2015, Towe Productions/TGK Films/Action Lab Productions
Anthony P. Wong
Gregory J. Brown
Brian Ho (Billy Tong)
Don Lew (Yuen Chung)
Johnson Phan (Jimmy)
Paul Wu (Bosco)
Tony Towe (Xi Long)
Vicki Huang (Lucinda Long)
Linna Huynh (Tiffany Long)
Eddy Ko (Uncle Bao)
Samuel Patrick Chu (Jack)
Patrick Sabongui (Amir Shahlavi)
Darren E. Scott (Mackay)
Josette Jorge (Melinda Tong)
This Canadian action thriller features some pretty good performances and action courtesy of its stunt-based cast.
Billy Tong has proven himself as the newest recruit of a local Triad organization led by Yuen Chung, aka Big Brother Yuan. However, Billy is actually an undercover police office tasked with taking the Triads down and it has reached the point where his life in the organization is slowly beginning to take over his real life, as he struggles to balance between being a recruit and staying loyal to both the job and his wife Melinda, who is due to have their first child.
Big Brother Yuan has a plan set in motion to kidnap Tiffany Long, the head of Triad Dragon Head Xi Long, who is married to the golddigging Lucinda. When the plan is set into motion, Tiffany attempts to contact her boyfriend Jack but to no avail. As Tiffany sits in a hotel room held hostage by Jimmy and Billy, Billy begins to slowly realize why he agreed to go undercover in the first place and what will be the price should he decide to get himself out of it. Will Billy be able to find redemption within himself or will he fall victim to the very people he was sent to infiltrate?
Bruce Fontaine is a name some might not be familiar with but know his face if they have seen any of the Hong Kong action films in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s. Many will remember him for his scene in King of the Kickboxers as the lead actor of a “film” who meets his fate by the evil Khan, played by Billy Blanks. Returning to his native Canada, Fontaine makes his directorial debut on this action thriller, which revolves around the choices one undercover cop must make when the lines between his real life and life as a Triad enforcer are blurred.
What is very interesting about the film is that the main cast are comprised of actors who are noted stunt performers in films the way Fontaine was during his time in Hong Kong. Lead actor Brian Ho does quite well in the central role of Billy Tong, an undercover cop in the Triads who slowly learn if his taking the assignment is worth risking his life for, especially when it is revealed that his estranged wife is pregnant with their child. Don Lew bring some viciousness with a slyness to the role of Big Brother Yuan, Billy’s boss, who has a plan set in motion that could make him the head of the Triads if all goes according to plan. With these films, that ends up predictable.
Johnson Phan and Paul Wu bring a teeny bit of overacting in their roles of Jimmy and Bosco, but it’s not as bad as Peter Chao’s insane acting in his scene as drug dealer Wen Lo. His acting gets to the point of laughable when he confronts his partner about the shipments. Tony Towe does pretty in his role of Dragon Head Xi Long and in a cameo appearance, Hong Kong film veteran Eddy Ko plays Long’s boss, the Godfather Uncle Bao. Newcomer Linna Huyhn makes the most of her debut in the role of Long’s daughter while Vicky Huang’s Lucinda seems to have a sense of predictability with her character is all about.
Andrew Chin served as the film’s fight choreographer and it is a nice mix of Hong Kong-style kickboxing action mixed in with the ground game. Ho takes on veteran stuntman Paul Lazenby in the opening fight of the film and has some great fights against the likes of other stunt veterans. With his experience in Hong Kong cinema, Fontaine does an impressive job with editing the fight scenes, making these stunt performers look quite good. The action complements the story quite well, with the story having a bit of resemblance to one of my favorite video games, Sleeping Dogs, in which the lead character also finds himself caught in between his real life as a cop and being an undercover enforcer, yet of course the similarities only come with the central character and not the generalization of the story itself.
Beyond Redemption is a great directorial debut for former Hong Kong stuntman Bruce Fontaine, thanks in part to the stunt-driven cast, an interesting story, and some frenetic Hong Kong-style fight sequences that look quite good. Despite a bit of overacting from few, it will not ultimately detract from this pretty good action film.
WFG RATING: A-
Well Go USA has released this film on Digital HD and will be available on Blu-Ray and DVD on February 7, 2017. Extras include pre-viz on two fight sequences and trailers. To pre-order your copy, click on the image below: