Andy Lau attempts at the biggest heist of his life in this loose adaptation of a John Woo classic from actor/musician turned director Stephen Fung.
Five years ago, master thief Zhang Dan attempted to steal one third of a prominent necklace known as Gaia. However, he found himself set up and put in prison. Having now been released, Zhang intends to find out who set him up while attempting to get the remaining pieces of Gaia so he can retire. Joining forces with his protege Chen Po and new team member Red Ye, Zhang finds himself trailed by French police officer Pierre, who was the very officer who put Zhang in jail five years ago.
When Zhang and his team successfully infiltrate a popular actress’ event and steals her necklace, which was up for auction for a charity, Zhang has one piece left to get. To accomplish this, Zhang must use Red as a pawn to infiltrate rich man Charlie Luo to get that final piece of Gaia. Meanwhile, Pierre finds himself an ally in Amber Li, an expert in curation who was once Zhang’s fiancee. While Pierre and Amber are hot on Zhang’s trail, complications will soon arise, threatening to end this final heist for the master thief.
You have got to hand it to Stephen Fung. The actor and musician turned director has churned out quite a filmography when it comes to his directing. From his directorial debut in 2004’s Enter the Phoenix to 2012’s kung fu-steampunk hybrid Tai Chi Zero and Tai Chi Hero, Fung’s brand of action has gained quite a following. His latest film, a loose adaptation of the John Woo classic Once a Thief, is a fun and wild action ride that keeps you wanting to root for our central character, master thief Zhang Dan.
And who better to play this thief than the Heavenly King Andy Lau? Lau is wonderful as the central character who thrives in doing his job but still feels conflicted. Having been released from prison in the film’s opening, Zhang feels he must get the job done as well as find out who was responsible for putting him in prison in the first place. The legendary Jean Reno serves as the “cat” to Lau’s “mouse” in the game as his Pierre is convinced that Zhang is not finished with business yet. However, despite his misgivings, there seems to be a line of respect between the two that goes back to the very day Zhang is arrested, resulting in that prison time.
Yo Yang serves up comic relief as Zhang’s protege Po, who when doing his scenes with Shu Qi (who married director Fung during the making of the film), attempts at wooing her with well, the expected results of rejection. Zhang Jingchu is perhaps the most conflicted character in Amber, the ex-fiancee of Zhang who wants to help Pierre perhaps for revenge, but yet still has a bit of a flame for her ex-lover. Eric Tsang makes the most of his role as Kong, Zhang’s mentor and handler, while Sha Yi gets the most of his role as Charlie, the owner of one of the Gaia pieces, with whom Shu Qi must use some flirtation with in order for the team to nab it.
The action sequences are quite fun. While they don’t really comprise of fistacuffs, they are still fun nonetheless. There are vehicle chase scenes that are up to par with the likes of The Transporter and Ronin amongst others. Shane Hurlbut’s cinematography is quite impressive when it comes to both action and the amazing aerial shots of the cities the film was set in, as Fung decided to use drone technology to capture these amazing views of the cities.
In conclusion, The Adventurers is a pretty fun heist flick. It is clear why Stephen Fung has truly made his mark on directing action films. Some great performances by Andy Lau and Jean Reno, blended some some stunning cinematography of the cities and some nice twists and turns in the film make this worth checking out.
WFG RATING: B
Infinitus Motion Pictures present a Mannix Filming Co. Ltd. Production in association with Media Asia Films. Director: Stephen Fung. Producers: Stephen Fung, Andy Lau, Jiang Ping, Chen Jiande, Tomas Krejci, and Radomir Docekai. Writers: Stephen Fung, Lo Yiu-Fai, Steve Ha, Cheung Chi-Kwong, and Wong Hiu-Chong. Cinematography: Shane Hurlbut. Editing: Angie Lam and Joel Cox.
Cast: Andy Lau, Jean Reno, Shu Qi, Zhang Jingchu, Yo Yang, Eric Tsang, Sha Yi, You Tian-Yi, Karel Dobry.