I was quite surprised when I saw the trailer for this film, a Hong Kong action thriller starring Nicholas Tse and Jay Chou, make its debut on the Apple movie trailers website. Surprised because Dante Lam’s latest project does not stack up against his previous two films, “The Beast Stalker” and “The Stool Pigeon”, which were more intense and emotionally driving than at any point “The Viral Factor.”
Tse and Chou made the most of their roles in a predictable script. Their performances carried the film.
The thing that bothered me the most was the over-dramatic and often times melodramatic score throughout the movie. It seems like the music was chosen to amplify the intensity of certain scenes when the scenes just weren’t that intense to begin with, the result was an awkwardness that left me uneasy and not being able to take the movie seriously.
The film feels scattered at times; perhaps Lam could have done without a subplot involving the villain trying to obtain a new breed of virus that could destroy humanity and rake in billions in profit, instead focusing on the relationship between the two main characters, their moral struggles, and how they deal with adversities. At certain points, the film achieved the action-drama gravitas reminiscent of Michael Mann’s “Heat”, but it falls flat more often than not.
There are many better action thrillers out there. So unless you are a fan of Nicholas or Jay, wait for this one to come out on DVD