Mission: Impossible copycat lacks claws

FIRING BLANKS: Peng struggles to not blow his cover and ruin his make-up as an undercover cop in Lam's historically inaccurate action fest.


    Oct 06, 2016

    Mission: Impossible copycat lacks claws


    Action / 124 minutes / Opens today

    Rating: 2.5/5

    SEAS and rivers run red with blood in this China-Hong Kong production.

    This action-thriller is based on the aftermath of the 2011 massacre of 13 Chinese sailors by warlord Naw Kham, a notorious figure controlling the drug trade in the Golden Triangle.

    What might have been an intriguing look at the politics of cross-border law enforcement in South-east Asia is a sleek, empty parade of military hardware.

    Respected Hong Kong director Dante Lam has not thrown out nuance and historical accuracy, he has crushed them and booted them into outer space.

    He throws fistfuls of cash into the action - there are car chases on roads and an attack on Naw Kham's jungle lair that resembles World War III.

    But the rest of the story brings to mind a Mission: Impossible knock-off.

    Too bad there was no money left over to make the moustache and facial prosthetics of undercover cop Fang (Eddie Peng) look less like Halloween buys from an everything-$2 shop.

    The extremely capable Chinese actor Zhang Hanyu is also wasted as the captain of the Chinese narcotics team.

    Each member is selfless, patriotic, hard-working - and extremely forgettable.