Island of Greed Review: This is a well-meaning flick

This very expensive political thriller focuses on that illustrious home for corrupt politicians: Taiwan. Tony Leung Ka-Fai is Chou, a ruthless triad kingpin who is determined to join the Taiwan government. Fong (Andy Lau) is his nemesis, the leader of an anti-triad force who’s going to do everything necessary to take Chou down.

Island of Greed (Hac Kim) is a well-meaning flick that unfortunately suffers from byzantine plotting and an almost complete disregard for narrative logic. The back-stabbings and dirty double-dealings that make up the Taiwanese government are interesting, but also more than a little confusing.

There are just too many characters and too many private interests to cohere into a workable plot. The only compelling supporting character is Pauline Suen as Chou’s supportive wife. Otherwise, Annie Wu is nonexistent as the reporter girlfriend of Fong.

In fact, all plot threads involving Fong seem gratuitous. His rescue of his father and relationship to Wu are both unnecessary moments design to give Fong inner life. Sadly, it seems his character is around only for the requisite chase sequences.

The excellent action scenes are strangely out of place in this topical story. This is actually not a bad picture, but it gets crushed beneath its overwhelming potential, as it can’t match its premise. Redemption comes in the form of Tony Leung Ka-Fai, who returns to the A-list with this action film (phim hanh dong 2021).

As Chou, he’s charming, dangerous, and even sinister. Andy Lau (Luu Duc Hoa) suffers by comparison – he seems to spend the whole film moping. This film is worth seeing for the subject matter, but as entertainment it only rings false.

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