Saturday, 4 April 2009

Fatal Contact


Directed by: Dennis Law
Written by: Dennis Law & Herman Yau
Starring: Wu Jing, Ronald Cheng, Miki Yeung & Kenneth Lo

While not always successful in its intentions to deliver believable drama alongside some magnificent martial arts action, Fatal Contact is nevertheless an enjoyable fight flick that once again shows off the incredible skills of leading man, Wu Jing (SPL, Invisible Target). He plays Kong, a national team karate champ who is making ends meet by touring with a performing circus show. However, some local gangsters (including Lam Suet and Yu Xing) take notice of his skills and offer him respectable money to take part in some full contact, underground fights. He refuses but is later persuaded by fellow circus member and budding romance interest Tin (Miki Yueng). Kong immediately impresses in the fight arena and earns a deadly reputation and increasing wage. He also befriends Captain (Cheng) a bumbling henchman for the gangsters who may also be a gifted fighter. As the fights increase in danger and the money becomes harder and harder to resist, Kong finds his life taking on a darker side, not least in the possible questionable motives of Tin being with him and continually persuading him to fight.

First and foremost, Fatal Contact is a superb fight flick. If you are sick and tired of over-shot and over-cut fight scenes then check out the crisp clear, one-on-one duels of Fatal Contact. It may still be movie fighting and wires are used here and there, but the fights are knuckle-busting, high-kicking, full-contact as good as it gets. Staged by Nicky Li (from the Jackie Chan Stunt Team), the glorious dust ups let Jing showcase his impressive bootwork skills. The fights are refreshingly allowed to play out and it’s great to see a flick packed with so many fights of the hero taking on increasingly dangerous opponents. The showstopper has to be the three way fight were Jing takes on a massive, tattooed foreigner, a nasty dude with nails in his shoes (Kenji Tanigaki) and finally Andy On from Invisible Target and New Police Story.

Where Fatal Contact fumbles is in the wishy-washy almost cardboard cut-out storyline. It’s nothing we haven’t seen before and the dialogue and acting are often trite and superfluous. Miki Yeung comes off particularly bad as Tin, as she is such a bland and dislikeable character you wonder what Kong sees in her (apart from being extremely attractive). Her final act revelation is also signposted a mile off, leading to a finale which will divide audiences down the middle. It’s certainly a bravely downbeat ending and while I had no real problem with it, the ending will frustrate some. This is perhaps due to it being more over-the-top than the rest of the film. However, if can get past the sometimes lazy acting and cringe worthy dialogue, Fatal Contact also delivers some fine photography (courtesy of Herman Yau), a fun performance from Ronald Cheng (who never goes over-the-top in his comedy sidekick role) and another impressive turn from star on the rise Jing.

Pleasingly old school in its approach and delivering some excellent martial arts action from the East, Fatal Contact is certainly recommended to fight fans and despite its faults an entertaining action film.

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