Tin dei hung sam
Mandarin: Tian di xiong xin
English: Heaven Earth Great Ambition
Not to be confused with the Michael Bay atrocity (which opened a year later),
this HK science fiction thriller deserves points for ambition but, judging
from the muddled screenplay, the filmmakers were either never entirely sure
of what they wanted to convey or began production without a finished script
(not uncommon with HK cinema) hoping that everything would come together in
the end. When a noted scientist is incinerated by a mysterious force at the
precise moment that several satellites fail, "walking encyclopedia"
Dr. Ken (Andy Lau Tak-wah) is called in to investigate. Authorities believe
that the death of the man (an apparent instance of spontaneous combustion)
and two others in his field may be the work of an enigmatic group called the
"Brotherhood of Technology." The dead scientists were peers of Ken,
who is the inventor of a revolutionary system called VOD, which greatly enhances
the capabilities of one's TV set in regards to entertainment, internet access,
etc. As VOD would put internet providers and video software manufacturers
out of business, police suspect that these companies would like to see Ken
put out of commission (ie. dead) before it hits the market. When another man
is reduced to fragments, Ken's team (which includes Anthony Wong Chau-sang
as his everyman cop buddy) begins to explore different theories but none of
them can provide an explanation for the sudden re-appearance of Ken's girlfriend
(Michelle Lee Kar-yan / Michelle Reis) who was killed in an accident some
THE X-FILES premiered on HK television around the time that ARMAGEDDON was
produced and the film is quite similar in a number of ways, mixing together
science, high technology, speculation about various weighty topics, and horror
movie stylistics and imagery. While initially interesting, the developing
mystery soon bogs down, as the cast members cite various philosophies and
religious precedents as explanations for what is unfolding, and a second act
detour to Prague does nothing but add some attractive scenery. When a Caucasian
messenger of God (or he is from the other place?) appears, the
proceedings grow progressively sillier and culminate in a very unsatisfying
Cover art courtesy Tai Seng.
|Tai Seng ##90734 (U.S. Label)
Sync Sound Cantonese (Dolby Digital 5.1), Dubbed Mandarin (Dolby Digital
1.0), and Dubbed English (Dolby Digital 1.0)
Optional Subtitles In English
20 Chapters Illustrated In the Menu With Stills
Coded for ALL Regions
Contains moderate violence
menu courtesy Tai Seng.
BOARD RATINGS AND CONSUMER ADVICE
British Columbia: PG (Violence, Coarse
Hong Kong: IIB
Ontario: AA (May Offend Some)
DVDs. There is also a commentary track, with Chan prompted
by author Stefan Hammond (SEX AND ZEN AND A BULLET IN THE HEAD, HOLLYWOOD EAST).
The director points out that his $US2 million budget (fairly big by HK standards
but not that sizeable when the effects and location work are factored in) required
some improvisation and corner cutting, why he likes to use amateur actors in
supporting parts, and the research he did to prepare for the production. The
track suffers from too much play-by-play on Hammond's part but there are some
interesting anecdotes and insights, and those who enjoyed the movie will find
the discussion worthwhile.
Director Gordon Chan. Image courtesy Tai Seng.
The presentation looks rather soft,
with middling colors and weak contrasts, and the layer change is mildly
disruptive. Digital video noise reduction flaws pop up on occasion and
the 35mm source print is worn in spots. The sync sound Cantonese version
has a nice, expansive stereo mix that adds considerably to Chan Kwong-wing's
score. In addition to only being in mono, the English dubbed version
is stilted and tends to dumb the dialogue down, making it easy to pass
up (there is also a mono Mandarin track). Special features include a
"Making Of" documentary (22 minutes) in Cantonese with permanent
English subtitles, filmographies, two trailers, trailers for five additional
films director Gordon Chan Kar-seung (left) has worked on, and trailers
for five other Tai Seng
is available at Poker Industries.
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© John Charles 2000 - 2002. All Rights Reserved.