Friday, January 30, 2009
For fans of Hong Kong cinema Triangle was truly an event in the making, three of the top directors coming together to attempt a "pass the torch" like film. For those who may not have known Triangle was made in three parts by each director, starting with Hark, each one of them took over production and created roughly 30-35 minutes of the film(as I said Hark first, followed by Lam, and concluding with To) Each one literally taking over from where the other left off. Unfortunately this approach would come with its share of drawbacks
The story begins with three down on their luck men being approached in a local bar by a strange man who gives them a peace of gold and a business card with a website on it. After very little research the men realize he was pointing them in the direction of buried treasure underneath a legislative building. With little debate the three men decide to take on the task of retreating this so called treasure. This is where the film first disappoints, there is a great build up to the actual heist, but to the viewers surprise its a simple walk in take it and leave scenario which leaves them with little resistance. However they do happen to have a cop on their trail, who also happens top be sleeping with Simon Yams characters wife. The first act could be enough to turn anyone off the film, there is far too much going on at one time, including at least two subplots. One of which would not only completely disappear as we enter the second act, but it would also cause one of the films big plot holes.
Once they get the treasure home we are now introduced(in no way but a drastic change in style)to a new director and a far better film. One which becomes far more bearable as the story starts to make better sense. It appears that there was indeed a treasure and a big one at that. At this point one of the subplots are more developed, and we have that pesky cop played by Lam Ka-tung on their tail and after the treasure himself, and from here we are taken for quite a ride in pure Ringo Lam flair. However it would be the third act when taken over by Johnnie To that like a flick of a switch we enter a truly brilliant film! Through events better left untold to avoid spoilers our three men find themselves stranded in the rural new territories and held up at a small waterside restaurant. The final 30 minutes are nothing short of spectacular and treats us to a fine cameo from long time Johnnie To regular Lam Suet.
Great credit must be given to Tsui Hark for getting this project on the go, its just a shame his portion is so much weaker then what would follow. You can't blame him entirely. It appears that he had an much different idea in mind for the film. This would explain the drastic change in some of the characters, especially Simon Yam who at first is shown as a dark character who may be plotting to murder his wife. However apparently by means of flat out dropping this assumption he is cleared of all suspicion. It also doesn't help that Johnnie To's segment is just so bloody good, and makes one wonder just how this film could have been if it were entirely a Johnnie To production. However through careful editing and polish, and fantastic acting performances all around, the final product is a decent and watchable affair. However it may take some patience to get past the first act with out giving up entirely, however final 30 minutes make it all worth while!
A Film by Tsui Hark, Ringo Lam & Johnnie To