SYNOPSIS: Set in a fictional metropolis named Harbor City, the movie begins with an illegal diamond deal gone wrong as small-time gangster Xu Da Fu finds there is more than one buyer salivating over his smuggled gems. A group of military men intercept the case of diamonds, killing everyone on the spot but Xu. He is rescued by Hero Wu, a young upright police officer who believes there is no gray area in justice. It does not take long before the two are targeted and chased by rival hit men and militants. The story unfolds when beautiful scientist Fan Ning comes along, explaining that the whole hullabaloo is not about the diamonds but what else the case contains: an anti-matter bomb that could destroy humanity if it falls into the wrong hands. The villians in this case are a militant group from Pawanda, a make-believe country in Southeast Asia which is planning to set off the bomb in the city.
A spin-off from the successful TV drama series, Black & White Episode 1: The Dawn of Assault once again stars Mark Chao in the leading role as Hero Wu. With his original co-star Vic Chou opted out of it, Chao is paired up with Mainland actor Huang Bo (Journey to the West) for this movie outing.
Set in a fictional country called Harbour City, a small-time hoodlum Xu Da Fu (Huang Bo) is caught in a massive plot to blow up the country by a militant group from Pawanda after a diamond deal went awry. It turned out that the case that contained the diamonds include an antimatter bomb which is highly sought after by hit men, militants and even traitors in the government agencies. With no one to turn to except a young beautiful student, Fan Ning (Angelababy), Wu and Xu must work together to uncover the plot and taking back Xu’s gems.
There are no expenses to be spared in this touted to be one of Taiwan’s most expensive production of late. Shot in Kaohsiung, the entire action flick has the feel and look of a typical slick Hollywood blockbuster. Lush action sequences featuring gun fires, explosions, fist fights are aplenty and even the climax is shot onboard an aircraft (though it’s a set built on the ground). Nothing in Tsai Yueh Hsiun’s flick is original but somehow it works despite the bloated running time.
Setting the story in fictional countries reduces the need to apologise for any offensive references but that actually took away the believability of the plot and the intention of the baddies. This is not help by the haphazard plotting and the involvement of numerous parties liked SIS and tactical force which merged into an ever confusing storyline to follow. It took too much effort to fatten up the script not forgetting the obligatory twist when it’s mainly a cautious tale of not letting the right thing falling into the wrong hands.
Chao (last seen in Vicky Zhao’s So Young) known more for his romantic roles fares rather impressively with his physical performance. He is in short the supercop of the new decade. He jumps from bridges, dangle himself from a plane, dodge dozens of explosions and bullets and remain unscathed. Huang Bo on the other hand adds some need be zest throughout the ordeal by bantering with our hero. Angelababy, the cute as button actress pops in as the girl whose father and uncle is the creator of the energy bomb though her character mysteriously disappears during the finale and pops in only at the closing scene. Pop singer Alex To appears as the Captain of SIS while twin brothers, Julio and Dino from rock group SOLER appears fittingly as two ruthless assassins together with Taiwanese veteran actor Leon Dai as an underground middleman.
With respectable action choreographed by French parkour artist Cyril Raffaelli and HK’s Nicky Li, Black & White Episode 1: The Dawn of Assault is an ambitious project by first time feature helmer Tsai. It’s not entirely flawless especially in the story department nevertheless it compensates by throwing in lots of wham-bang set pieces.
Visual and audio is passable for this DVD though it sorely lacks a strong 5.1 surround track.
DVD RATING :
Review by Linus Tee