So Close (international English Title), Xi yang tian shi
Looks can be deceiving.
Sheung Mo Lam
Running Time: 110 minutes
UK Certificate: 15
Country: Hong Kong
So Close must be one of the most ridiculous movies of the year. Huge chunks of the plot are practically impossible to fathom, its chock-full of OTT action sequences where everyone and I mean everyone knows martial arts, and Close to You by the Carpenters is used as a backing track to a harrowingly large number of scenes. But its been a while since any movie made me smile quite as much.
Like a vastly superior Eastern equivalent of the Charlies Angels flicks, it focuses on three high-kicking Hong Kong hotties. Lynn (Qi Shu, of The Transporter fame) and her cute kid sister Sue (Vicki Zhao) are professional assassins hired to take out the head of a giant and slightly-corrupt computer corporation, and Hong (Karen Mok) is the nubile rookie cop whos hot on their trail.
Morbid overtone or not, its all just so happy and pretty and nice. When our hired hitgirls arent out shooting or kicking every henchman in sight, theyre giggling about boys or play-fighting with their towels at bath time. Seriously, all its missing is a pyjama-clad pillow fight. It just makes you want to say awwww and hug your TV set. Or maybe buy it a bunch of flowers and a fluffy toy. Or perhaps take it on a camping holiday.
Of course, taking it even remotely seriously is virtually impossible, and youll find it even more confusing if you attempt to watch it with both the English dubbing and subtitles switched on (Women in love are nuts! says Sues voiceover. People with sweethearts are selfish! read the subtitles).
Directed with obvious enthusiasm by Corey Yuen (the uncredited co-helmsman of The Transporter), So Close was first seen on UK shores at 2004s London Lesbian and Gay Film Festival – though blink and youll miss the tenuous links to lesbianism. Its an angle some sections of the press have been keen to play-up, though a market much more likely to enjoy it are fans of the gleefully overplayed action flicks of a Hong Kong past not to mention absolutely anyone who thought the Charlies Angels movies had potential but only served to disappoint. Are you watching, McG?
It's Got: Lovely hair.
It Needs: A scene involving one of the characters having slices of cucumber over her eyes. After all, thats what women do ALL THE TIME. I think.
DVD Extras Trailers for Blackmask 2: City of Masks and Charlies Angels: Full Throttle, along with So Close itself. DVD Extras Rating: 2/10
Alternatives:Charlie's Angels, Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle, Mission: Impossible, Mission: Impossible 2
Part action, part drama, part shampoo ad So Close brings us the cuddliest, cutesiest, sweetest trained killers in all of Hong Kong. Awww, bless.