techno action film. Strong performances from Shu Qi (also in The Transporter), Vicki Zhao (so good in Shaolin Soccer), and Karen Mok make up for the fact that the rest of the cast are largely underdeveloped caricatures or throw away extras. The slick action makes the unoriginal plot and failed sexual angle more acceptable, but by the end of the film even this has become a little samey with the second assault on the corporate headquarters much the same as the first. Luckily what precedes this finale is action packed and entertaining enough to make the film well worth a watch.

Tagline

Looks can be deceiving.

Rating: 3 out of 5

DVD
Picture 1.85:1 Anamorphic Great picture.
Audio Dolby Digital 5.1 A good mix but the only language is Cantonese with English subtitles.
Features None.
Verdict A good transfer, but no English dubbing and no extras.

Rating: 1 out of 5

Reviewed by Glitz Back Top Home