Saving Mr. Wu (2015)

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Andy Lau stars in this film based on a real-life kidnapping case that occurred in 2004.

A group of kidnappers having been attempting to find rich people and have hit the jackpot when outside of a bar in Beijing, they find a movie star named Mr. Wu. Disguising themselves as police officers, they take in Mr. Wu with the intention of getting quite a hefty ransom for him. When Mr. Wu arrives in the hideout of the kidnappers, he learns that another young man was kidnapped and is set to be executed because his time is up and there is no ransom. Miraculously, Wu convinces the kidnappers that he will cover both his and the other victim’s ransom.

Meanwhile, the police have become aware of the situation and intend to find Mr. Wu. Led by Xing Feng and Cao Gang, the gang eventually catch up to kidnapping ring leader Zhang Hua, and as they seek answers to the whereabouts of Wu and the other hostage, Wu attempts to find a way to ensure not only his safety but the safety of the other hostage. Will the police be able to track down Wu in time or will it be too late?

In terms of that question being answered, one will know the answer already and here is why. The movie is based on the kidnapping of a bit-part actor named Wu Ruofu in 2004 by a gang of men who kidnap who they think is rich in order to get hefty ransoms. Wu himself is in the film as one of the two cops who are in charge with rescuing Mr. Wu, played wonderfully by Andy Lau. The real Wu took the role of Officer Cao Gang after declining to take the lead role. The only reason why Wu declined the lead role is because he did not want to relive, even in film, what had happened back then. However, to show he is just fine, he took a pivotal supporting role. Furthermore, Lau’s character is simply Mr. Wu with his full name never revealed.

While Andy Lau continues to shine as one of Hong Kong’s greats today, the film also belongs to Wang Qianyang, who is a show stopper as kidnapping ring leader Zhang Hua. It must be noted that the film alternates between the actual kidnapping and when the police nab Zhang Hua eighteen hours after the kidnapping. While we see Wu suffering to an extent, refusing certain food because of his health (or it may seem like that, we never know), we see Zhang practically play some sort of cat-and-mouse game while in custody to stall time for the inevitable. Wang plays Zhang as a sort of dual personality. He knows exactly what he is doing and why, but in some aspect, he also shows a bit of sympathy for Mr. Wu with respect.

In the end, writer-director Ding Sheng continues to impress with Saving Mr. Wu, driven by the performances of Andy Lau and Wang Qianyang. As an added bonus, we see the real Mr, Wu showcase as one of the cops who lead the charge to save, well, himself.

WFG RATING: A-

A Beijing Going Zoom Media/Shanghai New Culture Media/Beijing Skywheel Entertainment Co./Beijing Gongzuoshi Entertainment Co. production. Director: Ding Sheng. Producers: Xia Chenan, Liu Xiaolin, Du Yang, Angela Xiong, and Li Anxiu. Writer: Ding Sheng.  Cinematography: Ding Yu.  Editing: Ding Sheng.

Cast: Andy Lau, Wang Qianyuan, Cai Lu, Liu Ye, Wu Ruofu, Lam Suet, Zhao Xiaorui, Lu Peng, Vivien Li, Na Wei, Yi Ailei.

 

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