Thursday, March 6, 2014

Film Review: The White Storm (2013)

The White Storm (Review)
China/2013
Format Viewed For Review: Blu-ray (Universe Laser HK)
Netflix Streaming: No
Amazon Prime: No

"I'd measure it up near Hard Boiled..."

The lifelong relationship of a Hong Kong narcotics team comprised of the captain, Ma Ho-tin (Sean Lau), a dedicated and loyal cop, Cheung Tsz-wai (Nick Cheung), and an undercover cop, So Kin-chow (Louis Koo), is strained when they target drug dealing warlord Eight Faced Buddha (Lo Hoi-pang).

The White Storm follows Tin, Wai, and Chow as they continue to pursue Eight Faced Buddha in Thailand. Keep in mind, Eight Faced Buddha is an incredibly elusive warlord -- and as a warlord, he has a large army and supply of weaponry behind him. On top of that, Tin has heavy choices on his shoulder regarding undercover cop Chow, who wants out, and the optimistic Wai, who wants to keep everything friendly. Can the trio take down a drug warlord while keeping their brotherhood in tact? The plot keeps you surprised with unexpected twists and turns at every corner; I was genuinely surprised less than an hour into the film. This explosive action blockbuster leads to a superb action sequence -- the ending is a bit cheesy, but it works out.

The White Storm is a mixture of some Infernal Affairs, like the undercover aspects, and plenty of Hard Boiled, like the blazing shootouts and trembling explosions. What we get is a very consistent action film blending edge-of-your-seat suspense with exhilarating firefights; remember, their target is a warlord, so expect huge action set pieces; also, aside from shootouts, there are plenty of chase scenes and fist fights, as well as pure suspense from dialogue, to keep you on the edge. The story features some cheesy moments and some blatant attempts at creating sentimentality between characters, but I felt like they ultimately worked out for the film. The fantastic action and the above elements made the film feel like a refreshing throwback to 90s actions films. The plot is something we've seen before, but its something that has life this time around.

Sean Lau, Nick Cheung, and Louis Koo are fantastic as the lead trio. Each actor delivers a strong performance, regardless of clich├ęs, and the cast share genuine, believable chemistry. Treechada Malayaporn stars in this film, as well, my only complaint was her (or his?) voice was really screechy; it even looked like it was dubbed. The cinematography is superb; the film looks absolutely beautiful with amazing use of vivid colors and lighting, as well as engaging camerawork. The soundtrack is also well-fitter, ranging from epic to sentimental. The action choreography is fantastic, as well. Director Benny Chan has created a mesmerizing action film, keeping me hooked from beginning to end.

Overall, The White Storm is an exhilarating blockbuster action film. This is a film that keeps you on the edge throughout, either through its many superb action sequences or its suspenseful dialogue exchanges. It's a fantastic throwback to the classic action films from the good ole days, and I'd measure it up near Hard Boiled in terms of entertainment and technical skill.

Score: 9/10
Parental Guide: Strong violence and blood.

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