2002
Golden Harvest
 
Starring:
Nicholas Tse, Stephen Fung, Sam Lee, Danielle Graham
Directed By:
Wilson Yip
Year:
2002
Run Time:
95 mins
Producer: Golden Harvest
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Languages:
CANTONESE 5.1, Cantonese 2.0, Mandarin 5.1, Mandarin 2.0
Subtitles:
English, Chinese (S&T)
W/S Subtitles:
No
Ratio:
1.85:1
Region:
NTSC 0
Genre:
Supernatural / Action / Drama - Cat.IIB
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MOVIE
8/10

In this part Ghostbusters, part Sixth Sense actioner, Nicholas Tse plays the head of a Hong Kong-based spirit-patroling squad known as 2002.
Destined to live his life alone, Tide (Tse) uses the help of his spirit partner Sam (Sam Lee) to fight his other-worldly foes.Once Sam is reincarnated, Tide must search for a new partner with the requisite abilities, and into his life steps Fung (Stephen Fung).
Unfortunately, the 2002 project works on the basis of a man/ghost relationship between its partners, and upon the arrival of a formidable Water Ghost, fate will play its part in deciding which of the two men will remain in the human world.

Mixing aspects of Blade, Stormriders, and a host of other supernatural films from both East and West, 2002 tries to cram in far too many ideas at once.
The action, mainly wire-work and special-effect enhanced, is uninvolving at times due to its reliance on gimmicky camera techniques.
However, the fact that director Wilson Yip adds a number of duff elements yet still makes his characters immensely likeable, and his film incredibly watchable, is to his credit.

A particularly grating aspect of the production is the usage of actress Danielle Graham as Tse's love interest. Choosing a woman who speaks all her dialogue in English, and is then dubbed into Cantonese really takes the shine off a number of scenes. Whilst she is attractive, I can see no reason why any number of other Cantonese-speaking actresses couldn't have played her role...and probably done a better job.

One of the reasons for the films success is in no small part down to Tse and Fung's performances.
Rather than just appearing as two good-looking, smartly-dressed ghost hunters, each has their own particular flaw. Tide's is his inability to make friends or lovers due to him having been born under the Star Of Death - anyone who he builds relationships with will ultimately die.
Fung's is his longing to fall in love for the first time, and going to somewhat pathetic lengths to achieve that aim.
Whist these aspects may seem inconsiquential, the problems that they bring are explored with some depth, and add substance to what would otherwise be a light-weight plot.
Whilst there are also far too many slo-mo, jacket flapping shots, the film is directed with great flair, and contains some striking cinematography.

PICTURE
8/10

Some distractingly soft portions of the image at times, and some intermittent artifacting mean this Golden Harvest disc never quite makes the A-Grade.
It does however, contain an otherwise detailed, clean and colourful print which shows off the beautiful cinematography to great effect.
Black levels occasionally fall into the blue-ish area, but this never becomes too obvious.

SOUND
8/10

This aggressive 5.1 mix takes you by surprise at times by its panning effects and general surround usage. Dialogue is largely clear, although it can sometimes get drowned out by the other channels.
A rather odd mix of pop and moody instrumental pieces punctuate the film, although these all translate well into the 5.1 soundtrack.

SUBTITLES
8/10

Slightly smaller (and smarter-looking) than your average Hong Kong DVD, Golden Harvest provide a very well translated set of subtitles.
Grammar and spelling errors are rare, and whilst some slight simplification is present, they generally remain true to their origins.

EXTRAS
3/10

Aside from the hit and miss theatrical trailer, Golden Harvest provide a Making Of... and a Character profile.
Whilst the Character profile is somewhat useful, the Making Of is a waste of time as the subs provided are Chinese only, leaving Western viewers little reason to sit through it.

CONCLUSION
8/10

2002's mixture of ideas, actors and special effects may not always combine as satisfactorily as you'd like, but the film has verve and imagination which is more than can be said for a lot of films out at the moment.
For an entertaining 95 minutes of your time Wilson Yip's latest production should certainly keep you in high spirits.

MOVIE 8/10
PICTURE
8/10
SOUND
8/10
SUBTITLES
8/10
EXTRAS
3/10
MENUS
3/10
PACKAGING
7/10
OVERALL 8/10