BLU-RAY REVIEW: ACCIDENT (2009)
Shout! Factory has teamed up with Media Asia Films to bring us in the States the Johnnie To-produced action-suspense-thriller ACCIDENT. Directed by Soi Cheang (DOG BITE DOG) and filled with many familiar faces to fans of Hong Kong cinema such as Louis Koo (TRIAD ELECTION), Richie Jen (EXILED), Feng Tsui Fan (MY LUCKY STARS), Michelle Ye (VENGEANCE), and Lam Suet (THE MISSION)—this film is sure packing some all-star talent from the get-go. I was just hoping that the film was going to deliver a smart script that was going to utilize all this talent. Soi Cheang’s ACCIDENT did not disappoint.
The premise of ACCIDENT is a unique one, something that I had not really encountered in a film before, about a team of assassins led by Brain (Louis Koo), who stage intricately planned accidents for intended victims whom they are paid to assassinate. The team, consisting of Feng Tsui Fan as Uncle, Michelle Ye as Woman, and Lam Suet as Fatty (which if one is familiar with Hong Kong Cinema they will find Suet’s characters to be named “fatty” or the word in some other form in many of his roles). This website is a great admirer of Asian films, Hong Kong films in particular, so when we heard that Shout! Factory was collaborating with Media Asia, we were very excited!
ACCIDENT works on many levels as film, from its very creative and extremely well-planned accidental murders–each aspect and detail of the actual murder meticulously planned out beforehand by the team–to the murder itself unfolding right in front of the audience as each detail is intricately laid out. Then the film turns for a twist following an accidental mishap (or was it) adding to the psychological strain and developing trust issues within the films’ lead character, Brain, as he slowly falls into a spiral of distrust (partly due to the nature of business he is in). Brain (Koo) begins to live his life around a bubble of paranoia. Who is to be trusted? Was the death of one member of the team purely an accident or was their some sort of foul play involved? Brain no longer trusts his small team when after completing a very tricky kill things do not go exactly as planned and one member of their team is killed. One has to question if this death was truly the result of an accident, or is there another team of assassins working out there (as the film suggests) in their line of work who were paid to take out Brain and the members of his team. The film intricately weaves a web of distrust between all the characters in the film and leaves the viewer wondering what is truth and what is pure speculation from a mind slowly losing the balance between being cautious and just becoming paranoid.
One has to give kudos to lead actor Louis Koo who gives the finest performance of the film, his character very quiet and guarded, usually emanating thoughts or reactions without saying a word and relying solely on facial expressions. There is no narrative or thoughts from Koo’s head to explain to viewers what is happening (as some movies tend to do) and I think this makes the actor have to really extend his talents to say more with less dialogue. My amazement came when watching each meticulously planned murder and the use of various shots and camera angles that were edited all together. The film had some solid cinematography and some very intense kill scenes. In one scene, a victim is essentially electrocuted, his body going up in a burst of flames incorporating some very realistic special effects. That same scene is followed by a masterfully-crafted traffic accident that was flawless in its execution.
The film has some very intense scenes of chaos and action but also moves along slow and methodical, a slow burn if you will, to build Koo’s character up, throwing in a re0ccuring back-story into Brain’s past which helps to add another dimension and depth to him. The film could easily be classified as a mystery for one is not sure as to what really happened until the films’ twisted and slightly unexpected ending.
The film runs a short 87 minutes and is subtitled in English with a Cantonese DTS-HD 5.1 audio soundtrack. The Anamorphic Widescreen Transfer has an aspect ratio of 2.35:1 and looks flawless. The colors are very vibrant and even the shots filmed at night in the rain are well lit and display crisp colors.
As for the special features on the film, there only is a “Making Of” Featurette and the original theatrical trailer. The “Making Of” featurette is not very long, but it does have the director, producer, and all of the key actors and actresses talking about specific scenes and aspects of the film. I felt that it was better than nothing.
In the end, I was just grateful that an accurately subtitled and excellent looking print of ACCIDENT came out on Blu-ray from Shout! Factory from a very talented director in Choi and an even more talented producer/director in Johnnie To. I really hope more films from Hong Kong show up on our shores on Blu-ray subtitled for HK Cinema fans such as those at SHU-IZMZ. I highly recommend watching this film is one is in the mood for something a little bit different and unique coming from Hong Kong.