Buddha is the Al Sharpton of Thai drug lords. That ridiculous coif should be
sufficient grounds to throw his butt in jail. However, he also has an extensive
body count to his credit and a massive wave of heroin headed towards Hong Kong.
The only thing standing in its way is an extremely tired undercover cop, his
handler, and their boss and mutual boyhood chum. Their friendship will be
severely strained in Benny Chan’s action conflagration The White Storm (trailer here), which screens during the 2014 New York Asian Film Festival.
Kin-chau is due for some R&R with his very pregnant wife, but Chief
Inspector Ma Ho-tin keeps sending him out for one more sting. They were
supposed to finally bust his longtime target Black Chai, but when Ma learns the
trafficker has a deal in the works with Eight-Faced, So must engineer a last
minute escape for the both of them. So reluctantly goes deep undercover with
Black Chai with only Ma, their third Musketeer Cheung Chi-wai, and another
honest HK colleague for back-up.
the boundary between cops and criminals in Thailand is rather porous. Ma and
his colleagues have to go rogue just to foil the crooked cops trying to rat out
So. Unfortunately, when Ma’s game-changing operation goes wrong, it goes
massively, cinematically wrong. It will fatally sabotage his career and plague
his conscience for years, until a big twist suggests his guilt might be a tad
is nothing subtle about White Storm.
It is all about projectile explosions and brooding, but it truly delivers some awesome
over-the-top action spectacle. Nothing is off the table including a romance
with Eight-Faced’s transgendered daughter, Mina Wei. Arguably, that is the most
sensitively rendered element of this delirious gun-down. Evidently, Nick Cheung’s
steamy publicity photo shoot with the transgender beauty queen Treechada “Poyd”
Malayaporn raised quite a few eyebrows in HK, so mission accomplished.
fact, all three big name leads are in fine form throughout. Louis Koo’s So slow
burns like nobody’s business, while Sean Lau Ching-wan compellingly portrays Ma’s
rapid descent from hot shot to a self-loathing shell of a man. However, Cheung
takes viewers on the wildest character arc as his rapidly evolving namesake.
Vithaya Pansringarm, who stole just about every scene in Only God Forgives, also turns up, playing a far more ethically
ambiguous cop, but he is criminally under-employed.
Storm indulges in quite a bit of exotic Thai exoticism, Chan never strays
too far from an old school hail of bullets. Its super-charged energy level and
tragic sensibilities follow in the tradition of some of the best HK action
films. Highly recommended for fans of Hong Kong Cinema and the big name cast, The White Storm screens tomorrow (6/29)
at the Walter Reade Theater, as part of this year’s NYAFF.
Labels: Benny Chan, Hong Kong Cinema, Louis Koo, Nick Cheung, NYAFF '14, Treechada "Poyd" Malayaporn, Vithaya Pansringarm