Divergence


Dir: Benny Chan
Star: Aaron Kwok, Ekin Cheng, Daniel Wu, Gallen Law

"Winner of 4 Hong Kong Academy Awards" trumpets the cover. Er... Firstly, there's no such thing; AMPAS would have a fit if they even tried. The equivalent would be the Hong Kong Film Awards, but this film only won one, for editing. And, after sitting through this muddled and largely uninteresting mess, you'll be hard-pushed to argue it was unjustly overlooked. Mopey cop Suen (Kwok) is still distraught over the disappearance of his girlfriend, ten years ago. The witness he's bringing back from Canada gets sniped by Coke (Wu), which brings relief to the corrupt businessman (Law) he was going to testify against, and his lawyer (Cheng). That should be enough plot, but Chan also throws in the disappearance of the businessman's pop-star son, Coke's relationship issues, the lawyer's wife (who resembles Suen's girlfriend) and a series of murders by piano-wire. As a result, the film sinks under its own weight.

It looks nice, and Chan's excellent action eye is demonstrated in a solid foot-chase, the best part of the film. But when Suen sits in his car, weeping for his lost love, while the vehicle rolls back down a hill, the urge is almost irresistible to scream "Get over it!" I imagine not quite the effect the creators were aiming for, and few of the characters possess any emotional depth or resonance. Overall, the result here resembles a one-armed drunk man, juggling chainsaws: it really doesn't make sense, and you kinda admire the effort, but it's just a huge waste of time, and is bound to end in disappointment all round.

[The review DVD wasn't helped by subtitles which ran five seconds behind the dialogue, making it almost impossible to understand some conversations. Tartan Video, to their credit, acknowledged the problem, issuing the following statement: "We recently learned of a synchronization issue with the subtitle track on Disc 1 of the Divergence Special two-disc set. We are concerned that some people may have unknowingly purchased this disc before it was removed from stores and replaced. Tartan takes extreme pride in the quality of our product and we are asking anyone who may have purchased a compromised disc to visit our website, for information on how to obtain a replacement disc for free. We value our audience tremendously and look forward to the opportunity to correct this matter. As always, thank you for your continuing support."]

[The DVD was released through Tartan Video USA on January 30th, in a 2-disk set with director's commentary - though the subs there leave a bit to be desired too - making-of doc, photo gallery and premiere footage. For more information, visit the Tartan Video website]

D
January 2007


Split decision
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