Director: Soi Cheang Pou Soi
Writer: Szeto Kam Yuen, Nicholl Tang
Producer: Johnnie To
Cast: Louis Koo, Richie Ren, Michelle Yip Suen, Stanley Fung Shui Fan, Lam Suet, Monica Mok Siu Kei, Alexander Chan Mong Wa, Han Yuqin, Lai Cheung Wing, Frank Lau Chung Kei
Running Time: 83 min.
“Accident” is a slick Hong Kong thriller in the Milkyway Image tradition. If you’ve seen recent thrillers like “Eye in the Sky” and “Punished,” you’ll have some idea of what to expect. This Johnnie To-production presents a modern day Hong Kong where the populace is under constant surveillance, whether from street cameras, stalkers, or tenant neighbors. For those on the wrong side of the law, trust is a commodity – and one slip-up, one simple mistake, could cost you your life.
This is a compelling story but unfortunately Louis Koo has been cast in the lead role. Koo is an actor who has yet to impress me; he seems to garner high profile roles due to his popularity with audiences and not because of any discernible acting talent.
Louis plays a character nicknamed The Brain, due to the fact that he’s in charge of a band of criminals who perform elaborate assassinations for cash. It’s a mostly silent part, the kind of role that calls for an actor who can display a shrewd intelligence without a word of dialogue. Louis Koo is not that sort of actor; he remains as blank as ever, a cipher onscreen. Koo is just not capable of conveying personal anguish or razor-sharp thinking.
What a shame, then, since “Accident” has plenty else to offer. The pace may be meditative at times but there are still thrills to be had, including an impressive bus crash. The production values are decent enough and the supporting cast is great, including Milkyway stalwart Lam Seut and “Lucky Stars” alumni Stanley Fung. Michelle Ye (“Fire of Conscience“) doesn’t get much screentime but she still makes a strong impression thanks to her moody performance and wardrobe reminiscent of Michelle Reis in Wong Kar-Wai’s “Fallen Angels.”
Unfortunately, the whole endeavor collapses due to Louis Koo’s unengaging performance and a plot that’s slow to develop. After Milkyway flicks like “Mad Detective,” it’s almost too easy to predict that the ending is going to have a ‘mind-bending’ plot twist.
“Accident” is still worth a watch for the Milkyway faithful and I imagine many viewers out there will enjoy it. For me, it’s just difficult not to imagine how a talented actor like, say, Andy Lau or Tony Leung (either Tony Leung!) could have transformed the film from your standard pot-boiler into something truly memorable.
HKFanatic’s Rating: 6.5/10