Ying is sort of a Ming era Austin Powers. The disgraced Imperial Guard
certainly kicks things off in a similar fashion when he is re-animated amidst modern
day Hong Kong. Just why a cabal of shady characters was ferrying about his
incubator in the first place is a question that may or may not be answered in
Law Wing-cheong’s Iceman (trailer here), which opens this
Friday in New York.
1621, He Ying was set up by his comrade Cheung and their sworn brothers Sao and
Niehu dutifully believed it. Flashforward to modern Hong Kong, where the truck
carrying He Ying, Sao, and Niehu’s cryo-pods meets with a freak accident. He is
the first to awaken, but Sao and Niehu soon start tracking him. Initially just
as confused by the plot as the audience, He falls in with May, a Mainland
immigrant supporting her institutionalized mother as a club hostess. It turns
out he happens to have some very valuable knick-knacks on his person that will
help pay her overdue bills. He also has some highly motivated enemies on his
tail. Further complicating matters, his old nemesis Cheung is apparently
serving as the deputy police commissioner.
based on Clarence Fok’s The Iceman Cometh,
Law’s Iceman features a couple of
awesome action scenes, but they come amid an awful lot of fish-out-of-water
dilly-dallying. One thing you won’t find in there is a sense of resolution. Instead,
it ends with a tease for the forthcoming part two. Wisely, it promises more
action, because the characters and humor of part one may not have a lot of fans
clamoring for more.
course, Donnie Yen is awesome getting down to business, but he looks about as
stiff as four hundred year old warrior-cycle in his comedic scenes.
Fortunately, the always reliable Simon Yam does his villainous thing as Cheung.
Since Law is a Johnnie To protégé, you know it is only a matter of time before
Lam Suet shows up. In this case, he largely steals the show as Tang, an
outrageously crooked politician. Eva Huang Shengyi gives May a bit of an edge,
which is nice, but Wang Baoqiang and Yu Kang are largely non-factors as the
big action set pieces will temporarily please genre diehards, but the humor
just does not travel well. Still, hope springs eternal for part two. For part
one, Yen and Lam fans can safely wait to rent, stream, or demand. Regardless, Iceman opens theatrically tomorrow
(9/19) in New York at the AMC Empire.
Labels: Donnie Yen, Hong Kong Cinema, Simon Yam