Thursday, December 08, 2016

Sky on Fire

Got this thing nearly done last night, only to have my computer shut down because apparently it was ignoring the electricity coming to it via the power supply and just working off the battery. What's up with that, machine? Am I not falling behind enough?

Anyway, as I am falling behind, I'll confine the stuff outside the review to a couple of things: First, that it's interesting that it came out this past weekend, because it came out 8 days earlier in Australia to coincide with its Chinese release. Releases are weird down there - it's seemingly the only place where Thursday is new-release day, and not just for early previews as is basically the case for everything now in the US, but there also seem to be some pretty solid preview runs (there were a bunch of posters showing Trolls coming out on 1 December, but there were matinees for much of the week before, and other previews at odd times, like 9pm Sunday). I could have seen it, especially on one of the nights where I tried to get to Your Name only to find it sold out, although after spending the day walking around I often didn't know whether I could hold out another two hours. The American release date kind of shows how Well Go is somewhat uniquely being pulled between two different markets - you want to have it close to the Chinese date to avoid piracy, but the weekend after Thanksgiving isn't considered good in America, especially since Lam's a guy folks might know.

Second - and I am kind of hoping I don't really get an answer - just how common is it for adoptive siblings to be attracted to each other? I remember everyone being "dude, that's weird" in The Royal Tennenbaums, but now it's a regular thing on The Flash even though everyone I recommend the show to is like "wait... what?" when I get to Barry Allen being raised by Iris West's dad not interfering with her being his love interest, and it's a thoroughly weird thing to appear in the last act here. Granted, the latter two were probably not technically adopted, but, man, it's a thin line, right?

Chongtian huo (Sky on Fire)

* * (out of four)
Seen 5 December 2016 in AMC Boston Common #6 (first-run, DCP)

It's strange to say this about Ringo Lam Ling-tung's new action movie, but Sky on Fire could do with a whole lot more melodrama than it offers. As much as it's usually considered more impressive craft to communicate emotions with some subtlety or have the plot reveal itself gradually, this movie doesn't really ignite until Lam douses it with lighter fluid, and he doesn't do that nearly enough.

The sky in question is the Sky Clinic, located in 160-floor skyscraper "Sky One", a company having phenomenal success in treating cancer, although there's tragedy in its past and the prices are high. Too high for the likes of Lin Jia (Joseph Chang Hsiau-chuen), who has done everything he can for his sister "Jane" Siu Jun (Amber Kuo Tsai-chieh), just back from an attempt at treatment overseas. While they're seeing a former colleague of Sky Clinic founders Gao Yu (Zhang Jingchu) and Tang (Fan Guangyao), the son of another is holding up a truck full of Sky's "Ex-Stem Cells". Security chief Chong Tinbo (Daniel Wu Yin-cho) pursues ringleader Poon Ziwan (Zhang Ruoyun), but when their paths intersect...

... well, it might be nice if more happened. There's a nifty heist and car chase, and then the movie does a severe downshift, almost like Ziwan and Professor Lee really had no plans for what they would do after they got the cells and Sky realized that, while insurance wouldn't cover the whole thing, their business wouldn't be in immediate peril if this went missing. Lam's script sometimes feels like a bunch of ideas circling that have places where they can connect around strong emotions and motivations, but they never really pull together, and the eventually he starts adding and discarding those pieces almost at random.

Full review on EFC.

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