Directed by Cory Yuen
Produced by Chui Po Chu
Written by Jeff Lau
Director of Photograpy Venus Keung
Music by Sam Kao & Kenjo Tan
Cast: Shu Qi, Zhao Wei, Karen Mok, Michael Wai & Siu-Lun Wan
2002/111 mins/Color/5.1 DD
1.85:1 anamorphic/Cantonese/China/NTSC Region 1
Review from the Columbia/Tri-Star Home Entertainment DVD
As I rarely make it to the cinema these days, I've yet to see KILL BILL, VOL. 1, although I do want to see it. However, I've seen the trailers and read the press on the movie, so I know what it's about, and I know that it was inspired in part by Asian action films. While SO CLOSE is probably too new to have been a direct influence on Quentin Taratino, it's the perfect example of how females are integrated into Hong Kong action movies and proves beyond the shadow of a doubt that the CHARLIE'S ANGELS movies really missed the mark.
SO CLOSE tells the story of Lynn (Shu Qi) and Sue (Zhao Wei), two sisters who are in the assassination business. Lynn does the wetwork, while Sue guides her from their elaborate computer control center. Their father invented a computer system which can tap into any closed circuit television system in the world, and they use this technology to infiltrate buildings and carry out their missions. However, they have run into some complications with their latest killing. First, a tough, smart new cop named Hong (Karen Mok) is hot on their trail, and secondly, the man who hired Lynn and Sue for the murder must be eliminated to erase any witnesses to the crime. Plus, Lynn's old flame Yen (Song Seung Hun) is back in town, and she's considering leaving the business. This tumultuous situation will strain the relationship between Lynn and Sue, and force Hong to re-examine her ethics, as they all try to survive.
SO CLOSE may be the ultimate film to exemplify all that is good and bad about Hong Kong cinema. First, for the good. SO CLOSE was directed by Hong Kong action veteran Cory Yuen (THE TRANSPORTER, THE ENFORCER), and the action scenes here, especially the opening, are incredibly well-done. That first scene features some amazing wire-work and great usage of slow-motion photography. There is also a very suspenseful car-chase and the finale is quite good. The stylish photography is matched with exotic costumes and intriguing locations. However, the film flounders in the story department. The film's plot is even more wafer-thin than the above synopsis would lead you to believe, as the movie is solely about the relationship between Lynn and Sue, and the police officer who wants to catch them. Unfortunately, writer Jeff Lau piles some very heavy-handed dramatics onto this weak story and the result is a very unbalanced film. To the movie's credit, there is a plot twist around the 70 minute point that I did not see coming, but this was a mixed-blessing -- it helped to propel the plot along, but it also lead to more melodrama. SO CLOSE features some great action scenes, and those who enjoy watching lovely ladies wield big guns should love the movie, but don't be surprised if you find yourself getting antsy in the middle of the film, when the story attempts to get in the way of the action.
SO CLOSE blasts its way onto DVD courtesy of Columbia/Tri-Star Home Entertainment. For this release, the film has been letterboxed at 1.85:1 and the transfer is enhanced for 16 x 9 TVs. The image is sharp and clear for the most part, but a very fine sheen of grain is visible throughout the film. The picture shows some minor evidence of artifacting and edge enhancement, but otherwise, looks pretty good. The colors are fine, although some scenes look slightly washed out. The DVD carries several Dolby Digital 5.1 audio tracks, but the original Cantonese track was heard during this screening. This track delivered clear dialogue, and a bevy of surround sound effects. The bass response was good and the gunfights sounded great. The only true extra on the disc is the original trailer for SO CLOSE. Although, there are some bonus trailers, one of which is for RETURNER, which looks incredible.
This Film Features:
Review by Mike Long. All Right Reserved. 2003. ©