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Chik yeung tin sai (2002)

So Close (international English Title), Xi yang tian shi

Looks can be deceiving.

Rating: 6/10

Running Time: 110 minutes

UK Certificate: 15


‘So Close’ must be one of the most ridiculous movies of the year. Huge chunks of the plot are practically impossible to fathom, it’s 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 it’s been a while since any movie made me smile quite as much.

Like a vastly superior Eastern equivalent of the ‘Charlie’s 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 who’s hot on their trail.

Morbid overtone or not, it’s all just so happy and pretty and nice. When our hired hitgirls aren’t out shooting or kicking every henchman in sight, they’re giggling about boys or play-fighting with their towels at bath time. Seriously, all it’s 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 you’ll 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 Sue’s 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 2004’s London Lesbian and Gay Film Festival – though blink and you’ll miss the tenuous links to lesbianism. It’s 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 ‘Charlie’s 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, that’s what women do ALL THE TIME. I think.

DVD Extras Trailers for ‘Blackmask 2: City of Masks’ and ‘Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle’, along with ‘So Close’ itself. DVD Extras Rating: 2/10


Part action, part drama, part shampoo ad – ‘So Close’ brings us the cuddliest, cutesiest, sweetest trained killers in all of Hong Kong. Awww, bless.