Wesley's Mysterious File, The
Hong Kong 2002
Directed by Andrew Lau.

Now, although I recognize bad SF, that doesn't mean I don't still enjoy it. Typically, I'm pretty forgiving of SF films, though gaping logical flaws get on my nerves. MEN IN BLACK was bad SF. No explanation, gaping plot logic, and lame attempts at comedy. Nontheless, it was boffo at the box-office and spawned a sequel. As a template for another film, it wouldn't be my first choice. But then, I'm not Wong Jing. And it was Jing who produced THE WESLEY'S MYSTERIOUS FILE, Hong Kong's latest entry into the Sci-Fi sweepstakes. It borrows liberally from American Sci-Fi in the Wong Jing tradition, grabbing from MEN IN BLACK and TERMINATOR 2 especially. But it also holds its own and -- happily -- maintains a more serious tone than MIB or in fact many of Wong Jing's other works. Andy Lau is Wesley, investigating alien existence on this earth. He works outside of the MIB-influenced FBI operation, run by Shu Qi and Roy Cheung. They're hot on the trail of the Blue-Blooded Alien (Rosamund Kwan). Two other aliens, the "Warlock Toxin Group," are gunning for her as well -- red maggoty swarming creatures that form into Mark Cheng and Almen Wong. They are unstoppable in a T2 kind of way, right down to the police uniforms they end up wearing for most of the film. But in addition to borrowing from American SF (there's also, a quick nod to BLADE), HK has its own indigenous though much neglected tradition as well, mainly in the form of writer Ngai Hong, who wrote the pulp series of Wesley books. And in a movie tradition that always has the heroes looking for a lost book of Martial Arts mastery to keep it out of the hands of the "Iron Palm Master Group" so they cannot master the "No-Shadow Kick," a singular delight in this SF movie is to see the Blue-Blooded alien seeking the "Blue-Blood Bible" to defeat the "Warlock Toxin Group." Who would like this film? I would imagine Andy Lau fans would love it. Rosamund Kwan is great -- and gorgeous. Mark Cheng and Almen Wong are the perfect choices for unstoppable killing machines. Wong Jing appears in the film, which is never pleasant, though his character served a purpose and was sort of amusing -- just think Joe Pesci from the LETHAL WEAPON, but not as annoying. Too bad in the current climate in HK, cinemagoers flock to Hollywood S/fx productions and shun the local product. As a result, people the world over will no doubt be treated to MIB5, but we will never see THE WESLEY'S MYSTERIOUS FILE 2.

Rating: Recommended (Recommended)

Posted by Peter Nepstad on September 08, 2004.

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