So Close

Dir: Corey Yuen
At heart this is a rather silly film that tries to mix melodrama with spectacular violence in the grand tradition of John Woo,
but has trouble keeping the two hanging together.
Hsu Chi and Vicki Zhao (the female lead in Shaolin Soccer) play sisters whose parents were murdered years before by thugs over their father’s magical software. Now, they use the software–a program that can tap into any security camera anywhere–as assassins for hire. Lynn (Hsu) does the leg work, Sue (Zhao) stays at home behind monitors and guides her. After an opening sequence where Lynn kills off an evil CEO and jumps off a skyscraper to safety, rookie-but-brilliant cop, Hong, played by Karen Mok, is on the case and begins to track them down.
Just recounting the plot makes no sense. But for some reason it hangs together, as it’s only a backbone to have the sisters in a cat and mouse with Hong, and, like Woo, set up a series of fight scenes where adversaries slowly become partners against a larger menace (here, the same corporation as seen in the beginning). Woo’s homoerotic attraction here becomes thinly vieled (and barely explored) lesbianism between the cop (who wears slacks and smokes those silly long cigarettes) and the heavy-lidded Sue. Meanwhile, Lynn is involved with a drippy guy who may cause her to leave the business.
When the women have at it and bring the smack-down, the film comes alive. Nothing’s as brutal as the Bride/Elle Driver fight in Kill Bill 2, but the scenes are well shot and cut, and nobody stops for a witty quip. There’s also gratuitous shots of Mok’s pantie-clad booty and lots of Hsu Chi flesh. Who can complain?
But seriously, if you’re going to be an ultra-secret assassination team, why the huge summer house? Who pays for this? When Mok gets framed for murder later in the film, it makes no sense. Nor does a computer system that on one hand is so advanced it offered real time shots over the network of security cams, but on the other seems to take ten seconds to send a 1k email.
So Close is pure eye candy, and that’s great, but it’s hard to imagine the script making it out of development so quickly here. It’s truly slapdash. It’s to the credit of the actors, mostly Mok, who I find fascinating even when she’s hamming it up, that the movie isn’t a total stinker.

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