It's not hard to see why everyone's expectations were so high when Divergence was released. In the directors chair is Benny Chan (who had just directed Jackie Chan's return to Hong Kong film; New Police Story) and in front of the camera was Aaron Kwok, Ekin Cheng and Daniel Wu (this film promising the reunion of Aaron Kwok and Ekin Cheng for the first time since Stormriders), throw in large production values, a smart complex story and a guest appearance by Eric Tsang (Infernal Affairs) and without a doubt this would have been a sure fire hit. Unfortunately that is not quite the case.
To explain the plot of this movie in a paragraph would be nearly impossible as there are so many things happening, so I'll just give you a simple overview of some of the main aspects. Aaron Kwok (Stormriders) plays a heartbroken cop whose girlfriend (played by Angelica Lee - The Eye) disappeared ten years ago. While he's investigating a crooked businessman (whose son has also just recently disappeared) he comes across a woman who is the spitting image of his long lost love. Unfortunately for him though she is married to Ekin Cheng (Stormriders, Young and Dangerous) who is the businessman's lawyer. All the while an assassin (Daniel Wu - One Night in Mongkok, New Police Story) keeps mysteriously popping up and for an unknown reason helps Aaron Kwok's character with his case. This all leads to an exciting climax where the connection between the three individuals is finally revealed.
Divergence's main problem has to be the story. There are just so many sub plots going on at once that they all seem to merge with the main story and some seem to simply end up unresolved; just look at my attempt to summarise the plot, it's a mess! Double crosses, chases, fights, kidnappings, gangsters, murders and plot twists are all squeezed into a movie that lasts about 100 minutes. This does keep everything moving at a fast pace but at the cost of completely overwhelming the viewer at the end with its attempt to tie up all the loose ends. This doesn't mean that Divergence is a bad film; I actually really enjoyed watching it, mainly due to Benny Chan's directing, it just means it could have been a lot better. Although this isn't Benny Chan's best movie (that for me will always be A Moment Of Romance) he does keep everything moving along nicely and comes up with some great action sequences. Although there aren't many, the few fight and chase scenes present are well shot and choreographed (Aaron Kwok and Daniel Wu's chase scene along a busy road and through a market was exciting to watch).
By looking at the front cover you would assume that the story closely follows the three main characters but in fact most of the time is spent with Aaron Kwok's character as he investigates and searches for his girlfriend. He plays the character extremely well in my eyes and only occasionally falls victim to overacting. Daniel Wu (who is probably the most talented of the three) plays the shadowy assassin perfectly but just isn't given enough screen time to make any real impact. As for Ekin Cheng's performance I would say that he's ok and gets the job done but it isn't what you would call a standout performance.
The DVD is decent enough with high-quality picture and DTS sound. Extras include trailer, premiere footage, making of, biographies and photo gallery.
Overall this was a good slick looking cop thriller with great production values, a couple of exciting fight scenes and a complex character driven story. Unfortunately due to such a complex plot being condensed into a short length of time you get the feeling that it never really reached its full potential when considering all the people involved. Whether or not you will like this will probably depend on how much you like Hong Kong cinema, if you've seen and liked other Hong Kong thrillers (namely those starring any of the three leads) and keep up with the plot then you'll most likely enjoy this, as for those expecting a new Infernal Affairs, I'm afraid you'll be deeply disappointed.