The Brink (2017)

thebrink

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Max Zhang unleashes his skills once again this time against greed in form of a gold cache in this exciting action thriller from director Jonathan Li.

Six months after his undercover work in the Triads, Hong Kong police officer Chang Dao-Hong “Sai Gua” is somewhat in dire straits. He has been reprimanded for his reckless behavior, which resulted in the accidental death of the boss he was meant to bust. His partner, Yan Zhi-De, has decided to resign from the force to move to Europe. However, when it has been revealed that a gold cache has been smuggled in to Hong Kong, Sai Gau decides to take on the case and asks Zhi-De to help him one last time, much to the chagrin of their superior, Chan Yiu-Fai.

Mainland-based fisherman Jiang Gui-Cheng has been working as a scout for Chen Shui-Sheng, who works for Boss Kui, who wants the gold cache. However, when the bust at the port goes wrong, Gui-Cheng is convinced that Shui-Sheng set him up, but the fisherman decides to turn the tables on his former boss, having put him in the hospital. When Sai Gau offers Shui-Sheng a chance for revenge, Shui takes the chance. However, when Zin-De is kidnapped by Gui-Cheng in exchange for Shui-Sheng, Sai Gau finds himself in a major predicament that will take him to the high seas to stop Gui-Cheng and make sure the gold cache is where it is meant to be.

Martial arts action star Max Zhang has become one of the biggest new 21st century action stars. There is something about his performances that stand out, noticeably seen in films like Ip Man 3 and its spin-ff Master Z: Ip Man Legacy. However, this is perhaps one of his bravest performances to date not only because it once again gives Zhang a chance to showcase his fighting skills, but it is the both the level of action and acting chops that perhaps makes this one of his best films to date.

As the embittered Sai Gau, Zhang starts the film with an exciting action sequence that ends disastrously in terms of not only blowing his cover but finding himself imprisoned for the death of the man he was supposed to have busted. Flash forward six months later and now sporting blonde hair, Zhang brings on the look of a gangster, but still holds on to his badge even though he has problems keeping partners due to his reckless behavior. He does so because he knows to him, it will be the only way to do his job unlike Gordon Lam’s superior Fai, who is nicknamed “Desk Cop” because he doesn’t do active duty like the officers who work under him.

Shawn Yue brings greed and sheer evil in the role of Jiang Gui-Cheng, a fisherman hellbent on getting the gold cache without having a care who he will have to go through to get it. He even attempts to woo the big boss behind the gold, played by Japanese martial arts legend Yasuaki Kurata only to show his true colors. As for Wu Yue, he plays Sai Gau’s partner who just wants to retire and move to Europe only to find himself coerced into helping his partner one last time, but with potentially dangerous results. Cecilia So’s Ke-Yan makes the most of her screen time and is there when needed to help ground Sai Gau in terms of his recklessness because it is she who he feels he has to be responsible for after the accidental death of her father.

Former Jackie Chan Stunt Team leader Nicky Li crafted some intricate fight scenes that allow both Zhang and Yue to showcase their skills, even though Zhang has more experience in the martial arts department. However, Yue’s knife fighting skills are very top notch for the film and this leads to why this can be considered the bravest from both stars. One of the intricate fight scenes is set underwater and makes Jackie Chan’s underwater fight in Police Story 4: First Strike look somewhat mild. However, the climatic fight on a boat in the middle of the typhoon is one of the craziest fight scenes ever seen on screen and has to be seen to believe.

The Brink is one of the bravest films involving Max Zhang and Shawn Yue in terms of their climatic action scenes but both give out memorable performances as two individuals on the “brink” of madness due to their personalities and greed.

WFG RATING: A-

Well Go USA presents a Fei Fan production. Director: Jonathan Li. Producers: Soi Cheang and Paco Wong. Writer: Lee Chun-Fai. Cinematography: Kenny Tse. Editing: Pang Ching-Hei.

Cast: Max Zhang, Shawn Yue, Wu Yue, Gordon Lam, Cecilia So, Tai Bo, Yasuaki Kurata, Janice Man, Kumer So, Derek Tsang.

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