Friday, February 24, 2017

Film Review: Saving Mr. Wu (2015)

Saving Mr. Wu (Review)
Format Viewed For Review: Netflix Instant
Netflix Streaming: Yes
Amazon Prime: No

"It starts off rough and some of the issues continue until the end, but it is an entertaining film."

Police race against the clock when Mr. Wu (Andy Lau), a Hong Kong movie star, is kidnapped by four criminals disguised as cops.

Saving Mr. Wu is a hostage/police procedural thriller. The film starts off rough. It attempts to quickly introduce you to three groups: Mr. Wu and his fellow hostage, Zhang (Wang Qianyuan) and his gang, and the police who are trying to capture Zhang and save Wu. Worst of all, the first act of the film frequently hops between different times: past, present, even farther into the past, present again, and so on. It feels like a roller coaster for all of the wrong reasons. Eventually, it irons itself out. The plot continues to follow Wu as he speaks with his kidnappers and finds out about their plans while the police get closer and closer. There's not much else to say about the plot, but it is effective. It leads to a decent ending, too.

Saving Mr. Wu is a disappointing film. It's not a bad movie, but, unfortunately, its flaws hold it back from being excellent. One of its biggest flaws is its inconsistent storytelling. Like I said, though, this is really only a problem during the first half of the film. There are other issues, too, such as the often poor pacing, the uneventful moments, and the predictable plot. Still, the film manages to work thanks to its strong direction and performances. And, to sort backtrack myself, is being predictable really that bad? It is a flaw, but it's not the end of the world. The plot ultimately works well, delivering what you expect from a crime film. Oh, and the few action sequences/chase scenes in this film are also great.

Andy Lau is a great leading man. Wang Qianyuan stole the show, though. Qianyuan is the perfect villain, simultaneously charismatic and vicious. The cinematography and camerawork were also great. I don't really remember the music, so it must have blended with the film – not bad or superb, really. The film was written and directed by Ding Sheng based on a real event. The writing could have used some fine-tuning to iron out its issues. The direction struggles due to some of the writing during the first act, but, thanks to Sheng's skills, it really starts running afterward. Yes, it stumbles here and there, but it is otherwise an effective crime thriller. Sheng knows how to create suspense.

Overall, Saving Mr. Wu is a good crime thriller. It starts off rough and some of the issues continue until the end, but it is an entertaining film. The blend of hostage, police procedural, and true crime is great. If you need to kill some time and you're a fan of the genre, it's worth a stream.

Score: 6/10
Parental Guide: Violence and blood, some sex.

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