Invisible Target (2007)
Directed by Benny Chan
Written by Benny Chan, Ling Chi-Man
Produced by Benny Chan, Cary Cheng
Starring Nicholes Tse, Jaycee Chan, Shawn Yue, Jacky Wu Jing, Andy On, Sam Lee, Elanne Kwong
Release date: June 10, 2008
With a huge explosion, a bold heist in the middle of the day gets underway as a notorious criminal gang robs an armored truck in Hong Kong carrying millions. The bomb’s explosion and the ensuing firefight in the street leave scores wounded and several dead, including the fiancee of Detective Chan. After disappearing without a trace for six months, the gang returns just as mysteriously and begins killing those that were associated with the robbery. Chan, who has been patiently biding his time to get his revenge against the men responsible for his fiancee’s death, begins relentlessly pursuing the criminals through the underworld.
Meanwihle, a young rookie cop, Officer Wai, becomes caught up in the mess when it is discovered that his brother is now part of the murderous gang of thieves, and Inspector Carson lets the case get personal when the gang attacks his police division. Chan, Carson, and Wai create an unlikely and unbalanced alliance as they pursue the criminals, who they discover were double crossed after the robbery by the mastermind of the heist. The identity of the mastermind, who may just be a dirty cop, is unknown to even the gang’s leader, Tien, but he is going to discover who it is even if he has to destroy the entire police station to find out!
After his lighthearted action-comedy Rob-B-Hood, Hong Kong director and co-writer Benny Chan returns to the shadowy streets of honor and revenge for his latest cops versus robbers spectacle. Chan, who has been delivering kinetic martial arts action and broody crime dramas since the mid-90s with films like Gen-X Cops and Man Wanted, delivers the goods once again with one spectacular explosion after another and frantic fight sequences that are fired in rapid succession during the films two hour running time. In between, Chan explores the tried-and-true themes of brotherhood and loyalty using both police and criminal elements. These overly dramatic monologues admittedly get a little long in the tooth, but for the most part are kept under control.
But the big draw here is of course are those three magical word: Hong Kong action. Benny Chan, along with stunt coordinator Li Chung-Chi who has worked many times with Jackie Chan both in Hong Kong and America, use the streets and rooftops of Hong Kong for all their worth. Invisible Target is rich with a variety of exquisite tastes from car chases that end in multi-vehicle pile-ups to a brawl in a two story bar, from tightly packed gunfights in the street, to an all out war within the police station that is reminiscent of the finale in Hard Boiled. In fact there is definitely a repeating motif here with Chan trying to return to what makes Hong Kong action so memorable, like several of his contemporary directors, as he ramps up the danger of the stunts, the intensity of the martial arts choreography and the heat of the explosions.
What makes the action all that much more exciting is that all the main actors perform all their own stunts. Sure, there is plenty of wirework and safety harnesses being used to protect them, but there isn’t much that can be done to soften being hit by a bus in midair or falling from a rooftop through trees and onto cement. Nicholas Tse (Gen-X Cops, New Police Story) takes a brunt of the beatings as Detective Chan, with Shawn Yue (The Infernal Affairs Trilogy, Dragon Heat) joining in to combat the baddies as Inspector Carson. Both Tse and Yue can throw a punch and know how to spin a kick, and both can take a licking and keep on ticking through many of the chaotic brawls they find themselves in.
But these two combined still can’t hold a candle up against Jacky Wu Jing (Fatal Contact) and his psychotic martial arts wizardry. Wu goes for absolute broke trying to transform his baby face into something menacing, and backs it up with lightning quick moves and a no-hold-barred approach to fighting. The scenes involving Wu are the absolute highlights of the film, and these are the sequences that Benny Chan and his crew spend the most time getting just right.
Unless you happened to import Twins Effect 2, this film will introduce the U.S. to Jaycee Chan, son of legendary Jackie Chan. Jaycee, who takes a shining resemblances to his father, is put through the ringer and given one hell of a hazing for his introduction to action Hong Kong style. In a surprising choice, Jaycee’s character is hardly given any fighting skills, and is wiped out by the baddies time and time again. While his martial arts skill made need some fine tuning, he has definitely inherited his father’s ability to take pain and daring risks for entertainment. Jaycee is thrown down stairs, relentlessly pummeled, and in a subtle nod to the burning coals in Drunken Master II, fights in a garage that has been set ablaze with gasoline and falls into the fire on the ground.
Though some may not agree with the over use of computer generated explosions or the somewhat hammy dialogue and brooding emotions, there is no doubt that Benny Chan’s latest effort delivers a solid kick to the solar plexus and injects the screen with fist-pumping adrenaline. This is a surefire good time to be had along with a six-pack of Tsingtao and a freshly delivered extra spicy serving of Kung Pao chicken, and will satisfy every bruised bone in an action junkie’s body.
Dragon Dynasty, the martial arts genre arm of The Weinstein Company, puts another notch on their success belt with their all out two-disc Ultimate Edition release of INVISIBLE TARGET. The uncut feature film comes with a crisp anamorphic widescreen transfer and includes the original Cantonese soundtrack in Dolby Digital 5.1 and DTS, along with English and Spanish subtitles. Also included is an English dub track.
DVD Bonus Features
Audio Commentary – Hong Kong cinema expert Bey Logan is on hand with stars Jaycee Chan, Shawn Yue and Andy On for an entertaining and information-packed group commentary.
Orchestrating Mayhem – Go behind-the-scenes of Invisible Target for this twenty-five minute making of documentary featuring interviews and stunt footage.
Exclusive Interviews – Director Benny Chan and actors Jaycee Chan, Shawn Yue, Jacky Wu, Philip Ng, Vincnt Sze and Andy On are all interviewed one-on-one for this release and include English subtitles.
Deleted Scenes – Four deleted scenes and two extended scenes make up this gallery.
Fight For The Glory – Coming in at just under twenty minutes this making of takes an exhaustive look at the creation of the stunts and fight choreography
Storyboards – Key scenes are shown side-by-side with their original storyboard art.
Gala Premiere – The cast and crew are on hand for some quick interviews during the film’s premiere.