Originally published on metropolis.co.jp on August 2009
Previously respected French-Vietnamese writer-director Anh Hung Tran (Cyclo, The Scent of Green Papaya) convinced some of Asia’s hottest teen heartthrobs (plus Yank Josh Hartnett) to appear in the same movie, and then inexplicably made this turgid, beyond-pretentious religious fable. We’ve got South Korea’s Byung-hun Lee, Hong Kong’s Shawn Yue, and Vietnam’s Tran Nu Yen Khe joining Japan’s Takuya Kimura (the “pretty” SMAP guy with the constant “duh” expression). Kimura plays a Christ figure, a mystical, suffering healer who is eventually crucified. I am not making this up. His moaning, pain-filled scenery-chewing will inevitably be hailed by the Japanese entertainment press as world-class acting. What crap. Note to Kimutaku: there’s a difference between acting and “being in the movies.” Oh, never mind. Hartnett is a tortured ex-cop hired by a Chinese billionaire to find his son somewhere in Asia. Original, no? And Lee, the bad guy, in one scene shoots a street bum’s dog and then beats the bum to death with its carcass. Pure art. Each actor plays at least one scene covered with blood. Am I getting the point across? I get paid to endure this kind of pointless drivel. You don’t.