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  Publicity Stills of
"Plastic City"
(Courtesy of Shaw)

In Chinese & Portuguese (with Chinese & English subtitles)
Director: Nelson Yu Lik-wai
Cast: Jo Odagiri, Anthony Wong, Huang Yi, Milhem Cortaz
RunTime: 1 hr 35 mins
Released By: Shaw
Rating: M18 (Violence)
Official Website:

Opening Day: 23 July 2009


Ex-mercenary Leung is a merciless leader feared by many. Along with his protégé Kylin, they rule the largest piracy syndicate in South America. Buying off corrupted government officials, Leung has been able to rule the piracy underworld for the past 20 years.

But good times are going to take a rapid turn for the worst.

Betrayed by old comrade, Leung’s empire comes stumbling down before he could figure what happened. In a surprising turn, Leung chooses seclusion instead of vengeance. Unable to come to terms, Kylin decides to take vengeance into his own hands and summons a clan of young soldiers. A bloody gang war is about to rage the streets…

Movie Review:

Plastic City could either be viewed as one of those artistic extravagant films that tickle your intellect sense or another piece of arty farty flick for the pompous self indulgence folks. Either ways, it’s unlikely that it will please the taste of the masses and it’s likely to give some film lovers something to contemplate on or making an attempt to figure out how to appreciate this movie.

One of the most notable elements of this film would be that it is fronted by two rather well known Asian actors. There’s the famous Hong Kong veteran actor Anthony Wong and the cool Japan actor Jo Odagiri (who was last seen in Azumi and Shinobi Heart Under Blade) joining forces to participate in this movie project in Brazil. A seemly brave if not experimental move in expanding their acting repertoire by branching out of their usual comfort zone and work with unfamiliar language, setting, cast and crew.

While kudos should be given to their brave attempt, their effort in this production felt rather hollow. While I can’t tell how well was their Portuguese (as I’m not that familiar with that language), it did sound like they were struggling to speak in that language and it felt that it was affecting their acting performance in certain ways. Jo Odagiri’s Mandarin definitely felt rather force to native Mandarin speakers and in a way, a constant distraction from believing in the character that Jo Odagiri was trying to portray.

Besides the language distractions, this film also does not spell out a lot of things that going on in this movie, leaving the audience with many “fill in the blanks” moments. On one hand, it’s cultivating the audience to be more aggressive in movie watching but on the other, it could be a trying time and alienating time. Personally, even after figuring out what went on in the last act, it’s still rather hard to relate to the emotions that went on in the movie.

However there are a couple redeemable factors in this movie. In a way, it was an intriguing case study of how the mighty could crumble. Even as a leader of a piracy syndicate, one must contend with new threats, work with shady politicians and various authorities. It make one wonder how much power does one actually have while being the top of his organization or is he just another fish in the pond who is wrestling for survival like everyone else. Plastic City also painted a sad but frighteningly true scenario that in this type of life, when one become utterly helpless, the only thing that one could do would be to choose how to end his or her life.

Plastic City also spent a great deal of time and effort in the cinematography, resulting in some rather innovative and groovy interior shots that would look good in home decoration infomercial. Through the lens, the slums of Brazil also look gloried and even scenic to a certain degree.

Plastic City is basically felt like plastic itself itself. It might be a beautiful looking product that made up with various chemical elements but essentially, it’s a lifeless product that’s not a natural origin.

Movie Rating:

(Beautiful to look at but ultimately lifeless and bland)

Review by Richard Lim Jr


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