SYNOPSIS: Everything Happens for a Reason. “Kings of Thieves” Cheuk Chi Keung, Yip Kwok Foon and Kwai Ching Hung never know one another even though they share the same notoriety in the underworld. But unbeknownst to them, their random presence at a restaurant in China at the same time in early 1997 is destined to change their fate forever. In his own unique way, each of these “Kings of Thieves” is at a crossroads in his crime career on the cusp of Hong Kong’s Handover to China. When they hear in the grapevine that the three of them are planning a big heist together to leave their mark in the crime Hall of Fame, they decide to take a stab at it ultimately.
Although it’s a story that is based on three of Hong Kong’s notorious mobsters, Trivisa is not a biography of their exploits but a reimagined tale of how the three kings of thieves wanting to assemble together for one glorious round of crime spree but never came to. It’s basically Avengers: Endgame but without infinity war actually happening.
Taking place before the handover in 1997, Trivisa opens with Yip Kwok-Foon (Richie Ren) trying to sell off his loot after robbing a series of gold shops. Seeing that smuggling has lesser risks, Yip and his two loyal henchmen decides to leave armed robbery and embark on their smuggling business by constantly bribing and entertaining high officials along the way. Although the money is good, Yip can’t help but feel increasingly frustrated by the day.
The second storyline involves Kwai Ching-Hung (Gordon Lam), a low-key, mysterious criminal who is back in Hong Kong for his next robbery. Opting to stay with his ex-pal, Fai (Philip Keung) and his family, Kwai’s unpredictable characteristic might not solely be a threat to the jewellery store below Fai’s unit but to his family as well.
The last story strand has Jordan Chan playing Cheuk Tze-Keung, a loud flamboyant criminal who spend his time kidnapping the heirs of rich tycoons for huge ransom and at the same time looking for his next bigger challenge in life. In the end, it seems that the only way is to round up Kwai and Yip although both of their whereabouts are currently unknown.
Produced by Johnnie To’s Milkyway outfit, Trivisa’s narrative on the whole is engaging despite being shot separately by three young directors. Thanks to editors Allen Leung and David Richardson, the story flows seamlessly and there’s never a moment you are feeling detached from the whole exposition.
Milkyway’s regular Richie Ren puts in a solid performance as Yip all thanks to a more rounded story arc as compare to the rest of the characters as we witness the compelling change of why a man liked him has to resort to his old ways even with a successful changeover. Gordon Lam’s portion is richly shot by cinematographer Zhang Yin, atmospheric and creepy due to Kwai’s almost psychotic behaviour though his character remains as mysterious as before. The Jordan Chan’s storyline with the exception of his goofiness and over-the-top performance is weak and redundant. And it seems his sole purpose in the entire flick is to assemble Yip and Kwai.
Honestly, Trivisa lacks the weight and authenticity of Hong Kong classics that were based on true crimes and mobsters such as Sentenced to Hang (1989),To Be Number One (1991) or even The Untold Story (1993). Though enjoyable on its own, those craving for some Milkyway’s trademark wham-bam action or a stirring crime flick should look elsewhere.
The DVD delivers a rousing Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack which features clear audio and loud surround gunfiring effects when it calls for it. Visual quality is commendable for a DVD.
DVD RATING :
Review by Linus Tee