Is Hong Kong action-adventure “The Adventurers” that unhealthy, or is main man Andy Lau simply not as charming as he was? In America, Lau might be most well-known because the star of “Infernal Affairs,” the milestone Hong Kong undercover cop thriller that was later remade as “The Departed.” But in Asia, Lau has loved greater than three many years within the highlight, and rightfully so. This man is so slick that he in some way maintained his suavitude even after he, after performing a hit love ballad referred to as “Toilet Bowl” throughout his time as a Mando-pop musician, served as spokesperson for the Ho Cheng Group rest room firm. Just think about: Lau’s face was on stickers plastered in or round urinals in Taiwan, China, and Hong Kong—and he nonetheless regarded easy! Unfortunately, Lau simply is not charming sufficient to hold the completely forgettable “The Adventurers,” a tepid remake of John Woo’s already lame heist flick “Once a Thief.”
“The Adventurers,” a sleepy globe-trotting journey a few retired thief (Lau, after all) drawn in by the promise of “one last heist,” is an underwhelming vainness challenge (Lau additionally produced the movie). Now 56 years previous, Lau reprises a task that Yun-Fat Chow originated again in 1991, when Chow was solely 36 years previous. The position of Zhang, the cocky, and quietly confident ex-con jewellery thief, might sound perfect for Lau. But if “The Adventurers” is any indication, Lau has not aged gracefully. Lau at all times strains to seem cool in scenes that require an air of easy but contained gracefulness from him. This is partly a language barrier drawback: Lau exchanges uneven English with co-star Jean Reno, who performs the compulsory cussed French detective that is scorching on Zhang’s heels, however at all times only one step behind. But Lau’s additionally caught with a wan script, which doesn’t give him many alternatives to attraction viewers along with his signature smile, or boyish, aw-shucks shoe-gazing. Lau’s a star, and you’ll see it any time that Zhang strides confidently right into a room filled with tuxedo and ballroom-gown-clad gamblers and socialites. But “The Adventurers” is in any other case far too skimpy to be memorable. All we find out about Zhang is that he likes cash. In reality, he playfully explains his motives for collaborating within the theft of the priceless three-piece “Gaia” necklace by chopping proper to the center of the matter: “I’m greedy, and I like money.” This may have been greater than only a throwaway line, but it surely’s not since characters are by no means handled as something greater than archetype-flat character sorts. Everything you see in “The Adventurers” is actually a leftover from earlier heist/chase movies, proper right down to the lame John Barry-esque James Bond Lite rating, and the uninspired “Thomas Crown Affair”-like set items. So it is no surprise that Zhang and colleagues Po Chen (Tony Yo-ning Yang), Red (Shu Qi), and Kong (“Infernal Affairs” co-star Eric Tsang) are by no means developed past their formulaic roles. Po is the younger hacker, gutsy, and untrained. Red is the plucky femme fatale, cocky, and mysterious. And Kong is the dad-like fixer, the silent accomplice that units all the things up, after which promptly disappears. Meanwhile, Jean Reno, as Pierre, huffs and puffs as he trails after Zhang. Poor Reno is the saddest case: he is saddled with dismal, uninspired traces like “What are you up to this time” and “You’re already too late!” I’d say that this type of paint-by-numbers situation ought to write itself, however you strive telling that to director Stephen Fung (“House of Fury,” “Tai Chi Hero”) and his 5 credited co-writers. The indisputable fact that Lau, Reno, Qi, and their co-stars are caught with such a poorly sketched-out narrative would not matter if “The Adventurers” had even a few worthwhile set items, or some dazzling motion choreography. Unfortunately, Fung shows not one of the bratty knack for hyper-stylized motion scenes that he did in his latest “Tai Chi Zero” and “Tai Chi Hero” movies. Many scenes are over-edited, and usually lack rhythm. You needs to be on the sting of your seat when Lau walks right into a room, pours on the attraction, and methods a room filled with already-on-edge public sale attendants into leaving in a panic. In reality, watching Lau work needs to be the primary draw of the movie since he’s usually somewhat charming, and up for something, together with commanding roles that required him to be closely made-up with a cumbersome full-body fats go well with (“Love on a Diet”), and a many-abbed muscle go well with (“Running On Karma”). But there is not even any noteworthy motion choreography within the scene right here the place Lau dangles from a vaulted ceiling, and makes an attempt to defy logic and gravity by decreasing himself over a show case guarded by a multitude of criss-crossed purple lasers. This scene is lifted immediately from Woo’s authentic movie, and has since been completed higher by Brian De Palma in “Mission: Impossible.” Why do we have to see it yet another time, solely now with much less feeling?
“The Adventurers” leaves viewers questioning no matter occurred to Lau, whilst they watch him attempt to desperately recapture the spark of irrepressible attraction that typified his indomitable rise to fame. Lau ought to take a web page from Tom Cruise and Jackie Chan’s “middle-aged prima Donna action star” playbook, and study what’s going to finest flatter himself, be it operating actual quick, or performing elaborate stuntwork. He could also be impossibly match for any age, however Lau’s not sturdy sufficient to claw his means out of this rest room.
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