So Close (2003)

Genres - Action  |   Sub-Genres - Sci-Fi Action, Tech Noir  |   Release Date - Sep 12, 2003 (USA - Limited)  |   Run Time - 110 min.  |   Countries - China, Hong Kong  |   MPAA Rating - R
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Review by Josh Ralske

So Close to Charlie's Angels, and yet so unique. In the world of cinema, turnabout is fair play. McG borrowed heavily from Hong Kong cinema to give Charlie's Angels added panache, and So Close comes off as a high-flying, energetic, candy-colored rip-off of McG's film. But the movie is so much fun to watch that one can simply ignore the lifted musical cues and excessive use of the word "angel" and enjoy it for its own pleasures. The plot is disposable, as these things go, but the three lead actresses succeed in creating distinctive and sympathetic characters. They're more than just eye candy. Karen Mok is particularly good as Hong, the maverick cop who develops a surprisingly flirtatious relationship with Sue (Zhao Wei), one of her targets. Mok has the perfect take-no-prisoners demeanor in the role. You can almost believe she could take out an elevator full of baddies between floors, and that brilliantly staged throwaway sequence is just one of the film's spectacular fight scenes. As his work with Jet Li attests, director Corey Yuen has skills only hinted at by his major studio debut, The Transporter. He brings these to bear in a big way with So Close. In the opening scene, Lynn (Shu Qi) uses her specially designed high-heeled boots to take on a whole building full of thugs. This elaborate set piece sets the film's tone of ludicrous, glossy, high-tech mayhem. And it just gets better, with an exciting car chase, which Lynn directs via satellite while fighting off an army of assassins, and the phenomenally choreographed climactic sword fight, which has Mok and Zhao teaming up to fight Yasuaki Kurata. The drama and romance aren't quite as interesting, but these action sequences alone make So Close worth watching.