Sunday, May 13, 2012

The Viral Factor - 逆戰

The Viral Factor (逆戰) is an 2012 film out of China and Hong Kong. The movie stars Jay Chou, and Nicholas Tse. The supporting cast include Lin Peng, Bai Bing, Andy On, and Carl Ng. The majority of the movie takes place in Malaysia's Kuala Lumpur. The movie starts in Jordan and ends in Beijing.

The Story
Jay Chou plays an special agent, Jon Man, of an international group called International Defense Commission (IDC). The are in Jordan to escort a biochemical scientist, along with his wife and daughter out of the battle zone and to safety. The scientist has been able to mutate an smallpox virus for mass destruction. During the escort, they group is attacked and later revealed to be an inside job. Jon's in love with another agent in the escort called ICE, played by Bai Bing. During the ambush, ICE is shot dead and the bullet travels through her to injure Jon. Jon is saved, but the bullet is too deep in to be removed. Jon is given 2+ weeks to live in his current condition. Jon travels home to his wheelchair stricken mother but keeps the injury a secret from her. The mother breaks down and reveals that she left a brother and father from a previous life of abuse. Jon was too young to remember them and the mother told Jon that his father died long ago. The mother wants to see them and to possibility reconcile. Jon sets out for Kula Lumpur to find the father and brother. On the way there, Jon has medical attack that leaves him zombie-fied. The doctor the on the plane is played by Lin Peng as Rachel Kan, whom is also an renowned scientist. When Jon comes to from the attack, he thanks Kan and they get off the plane together. Kan offers Jon a ride, but Jon declines and gets a taxi. While entering the taxi, Jon notices that Kan is a bit strange and tails her. When the kidnappers notice Jon tailing, they kidnap him too. Jon kicks it into high gear and tries to escape and save Kan. The kidnappers is lead by Nicholas Tse as Man Yeung. Yeung is able to defeat Jon, but sees a family picture fall out of Jon's wallet. The picture is of him with his father and mother and Jon. Yeung spares Jon and escapes. Jon is taken to the hospital and continues to track down Yeung and Kan. Kan is eventually captured and force to make the small pox virus antidote. Jon and Yeung are finally reunited, but they are worlds apart in lifestyle. One is a perpetual criminal and one is part of the law.

My Thoughts
The movie was all over the place. Don't watch the movie and expect the story to make complete sense. It has an brotherhood angle, family reunion angle, revenge angle, terminal illness angle, global treat angle, and fatherhood issues angle. And that's just from the main characters. The subplots of the movie drag it down even more. For me, I was really bothered by the switch between Cantonese and Mandarin in the film. I usually like the Taiwan or China dubbed Mandarin versions so I don't have to read subtitles. This one had English, Malay, Cantonese, Mandarian, and Arabic. The majority was Cantonese and Mandarin. When Jay spoke, it was either Mandarin or English. When Nicholas Tse spoke, it was Cantonese. Weirdness.

Is the movie worth watching? YES! This is one of the highest production value movies out of China and Hong Kong in some time. They were at international locations, had good special effects, and its a movie that can hit the international market via DVD and VOD. This was also the movie that Nicholas Tse was filming during the Cecilia Cheung and Edison plane encounter that eventually led to their separation.

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