Sunday, 12 February 2012

The Viral Factor


Writer/Dir: Dante Lam (Fire of Conscience, Beast Cops)
Cast: Jay Chou, Nicholas Tse
Hong Kong, 2012

Seen: January 28, 2012

Reason to see: Hong Kong action films are always a yes!

This film is from Dante Lam and when I original heard the name it sounded familiar, and it turns out that it’s the same director as Beast Cops which was a film I had on my second 100 Film in 100 Days Challenge, but sadly one I didn’t get to because I just didn’t have much access to. Now, I feel like I’m rekindling the connect by getting to see The Viral Factor! The film is am action crime-centric thriller with an espionage-ish feel spanning multiple countries, that is what makes it feel technically like an espionage film, although I don’t think there was much actual spying going on.

The Viral Factor stars Jay Chou (The Green Hornet) and Nicholas Tse as two men on the separate sides of the law, but both fighting for the just cause of doing the best they can for their families. I went to see it during a morning screening, and I think just about everyone in front of me was also going to see it which was great to see because it wasn’t opening weekend so for the time the crowd was pretty good! The acting was pretty solid, although I do suspect one of the baddie characters has their part voiced-over for the English lines, although I was surprized that some of it was actually in English – something I didn’t expect for in a Hong Kong action thriller. The story was also different than I was expecting, as the plot had an international political theme even though at heart it was really an action film that had the bonus of character-driven drama providing quite an engaging combination.

I really enjoyed the action in the film, particularly the action sequences in confined spaces that read extremely well. I find sometimes when there is a running theme or specialty in an action film where the go back to and re-emphasize a particularly look or feel it can get tired, but not here as it was fresh, fast and furious especially in those close quarters. I really appreciated that you could really see what was going on in the action sequences too, it was cutting and clear. It was pretty brutal though and the story was brutal too, including a very emotion theme that totally hit me out of left field and even made me cry. Who knew there would be some sweet emotional moments? The audience didn’t seem to expect that either and I heard some rumblings during the emotional scenes in the film. From that I found it really presented an interesting viewpoint of how different circumstances can affect people differently, and how that can change the path or course of someone’s life, which was an interesting layer to add to what could have been a straight-up action thriller.

I thought it was good, I enjoyed it and I was really happy to get a chance to see it – it was only released in Hong Kong itself this year and we’ve already had the opportunity to see it here in Toronto which is fantastic. If you are looking for an action film with a strong character driven elements as well, definitely check out The Viral Factor.

The Viral Factor opened on January 20, 2012 in Toronto at the AMC Yonge & Dundas.

Shannon's Overall View:
I enjoyed it
I'll watch it again
I'd recommend it to action and crime film fans

Also see my review of The Viral Factor on Episode 60 of the Movie Moxie Podcast:

© Shannon Ridler, 2012

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