With Dada Chen at NYAFF 2013

With Dada Chen at NYAFF 2013
With Dada Chen at NYAFF 2013

Sunday, January 20, 2008

ACF 063: Fatal Contact 2-disc DVD

Fatal Contact / Hak kuen
Written & Directed by Dennis Law
Hong kong / 2006 / 110 minutes

Fatal Contact, a Hong Kong actioner about a young man who enters the dangerous world of illegal underground boxing in Hong Kong, is set for a Tuesday, January 22, 2008 release as a 2-disc Ultimate Edition from Genuis Products and The Weinstein Company under their highly respected Dragon Dynasty label.

Kong Ko, Captain and Siu Tin in the obligatory "training scene"
that here is played to great comic effect

Kong Ko (Jacky Wu Jing), a Peking Opera performer from the Mainland, is initially reluctant to participate, but changes his mind when the lovely Siu Tin (Miki Yeung) encourages him to look into it as a way of using his wushu skills to make lots of money. Kong does well, but as the sakes -- and payouts -- increase, he enlists Captain (Ronald Cheng) to train him.

Kong takes on the last opponent in the three-on-three
fight on the deck of a large cargo ship

Overall the plot is a familiar one, but I have to give Dennis Law a lot of credit for some plot twists and developments towards the end that I didn't see coming and that made the story fresher than it would have been otherwise.

The dialog and acting are nothing to rave about, but nothing to rage about either. They're both about what you'd expect for a film featuring some relatively inexperienced newcomers (here I'm thinking primarily of the two female leads) and a limited budget.

The action sequences are another matter altogether, which they should be since this is the real reason for coming to the dance. In one of the extras, Jacky Wu says that there are ten fight scenes. I didn't count them, but that sounds about right to me. Overall, these are some of the finest action sequences I've seen in any Hong Kong film in recent years, combining realistic fighting with superb wire-work. The imagination and planning that went into these scenes are obviously considerable. In both quantity and quality, they're exceptional.

Credit for this must be shared by writer/director Dennis Law, action coordinator Nicky Li, and cinematographer Herman Yau. Fatal Contact, by the way, was director Law's first action film! (He's followed it up with Fatal Move (Duo shuai), which is set for a February 26, 2008 release in Hong Kong. In addition to Jacky Wu, this gang war tale stars Sammo Hung and Simon Yam. Here's hoping Dragon Dynasty will come through for us with that promising release not too far down the road.)

For a terrific mini-trailer that'll give you a sense of the terrific action to be found in Fatal Contact, click here.

Disc 1 features:
- Feature length audio commentary by Director Dennis Law and Honk Kong film authority Bey Logan
- Cantonese Dolby 5.1 and DTS soundtracks
- English Doby 5.1 soundtrack
- English, English SDH, and Spanish subtitles

Disc 2 Extras:
- Separate interviews with Jacky Wu, Director Dennis Law (the only one of the four in English, the others being subtitled), actress Theresa Fu (who plays Chui Chi, a friend of Tin's), and Miki Yeung
- Life is a Contact Sport - billed as a behind the scenes featurette, but basically a video of Jacky Wu's month-long training with the Free Combat Team in Beijing
- Original theatrical trailer

ACF Rating:
Film - 3 out of 4 stars (solid recommendation, but keep in mind that this is because the action is what matters here, not the acting and dialog)
Extras - 3 out of 4 stars (Dragon Dynasty has again put out a fine package that truly gives the Asian action film lover their money's worth and then some)

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