Monday, 26 March 2012

The Viral Factor

Hong Kong action at it's best!
Released March 29th on DVD/Blu-Ray

The Viral Factor
Action/Drama -  20 January 2012 (Hong Kong)
Director: Dante Lam
Writers: Dante Lam (screenplay), Candy Leung (story)Stars: Jay Chou, Nicholas Tse, Carl Ng and Bing Bai

This film came out in January and it could already be a contender for the best action film of the year! Dante Lam has created a non stop action, pull no punches thrill ride from start to finish which is hugely entertaining and a feast for the eyes.


A mission gone wrong leaves cop Jon (Jay Chou, Green Hornet/Initial D) with a bullet in his head, and the diagnosis of two weeks to live. His mother (Elaine Jin) confesses to Jon that he has an older brother that he knows nothing. In travelling to Kuala Lumpur to track down his father (Liu Kai-chi), Jon quickly crosses paths with this brother, Yeung (Nicholas Tse, Beast Stalker/Bodyguards and Assassins), a thief and single father.
Soon Jon and Yeung are both on the trail and in the cross hairs of Sean (Andy On), a corrupt government agent and former colleague of Jon’s working in cahoots with a billionaire and a legion of henchmen to develop a mutated strain of the smallpox virus, and its corresponding antidote, to create a panic and make a fortune in peddling the cure.

Anyone going into this expecting an Academy Award winning film will be disappointed. What The Viral Factor is, is an action film. Reminiscent of the great Hong Kong actions films of the 90s, The Viral Factor has explosions, car chases, fight scenes and gun shoot outs a plenty. This will keep you entertained for the 2 hour running time.

What'd you say bish?!

The Viral Factor has a big budget by Hong Kong standards, reportedly about $25 million USD. And it uses the budget very effectively. Filmed in stunning locations in  Hong Kong, Xi'an, Middle East, Malaysia, Vietnam, Thailand, Jordan and Singapore with the majority being in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Money is also spent on cars getting destroyed, tanks, choppers, big explosions and many many big gun fights.

Jay Chou plays the lead, most western audiences will recognise him from The Green Hornet but he is one of the biggest pop stars in Asia and has starred in many films like Initial D, Secret and Curse of the Golden Flower. He has came on greatly as an actor in this role and delivers his scenes better. Bit of sad news though, Jay Chou said this will be his last action role.

Nicholas Tse is the co-star and is very familiar to anyone who watches Hong Kong films. After acting in 40 films, Tse has came on a long way since his 90s roles were he reallied on his 'Idol' image and looks. Nicholas Tse is now one of the best actors in Hong Kong, so it's only right he has the hard and emotional scenes in this flick.

The Viral Factor has been in good hands with acclaimed director Dante Lam. Having directed films such as Beast Cops, Twins Effect and The Beast Stalker, Lam really knows how to direct a good action film. And he has really stepped up his game in delivering solid exciting action. Something that stood out about this film was the fight scenes were very realistic, very brutal looking and no wires or crazy unrealistic jumps in sight.

Initial D gone wrong!

However. The Viral Factor does have flaws. The storyline falls away mid way through the film and it focuses more on the relationship between brothers, only to be brought back at the very end. There is also a lot of movie convinces but it's a popcorn action film, so I'll allow it.

All in, I would recommend this film to all, especially people who miss the days of good old Hong Kong action. Western audiences would also enjoy this high octane action flick, some of which is even in English! Get the DVD at yesasia with English subtitles from March 29th.


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