Hong Kong Digital
is a recurring series of movie reviews by John Charles -- associate
editor / film reviewer for Video Watchdog magazine and the author
of The Hong Kong Filmography.
Last week, we had a ripoff of RESERVOIR DOGS. Now, here's the HK version of Tom Tykwer's hyperkinetic German hit, RUN LOLA RUN. Unfortunately, RANSOM EXPRESS has none of that film's energy or creativity, ending up being only slightly better than what you would expect from the people who inflicted TOP BORROWER and KILLING ME HARDLY on the world. Alice Chan Wai (BIO COPS) has the Franka Potente role here as Ruby, who is in Kuala Lumpur for an underworld deal with her dimwitted boyfriend, Simon (Eric Wan Tin-chiu). Questioned by a suspicious motorcycle cop, Simon becomes nervous and leaves behind an envelope containing $RM360,000 that he was supposed to give to a feared (and notoriously punctual) gang boss. With no money at his disposal, it is up to Ruby to come up with that equivalent sum, within 90 minutes, in order to save his life. Running all over the city, the girl hits up everyone she knows for cash, including ex-boyfriend Chi-wai (Anthony Wong Chau-sang, getting top billing for a minor supporting role), who proves more hindrance than help.
Anthony Wong Chau-sang (left) and Alice Chan Wai (right). Image courtesy Winson.
RUN LOLA RUN dynamically presented its scenario three different ways, with the heroine having only 20 minutes to raise the cash; RANSOM EXPRESS presents it one way for 80 minutes and the best director Francis Nam Chi-wai can muster in terms of creativity are a few gimmicky camera angles and a hipper-than-usual soundtrack. If you have not seen the German picture, this might serve as a passable time killer but, even so, the humor is limp and the flashback / daydream padding is uninteresting.