The Beast Stalker Review: An explosive action drama

The Beast Stalker is an explosive action drama that documents the entwined lives of three people involved in a shocking car smash.

District Attorney Ann (Zhang Jingchu) whose daughter has been kidnapped by a crime lord. Sergeant Tong (Nicholas Tse) the redemption seeking cop responsible for the accidental death of Ann’s other daughter. And Hung (Nick Cheung or Truong Gia Huy). The near-blind kidnapper who also has to care for his paralytic wife while his conscience threatens to get the better of him.

Opening with an impressive car chase and an explosive crash. All captured in devastating slow motion and from various different angles. Just so we can appreciate how cool it all looks. The Beast Stalker (Chuoc Toi) contains all the elements that make for a great Hong Kong action movie. It occupies a place alongside the likes of Infernal Affairs. And even pre-Hollywood John Woo actioners.

Enhancing the breakneck action is slick, high-octane NYDB Blue style camera work ensuring a nitty-gritty intimacy that thrusts the viewer right into the ensuing action. So there is a lot of action in this film. It’s also an incredibly well written film, with surprising attention paid to plotting, structure and characterisation. The final moment that reveals how all three story strands are tied together. Connecting the characters that move about within them, might be well signposted. But it still makes quite an impact.

While much of what happens is quite predictable and the characterisation is arguably quite clichéd. It is enhanced by strong performances from the three leads. And even though events swerve into overt melodrama complete with cheesy piano music and overwrought flashbacks. The Beast Hunter still packs a visceral punch. Where it manages to unquestionably succeed is in the taut action set pieces and the dramatic thrust of the narrative. Which generally hurtles along to a satisfying climax. With well-sustained tension and audacious plot twists that will keep your jaw on the floor.

The Beast Stalker is a good old-fashioned action movie (phim hanh dong hay). That never fails to thrill and increase the adrenaline flow. It also benefits from actually having a well written script. Believable characters and great performances. So it marks director Dante Lam as one to keep an eye on.

Movie Info

Rating: NR
Genre: Action & Adventure. Art House & International. Mystery & Suspense
Directed By: Dante Lam
In Theaters: Nov 27, 2008 Wide
On Disc/Streaming: May 26, 2009
Runtime: 110 minutes

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