Divergence (Benny Chan, 2005)
I sometimes wonder whether I'm simply getting bored with Asian flicks these days, because I'm seeing so many bad ones recently. But then I think about it, and I realize that Divergence, while the kind of action film that would never tread this path in America, is essentially the Asian version of Glitter or Crossroads; it's a simple vehicle for pop stars to gain film exposure. When looked at like that, Divergence is definitely an above-average example of the genre, but it's still not a terribly good movie.
Three professionals--a cop, a lawyer, and an assassin--are all involved in some way with the kidnapping of a crime boss' son. The movie focuses on each of the three alternately as their paths cross, diverge, then cross again (for an American cognate here, think 21 Grams; Inarritu's earlier film Amores Perros is a bit closer to the mark, though).
While Coke, the assassin, is played by a full-time actor (Daniel Wu, an American), Suen and To, the cop and the lawyer respectively, are played by pop stars Aaron Kwok and Ekin Cheng, who've previously teamed up in The Stormriders. They're better in front of a camera than Mariah or Britney in the movies above, for certain, but these aren't immortal parts, and they're not played by top-notch actors. But then you probably shouldn't be expecting it; this is a turn-your-brain-off movie where things blow up, people get shot at, and everyone does a whole lot of running. Given that, Divergence delivers; it's only when you start expecting something deep and meaningful that the movie fails. And in that regard, it's exactly like 21 Grams. ** ½