The Adventurers (2017)

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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.


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.


Well Go USA Lands Fung’s “The Adventurers”


Stephen Fung‘s latest action adventure film will be landing in the U.S. thanks to the gang at Well Go USA.

The Adventurers, a loose remake of the classic John Woo film Once a Thief, stars Andy Lau as a thief who after a three-year imprisonment sets out on a major heist in Europe with a French detective, played by Jean Reno, hot on his trail.

Shu Qi, Eric Tsang, Tony Yang, and Zhang Jingchu co-star in the film which Fung and Lau serving as producers with a script by Fung, Cheung Chi-Kwong, Andy Lo and Steve Ha.

The film will get its Chinese release on August 11 and Well Go USA’s release is coming in the near future. In the meantime, check out their trailer for the film:

H/T: Film Combat Syndicate

“Heat” Stars Reunite and “Hustle Down”

Two stars of Michael Mann‘s hit film Heat are reuniting on a new action thriller from director R. Ellis Frazier.

Principal photography in Baja, Mexico has wrapped up on Hustle Down, in which Sizemore and Gage are joined by Bai Ling, Justin Nesbitt, Raymond J. Barry, Paul Sidhu, Noel Gugliemi, and Vanessa Angel.

Cully, a two-bit hustler and the driver for a Baja drug cartel, finds himself relying on skilled-but-reluctant bounty hunter, Turk (Paul Sidhu), to stay out of the grasps of a merciless assassin, and vicious thugs led by a rival gang leader after Cully has stolen a money car stuffed with cash meant for his boss. The duo crosses paths with Crystal, a sultry dancer with too many secrets and a greater stake in all of this than they first realize. If Cully can convince Turk to go along with his crazy schemes, he might make it back to his estranged wife and daughter alive.

Producing the film alongside Frazier are Robert Beaumont, Jessica Huong, Justin Nesbitt and Geoffrey Ross. The film was written by Benjamin Budd.

The film is due for a 2018 release. A special Thank You goes to Justin Nesbitt for the news!


TRAILER: Term Life


Vince Vaughn is about to get serious in a new action comedy film entitled Term Life. The film revolves around a heist mastermind who while avoiding being killed by the likes of a drug cartel and corrupt cops, tries to rekindle his relationship with his estranged daughter, played by Hailee Steinfeld. Why? Because he takes a life insurance policy out with just one hitch: the policy takes three weeks to kick in. Will he be able to survive that long?

Bill PaxtonJon Favreau, and the Empire duo of Taraji P. Henson and Terrence Howard co-star in the film, which is directed by Peter Billingsley, best known for playing Ralphie Parker in A Christmas Story. This marks Billingsley’s second film as producer after the comedy Couples Retreat.

The film makes its debut on Digital HD and On-Demand on March 1, 2016, followed by a limited theatrical release on April 8, 2016 by Focus World Films.


La Deuxiéme Souffle (1966)



An escaped prisoner learns that a second chance isn’t always as it seems in this classic film from world renowned auteur Jean-Pierre Melville.

A trio of prisoners have escaped and the only survivor is Gustave “Gu” Minda, a mobster who works for longtime crime boss Paul Rizzi. Deciding to reunite with his love Manouche, he heads to Paris. While he is happy to reunite with his love, he is forced back into the gang and kills a police officer as a result. Blot, a highly respected inspector, is aware of Minda’s return and intends to find him.

Meanwhile, knowing his life could be put to an end, Gu decides to leave the country with Manouche. However, he doesn’t have enough money. Orloff, a highly respected gangster who is friends with Paul, offers Gu the chance to pull off a major heist, to which he agrees. However, while the heist has been pulled off, Gu finds himself the unwitting pawn of a double cross that comes from a corrupt inspector, Fardiano. Gu must clear his name and at the same time, attempt to avoid Blot, who is convinced that Gu was behind the entire heist to begin with.

Jean-Pierre Melville is one of the greatest auteurs of the modern gangster genre. While I am not particularly fond of French New Wave, especially those with unclear endings, Melville tends to use a more realistic approach to his films in terms of executing the story with how a story should be told: a beginning, a middle, and an end. While some will see that the film drags in the middle, it is however, essential that we get a full understanding of the characters. In some cases, editing to keep pacing can tend to leave plot holes and continuity could have its errors. However, Melville does the opposite with this film, a cat-and-mouse game between an escaped prisoner looking for a second chance at life and the inspector whose convictions that said prisoner is responsible for everything gone wrong in the film.

The characters seem to have a complexity yet the message is clear: there are no real good guys in this film. The lead character of Gu is an unsympathetic anti-hero who gets back into the game after his escape and despite showing somewhat of a soft side when it comes to Manouche, finds himself unwittingly forced to double cross his boss all because of a double cross. The first two acts serve as the set up for what Gu experiences upon his attempt to get his second chance, only to see it fall and how he must try to redeem himself. This role is well played by Lino Ventura, who keeps a smug face throughout practically the entire film.

Paul Meurisse brilliantly plays Blot, the inspector whose convictions and ego gets the best of him as he has only purpose in the film: take out Gu, even when he doesn’t get all the facts. Paul Frankeur plays Fardiano, the dirty cop who is only partly responsible for setting up for Gu’s eventual fall while the mastermind is someone involved within Rizzi’s gang, all because they’d rather see the elder Rizzi fall from grace and have him replaced. Christine Fabréga is great as Manouche, Gu’s love interest who because of her ties to him, has some sort of power when it comes to her business. However, she too longs for a second chance with Gu. However, one can only guess with this genre of cinema, how this will fare out in the end.

La Deuxiéme Souffle is one of Melville’s finest works that brings a necessarily complex cat-and-mouse story between an escaped prisoner and the investigator whose ego gets the best of him, with many connecting storylines mixed in, hence the two-and-a-half hour running time. But it’s a damn good two-and-a-half hours.


A Les Productions Montaigne production. Director: Jean-Pierre Melville. Producers: André Labay and Charles Lumbroso. Writers: Jean-Pierre Melville and José Giovanni; based on the novel “Un reglement de comptes” by Giovanni. Cinematography: Marcel Combes. Editing: Monique Bonnet and Michèle Boëhm.

Cast: Lino Ventura, Paul Meurisse, Raymond Pellegrin, Christine Fabréga, Marcel Bouzuffi, Paul Frankeur, Denis Manuel, Michel Constantin, Pierre Zimmer, Pierre Grasset.