Film Review: Caught in Time (2020) by Lau Ho Leung

Screenwriter Lau debuted as a director in 2015 with a heist movie “Two Thumbs Up” starring Francis Ng and Simon Yam. Based mostly on true occasions, “Caught in Time” is his comply with up and it considerations the story of a ruthless mainland Chinese language prison Zhang Jun (Daniel Wu) and his Eagle gang who rob and kill as they commit robberies all through totally different provinces of China throughout the Nineteen Nineties.

Signature Leisure is releasing this motion thriller on Digital Platforms beginning February 7, 2022.

On his first day of labor after being transferred to Chongqing, Police Captain Zhong Cheng (Wang Qian Yuan) will get concerned in a jewellery retailer heist in progress, run by Zhang who holds him hostage. Fortuitously for him, as a distraction, they throw him off their getaway van as an alternative of killing him whereas they escape. Consequently, this results in the obsession of catching these criminals for Zhong and his Provincial Prison Bureau group from that second on.

Nevertheless, since Zhang is at all times one step forward of the police, it takes nearly a decade earlier than Captain Zhong is ready to catch him. Throughout this time, Zhang’s infamous crime spree goes on through which twenty eight folks, each police and civilians are reported killed and at the very least twenty three persons are additionally wounded. Finally, Zhang’s luck runs out and after being arrested in Chongqing, he’s executed on Could 2021.

Lau has crafted a effective film right here which can be visually beautiful and stuffed with native shade, with the assistance of utilizing actual mainland areas. The heists and avenue shootouts set-pieces are thrilling, trendy and gripping with plenty of explosions and gunfire which additionally additional underlines that the Eagle gang members don’t have any regards for any human life. At one level, chief Zhang offers a little bit boy a hand grenade to play with on the road. Tracing pictures and cut up screens are additionally put into good use to create dramatic atmospheres. Curiously, John Woo’s “The Killer” is the supply of reference right here proper right down to the usage of precise footage from it on a TV display screen in a VHS retailer.

The spotlight is definitely the spectacular ultimate confrontation between the great Captain Zhong and the evil Zhang set in a bathhouse. The fistfight that follows is extra like a brawl, very bodily, stuffed with rage and brutality. Nevertheless, it’s fascinating and even bewildering that each males are capable of hold these towels wrapped round their waists intact throughout their livid battle.

Because the chief of the Eagle gangsters, Daniel Wu is completely sensible and charismatic, displaying a large amount of coolness and ruthlessness comfortable. He even reveals some tenderness and humanity when required throughout these scenes along with his girlfriend Wen Juan (Jessie Li) and his mom, who’s splendidly performed by veteran Nina Pau Hee Ching in a quick however touching cameo. Then again, Wang Qian Yuan’s efficiency is at all times good worth particularly paying a righteous cop. Sadly, there’s not lots of backstory relating to his character, however he handles his function properly because the decided policeman who will cease at nothing to carry a prison in. Each he and Daniel do spot some wild funky haircut of that period, particularly Danial’s mullet. The supporting characters although first rate, they’re not written with a lot depth.

Since “Caught in Time” is a mainland China and Hong Kong co-production, there are specific tips that Lau is obliged to comply with the strict censorship restrictions. Just like the policemen are represented as righteous people who appear to be doing honorable issues. At instances, they’re proven eradicating promoting supplies posted on big propaganda posters. Much more so, throughout the finish of the film, a spot card even states that due to harsh gun management, China has change into one of many most secure international locations on this planet for the reason that Nineteen Nineties.

Even so, this can be a slick manufacturing which appears good visually and a criminal offense thriller with a severe theme which incorporates some thrilling and gripping motion set-pieces. Undeniably, that is one on the very best motion films to return out of China lately and moreover, Lau is definitely a screenwriter and director to be careful for.



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