This isn't the worst film you will see, but it's certainly isn't the best. On paper it should have been a winner, but in reality it doesn't quite succeed.
The sets and costumes are great and although it was filmed outside of Shanghai, the film certainly catches the atmosphere of the place. Especially the interior shots.
But as other reviewers have pointed out there's just something not quite right with this movie. John Cusack is certainly miscast. He doesn't have the charisma for this film. Although he's supposed to be a ladies man the way he looks at the women struck me as creepy. When he first tries his charms on Gong Li at a party, I swear to God you can see the look of fear in her eyes!
Yun-Fat Chow also was not very convincing as the Shanghai gangster. He just appeared to be too much of a nice guy.
Gong Li appeared much more convincing as the femme fatale.
Ken Watanabe is solid as usual,but the Japanese are just cut out baddies throughout the movie. The final scene with him is simply not credible. The parting lines ofJohn Cusack lacked any conviction and he seems to realise that this film is a bit of a failure. One gets the feeling that he just wanted to say give me a pay cheque and get me out of here.
I would spend 3 pounds on this movie, which I have, but not a penny more.