When you think about Hong Kong Action, many people automatically think of martial arts. This is a bit of a shame because there is so much more on offer from the cinema of Hong Kong. Case in point, A Witness Out of the Blue, is a cops and robbers story.
Opening with a gang of thieves storming a jewellery store only to be cornered by the police as they finish filling their bags, some quick thinking leads to the thieves escape but arrange in their wake. Then, three months later, a gang member is murdered, and the only witness to the crime is a parrot.
Is that a hell of a setup? Yes! Does it live up to that setup? Mostly!
I say mostly because while the story is a satisfying game of cat and mouse between the anti-hero leader of the thieves Sean Wong (Louis Koo) and the bumbling but well-meaning detective on the case Larry Lam (Louis Cheung), it never quite lives up to the zaniness that the inclusion of the parrot in the premise promises.
Not that the parrot doesn’t play its role (and it’s a real parrot, which is awesome), it’s just that with the premise being that the parrot is the only witness, I expected the film to get a little bit sillier.
That’s maybe a little unfair, though, as while I didn’t get what I was expecting, that’s not exactly a bad thing. The plot has a number of twists and turns; there are a couple of good gunfights, a really satisfying chase scene, and a lot of really great, dynamic camera work.
Director Andrew Fung and cinematographer Kenny Tse have clearly worked really hard to make the film look great, and they have definitely succeeded. Louis Koo is the standout among the cast; his thief with a heart of gold (except when it’s stone) is tortured and compelling, and Koo’s performance is what makes him so.
A Witness Out of the Blue is a solid crime thriller with a terrific lead performance and good action, and definitely a good addition to your watch list.
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