home, hardened police detective Aidan Breslin has grown increasingly
distant from his two young sons Alex and Sean since the death
of his wife. At work, he finds himself thrust into an investigation
of perverse serial killings rooted in the Biblical prophecy
of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. As
Breslin grapples with each new revelation in the case, he
slowly discovers a shocking connection between himself and
the four suspects.
Asians, we are always excited to see Asians headlining foreign
productions. But if the result of starring in a Hollywood
movie is a less than desired one, other than making a joke
out of the wrong decision, we also wonder what it takes for
an Asian to shine in foreign lands. One figure who comes to
mind has to a certain Zhang Ziyi (or Ziyi Zhang, if you want
to call her the Hollywood way). Rush Hour 2, Memoirs of a
Geisha and now this – is the starlet getting any better
with her foray into Hollywood? Or do you remember her better
for her exotic frolicks on the beach with her foreign boyfriend?
You can’t blame us for putting our attention on Zhang,
especially the story of this Jonas Akerlund directed movie
isn’t anything refreshing as compared to the much more
superior Se7en directed by David Fincher. The story’s
protagonist is Aidan Breslin, a bitter detective who is haunted
by the death of his wife, and has since distanced himself
emotionally from his sons. A series of gruesome murders come
under his charge and he discovers a link between himself and
the dark secrets behind the grisly deaths.
Credit does go the writer to base this screenplay on the Biblical
prophecies concerning the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse:
War, Famine, Pestilence, and Death. It sure educated us a
little more about the grim picture religion has painted for
mankind. Other than that, this 93 minute movie seems to be
an excuse for the director (who is a prolific music video
director) to show us some really graphic violence and disturbing
scenes (cue the M18 rating from our friends at the censorship
board). In fact, this takes away attention from the story,
and leaves us wanting to see more blood and gore. Oh, the
sadistic nature of human beings.
Dennis Quaid headlines this movie as the tormented detective.
He does a decent job of portraying the painful figure and
carries the movie rather well. But when it comes to Zhang,
we cannot help but chuckle every time she appears on screen.
We know how good her grasp of the English language is, and
don’t blame us if we snigger every time she has to spout
a line in English. We also found her trying very hard to emote
as an orphan who is out to get some lean and mean revenge.
There is seriously some work to be done here. This mars the
movie quite a bit, and it ends up being another predictable
and unremarkable Hollywood movie which will be conveniently
forgotten a few years down the road.
The visual transfer is fine, and the DVD boasts
of a decent soundtrack which features Zhang’s badly
spoken English lines in 5.1 Dolby Digital Surround Sound.
Review by John Li
Posted on 12 October 2009