Screening Room – THE VIRAL FACTOR

(KTSF by Sean Au)

Hong Kong and Taiwan superstars Nicholas Tse and Jay Chou star in the non-stop action motion picture, THE VIRAL FACTOR, opening in San Francisco this weekend. 

In the film, a scientist has developed a mutant smallpox virus that could be used to make a highly fatal biological weapon. Captured by the ficticious International Disease Commission, he is then kidnapped  by opportunists who are planning to make a profit from unleashing the virus.

Jon (Jay Chou) and the convoy team leader Sean (Andy Tien) are the only survivors. Jon has a bullet lodged in his skull, leaving him living on borrowed time. Urged by his mother, Jon goes to look for his elder brother Yang (Nicholas Tse) in Kuala Lumpur, only to find that Yang has been living on the wrong side of the law. A twist of events lead the two brothers to fight the proliferation of the biological weapon, while witnessing countless deaths. 

This is Hong Kong director, Dante Lam’s,  most expensive movie ever. Filmed in Jordan, Beijing, Hong Kong and Kuala Lumpur, the adrenaline-filled sequences follow the two leads wherever they go. Especially impressive are the convoy attack scenes in Jordan and the helicopter chase scenes among the Malaysian capital’s skyscrapers.

The movie builds on the strengths of Hong Kong action movies: compact and furious action at a low cost.  At the same time, it magnifies issues that movies of this genre suffer from: female roles that are decorative and do nothing to advance the plot, and ridiculous scenarios of leads who are unfazed by gunshots and falls from a few floors of a building.

Perhaps one heart-racing scene after another, is the director’s way to draw the viewer’s attention away from a poor script filled with mellow drama and countless loop holes.

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars.

Video courtesy of China Lion.

(Copyright 2012 KTSF. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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