Review & Afterthoughts: The White Storm 掃毒 (2013)

Warning: contains spoilers. It’s better if you’re reading after you’ve watched the film.

When you put Louis Koo, Nick Cheung and Sean Lau together in a movie poster, it’s bound to get lots of stares. What’s more? Benny Chan’s name just revealed that it’s gonna be action filled. (I’m glad I didn’t pay a lot of attention to the poster before I watched the movie ‘cos as I stare at it now, it contains LOTS of spoilers.)

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Alright, from the looks of it you know it’s gonna be three guys and loads of drugs. Indeed, but that’s not all in this 140min action packed film with bullets flying in every direction.

Good Story, good brotherhood albeit the unbelievable parts

It would have been scary if the entire movie only focuses on the drug dealings but fret not, drugs only act as a background here. When an operation to bring down the drug syndicate goes wrong, three friends take on different paths. Life and death decisions have to be made, and it’s not an easy choice when selfishness comes into place.

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I rarely cry when watching an action film but I did for this. The build up on the 3 protagonist’s friendship is good though not great, but it’s enough to make one shed some tears.

So, it has a good story about the development of friendship among the 3 men. Hmm, it’s certainly an improvement from Hong Kong films of the recent past but has yet to reach a standard where one will say “Now, that’s a brilliant action film from Hong Kong…” There are several generic plot twists that doesn’t leave you in wonder but they’re enough to make you hold your bladder for awhile.

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Okay, I actually like the film because you can really see the films improving with time. Before this, Benny Chan did Shaolin, Connected, Rob-B-Hood and even New Police Story. I think The White Storm is worth praising seeing how his films have evolved to be bigger and more complex in plot. Action wise, this film is just crazy, and that brings in the unbelievable parts:

  • In one scene, I think it was the forest, a helicopter aerial gun shoot takes place. Rapid firing of bullets and explosions everywhere. Everyone dies except for the important people who are needed to move the story forward. Now that’s excellent aiming.
  • Last scene, again mega exchange of bullets (bullets are free in this movie). Again, very good dodging until someone needs to die.
  • But hey, despite saying the 2 points above I gotta emphasize that this is a film. Which means, don’ take it too seriously even if some action scenes don’t make sense! Enjoy the bullet overdose!

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Well, besides the crazy parts, I actually have some likes to share with you:

  • I like how the characters are blocked, they’re always placed in a ‘triangle’ if you notice. And Louis is always in the middle when he’s with the other two, it’s like saying he’s always trapped by Nick and Sean. I think this formation only changed towards the end of the movie.
  • Some daring action (believable ones) that are quite exciting, I leave you to check it out.

Some dislikes:

  • Nick Cheung’s comeback and how he goes “whoohoo!” when engaging in a battle of cars with Sean Lau. Uhh, I’ve always admired Nick’s acting but somehow, that moment didn’t feel genuine.
  • Lo Hoi Pang’s (drug lord) hairstyle. What an image, and I really like the jokes in the last scene when bullets are firing and our three handsome lads can still ask him to go get a haircut.

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On Louis Koo

Something else I wanna say is that…when will Louis Koo have his big break? This undercover role here doesn’t provide much room for development. We’ve seen him in romantic comedies where he plays the handsome/nerdy kind. Action films as well, yes. But do you remember one iconic role when you mention his name? His most vivid roles to me, came from his TVB dramas instead. I remember him as the fair Yang Guo in The Condor Heroes 95, and the detective in Detective Investigations Files IV. A Step Into The Past was great as well, and there were many others. But in films, I guess we’ve yet to see him really outshine himself. He sure is a box office attraction but I haven’t come across a film where I can say “Louis Koo is such a great actor!!”. I believe the chance will come someday! =)

Watch this film or not? Why not watch it? Seeing the three veterans in one film together is worth your ticket.

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5 thoughts on “Review & Afterthoughts: The White Storm 掃毒 (2013)

  1. Pingback: A Year Of Hong Kong Films (2013) 香港電影:回看 2013 | Asian Cinema - The Good, The Bad & The Classics!

  2. Pingback: 33rd Hong Kong Film Awards 第三十三屆香港電影金像獎 | Asian Cinema - The Good, The Bad & The Classics!

  3. What a great movie. After a long time finally I have watched a movie that is captivating and brilliant. I like the brotherhood between the three lads. The chemistry among them worked for me.

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