Eye For Film >> Movies >> The Beast Stalker (2008) Film Review
Hong Kong cinema is one pleasure I don't find myself talking advantage of very often, however, The Beast Stalker seemed like a film worth taking a risk on and man, am I glad I did. It's a fast, furious tale of cops, robbers and a contract killer.
Nicholas Tse plays Sergeant Tong a ruthless police officer who takes his job very seriously and doesn't accept failure, period. Ruling all with an iron fist, he is the ultimate law enforcer, until the pursuit of a criminal leads him to be responsible for the death of a small girl - something for which he cannot forgive himself. Struggling to cope with his failings as a cop, Tong takes it upon himself to try to make up for what happened by saving the sister of the girl he is haunted by, making it his personal mission to retrieve her after she is kidnapped.
The main theme that usually runs through any Hong Kong film in this genre is the struggle between good and evil, which, handled well, can captivate an audience. The Beast Stalker is one of those films. The strength and menace in Tse's portrayal of Tong is slightly reminiscent of a young Chow Yun-Fat. But for every great hero you must have a great villain, and Nick Cheung as his nemesis Hung, a desperate contract killer, provides the right balance to make this story work.
A lot of credit must go to Director Dante Lam who helms with real confidence, using nice flourishes, tight pacing and tense action pieces. You'll be on the edge of your seat for most of the running time. His complex choice of narrative structure works fabulously and gradually reveals, via a series of flashbacks, how each of these characters comes to interact with the others. I cannot recommend this film enough - it's what a movie experience should be when it comes to the thriller genre, using clever plotting and well-developed characterisation.
I'm going to make a point of looking out for future work from Dante Lam as well as checking out his back catalogue. It's nice to see another Hong Kong director producing interesting work for international audiences which will be welcome at many more festivals in the future.Reviewed on: 08 Feb 2009
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