Slick guys, plot like a squiggly line

END OF THE LINE: Smooth criminals Master (Koo, left) and Lam (Cheung) are set for a showdown of Olympian proportions in Rio. But it's hard for the viewer to care in this stylish yet convoluted flick.


    Aug 11, 2016

    Slick guys, plot like a squiggly line


    109 minutes/ Action/ Opens today

    Rating: 2.5/5

    FROM Hong Kong comes a straightforward blast of Canto-cool.

    In Line Walker, the male leads walk, talk, drive, eat noodles and slurp energy drinks with cool oozing from every well-moisturised pore.

    This crime thriller tries so hard to make its male leads look so urbane and unruffled that it veers into a parody of the man-of-mystery trope.

    The two in question are smooth criminals Master (Louis Koo, always the colour of rich mahogany) and Lam (Nick Cheung), one of whom may be a mole for the police.

    It is the job of undercover cop Ding (Charmaine Sheh), a ditzy female, to find out which, because records have been destroyed.

    She reports to the straight arrow Q (Francis Ng), whose surveillance network puts him one step ahead of the duo.

    Master and Lam cross over to Brazil for a drug deal, which goes wrong and puts them on a collision course with another major triad figure.

    The plot extends the hugely successful TVB series first aired in 2014.

    Ding (one of two players crossing from the series to this film), the protagonist in the television show as some synopses suggest, seems to have been demoted to a caricature in the movie.

    She pops up sporadically to offer jokes about her sex appeal, or lack thereof, and to be a damsel in distress.

    The plot is heavy on twists, Mexican stand-offs and energy-drink sipping (the product placement is not subtle).

    By the fifth plot twist, it becomes hard to care because the story has become a throwaway element, secondary to gunplay and ensuring that the two male stars have great hair.