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
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
Black levels occasionally fall into the blue-ish area, but this
never becomes too obvious.
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.
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.
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.
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.