Chow Yun Fat plays Hong Kong Police Sergeant Lau Chun Pong, nicknamed "Mew Mew". Mew Mew is a man on the ragged edge. He is, we learn a widower whose wife and child were killed by a robber, he is a man in a downward spiral. He seems numb to life that swirls around him--when he is first introduced, he's sitting in a car, chain smoking cigarettes and drinking from his flask, watching the drama of street life before him as he awaits the arrival of an informant. His expression is disinterested and weary--he pursues the arms dealers who are his prey with a curious detachment. He is going through the motions of being a policeman, yet one senses, that it is only his work that is keeping him going at all. He still commands the loyalty, respect and affection of his colleagues, including his supervisor. He's a good cop and a good man who has lost his way due to overwhelming grief.
Cherie Chung plays the sister of the murdered arms dealer--whose death sets the plot in motion. Chung's Cher Lee is a woman of quiet strength and dignity. Life has not been kind to her. Her husband betrayed her, leading a secret second life with a woman from the Chinese interior, fathering a son. During their marriage he berated her for being clumsy and stupid. Rather than continuing to suffer the humiliation, Cher has divorced him and lives quietly with her father, working along side him in the village fields, harvesting bamboo.
Her sister's death brings Mew Mew--pursuing the arms case--into her life in a dramatic fashion. Their relationship is at first contentious as he suspects her and her father of complicity in the dead sister's arms dealing. The relationship begins to transform as Mew Mew aids Cher in tracking down the father of her sister's illegitimate 4 year old daughter--who turns out to be the kingpin of the arms smuggling operation that the police are investigating.
Their bond is forged as the arms case heats up--thrown into each others company, facing adversity and danger, these two wounded souls begin to blossom. A tentative, tender relationship grows and is tested time and again through Mew Mew's suspension from the force (a result of threatening the powerful, rich arms kingpin); a domestic drama within Cher's family concerning her young niece and her father: the complication of Cher's ex-husband reentering the picture determined to
win his wife back; and an assassination attempt on Mew Mew's life by one of the kingpin's henchman--the murderer of Cher's sister.
To be sure, these are restrained performances, yet one only has to watch Cherie Chung as Cher as she sits at the bedside of the wounded Mew Mew, not knowing if he will live or die, her worry, longing and love playing over her features, to appreciate her work in this film. Chow's Mew Mew may lack the flash and dazzle of some of his bullet ballet roles, but the transformation from grief stricken widower to a man being brought back to life by love is fascinating to watch. His scenes with the young actress playing the daughter of the murdered woman are especially touching and heartwarming.
Action fans and bullet ballet junkies will be disappointed by this film. But those of us who enjoy character driven drama will find much to enjoy in Wild Search.