Directed by David Lam
Action / Crime, 92′
Corruption, dirty cops and crooked liars; welcome to David’s Lam’s ‘Z Storm’. Starring Louis Koo, Gordon Lam and Dada Chan, the film follows Hong Kong’s ICAC as they go up against the largest ponzi scheme they have ever faced.
Set in a shining, opulent Hong Kong, ‘Z Storm’ follows the ICAC as they attempt to bring down a con that has sunk its tendrils into the police force and the government. Backed by a dedicated team that are always impeccably dressed, Koo gives a commendable performance as the stalwart William Luk, whose work ethic is shadowed only by his passion for justice.Starting off with a police raid, we’re introduced to Gordon Lam’s smugly corrupt police officer, whose ex-wife will soon prove to be the catalyst for the ICAC’s investigation. We are then rapidly introduced to the ICAC — Hong Kong’s answer for the US’s Internal Affairs — and the chase is on.
The plot is intensely detailed, enough that paying close attention is a must—references to previous scenes and characters popping up again and again are just a few of the things to expect. Intricately pieced together, the story however unfolds a little clumsily.
The pacing is at times too fast paced and choppy — cutting tension before it can properly build. While Z Storm is billed as a crime thriller, it feels more like an action adventure with guns, physical fights and car chases galore. Scene changes are abrupt — but sometimes too abrupt, leaving the previous scene hanging and, as mentioned, cutting the tension before we are at the edge of our seats.
The scenery, on the other hand, is breathtaking. Lam unashamedly portrays a Hong Kong that glitters with steel, chrome and money. From sleekly modern high-rise buildings and gorgeous mansions, ‘Z Storm’ shows the opulent side of Hong Kong rarely seen on film. Even Koo’s humble agent’s flat looks like something out of a magazine. The only time we see the more familiar busy streets of Hong Kong is when Dada Chan’s Angel is doing charity work — though they are cleaner streets than normal.
The cinematography is fast and smooth — though at times a little awkward. There is a slickness to the camera work that fits in with the sleekness of the setting. Look out though — there are moments where the acting is a bit wooden. While it does not take you out of the film completely, it is a little of a jolt. There are times, as well, where the pacing of scenes is clumsy — enough that you might wonder why but not enough to detract from enjoying the film.
Overall, the movie is a great popcorn flick to lose an afternoon to — as long as you do not take it too seriously.
‘Z Storm’ had its European Premiere at East Winds Film Festival 2014.