TOKYO RAIDERS (2000) review

When her wealthy Japanese fiancé Takahashi (Toru Nakamura) doesn’t show up at their wedding, Macy (Kelly Chen) decides to head for Tokyo and look for him. Yung (Ekin Cheng), their interior decorator, decides to tag along, because the bills haven’t been payed and he wants his money. In Tokyo, the bickering pair runs into mob boss Ito (Hiroshi Abe)’s men, and are rescued by fellow Chinese and private eye Lin (Tony Leung Chiu-Wai), who is also looking for Takahashi. But, of course, nobody is what they say they are, though everyone has the same goal : find Takahashi.

Tokyo Raiders is the quintessential Jingle Ma film. It doesn’t have a coherent plot, or even any sense of tension. What it does have, is a trio of attractive stars, flashy locales, a dash of martial arts, and a whole lot of slow motion and visual trickery. The above synospis is irrelevant. Who cares where Takahashi is ? Even though he’s the one everybody is looking for, it’s really all about the flirtatious triangle of Leung, Chen and Cheng, and the frequent fist fights they get into, all well choreographed by Ailen Sit, but too fussily edited to really make an impact. Still, for all its vacuity, it’s difficult to dislike Tokyo Raiders, precisely because its stars are a joy to watch, especially Tony Leung Chiu-Wai. One of the most versatile actors in Asia, Leung is delightfully playful here ; he’s the super-slick private eye/secret agent with a nicely cynical streak, cool gadgets and a bevy of sexy female assistants (including a cameo-ing Cecilia Cheung), as well as an aversion for messing up his hairdo in fights. Equally appealing are the beautiful Kelly Chen as the forlorn girlfriend, and Ekin Cheng looking much less dead-eyed than in his previous starring vehicles. The chemistry between the three of them is what stops the film from being absorbed by its own vacuum.

Long Story Short : Three appealing leads make Tokyo Raiders fun to watch, but beyond that there’s only a paper-thin plot and over-edited fights. **

 

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