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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars One of the best HK film to date
This review is for the HK Legend DVD Region 2 Version for Purple Storm.
Teddy Chan directs this relatively large budget HK movie with emphasis on Human emotions and action thriller. Mixing and matching, audiences are given a roller coaster ride of emotions, which works very well with Western Audiences such as heightening sadness immediately after an adrenaline...
Published on 14 Jun. 2001 by terry.chan@bsi-global.com

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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Moody thriller with action highlights
PURPLE STORM
[Chi Yue Fung Biu]

(Hong Kong - 1999)

Aspect ratio: 1.85:1
Theatrical soundtrack: Dolby Digital

Though produced with an international (ie. American) market in mind, Teddy Chan Tak-sum's moody action-thriller retains enough of its Chinese identity to distinguish the film from its run-of-the-mill US counterparts...
Published on 20 May 2002 by Libretio


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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Moody thriller with action highlights, 20 May 2002
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Libretio - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Purple Storm [DVD] (DVD)
PURPLE STORM
[Chi Yue Fung Biu]

(Hong Kong - 1999)

Aspect ratio: 1.85:1
Theatrical soundtrack: Dolby Digital

Though produced with an international (ie. American) market in mind, Teddy Chan Tak-sum's moody action-thriller retains enough of its Chinese identity to distinguish the film from its run-of-the-mill US counterparts. Daniel Wu Yin-cho (NEW POLICE STORY) plays a young Cambodian terrorist who loses his memory during a shoot-out in Hong Kong with an elite anti-terrorist unit (run by Emil Chow Wah-kin). Reprogrammed by his captors to believe that he's an undercover cop, he's subsequently recaptured by his Khmer Rouge associates - commanded by his father (Kam Kwok-leung, handicapped by unconvincing 'old age' makeup) - only to discover that they're plotting to detonate a bio-chemical device that will kill millions of innocent people. As Wu's fragile memory begins to return, he's suddenly torn between his father's destructive ideals and the lure of moral redemption...

Wu shares an audio commentary on Hong Kong Legends' all-region DVD with the estimable Bey Logan (now a permanent Media Asia employee, credited with providing this film's English subtitles, amongst various other production duties), but their praise for the movie's combination of top-flight action and heartfelt drama isn't really borne out by the film itself. Wu - a terrific young actor - invests his divided character with genuine pathos, but the 'amnesia' plot device casts him adrift from everyone else in the picture, including his wife (Josie Ho Chiu-yee, playing against type), who retreats into blind obedience to the 'cause' after her sexual advances are rejected. As a consequence, the entire film rings a little hollow, lacking the kind of emotional conviction which has always been a distinguishing feature of HK popular cinema.

In most other respects, however, the movie is an impressive achievement, due in no small measure to its ambitious script (by Hui Yuet-jan, Yip Wai-chung and Aubrey Lam Oi-wa) and spectacular production values. In one of the DVD's supplemental features, Josie Ho describes director Chan (credited as 'Teddy Chen' on-screen) as an extremely serious man, totally dedicated to his craft, and her observations are corroborated by the film's careful attention to detail (note the unusual butterfly symbolism, for instance), though not at the expense of action set-pieces, which are filmed with breathtaking gusto. Arthur Wong Ngok-tai's location photography recreates HK as a gleaming, hi-tech metropolis, framing every shot for maximum visual impact, and Stephen Tung Wai's dynamic action choreography is transformed by editor Kwong Chi-leung into a veritable cinematic whirlwind.

Incredibly, despite the film's strong showing in various technical categories at the Hong Kong Film Awards in 1999 (not 2000, as noted on the packaging), most of the actors went unrecognised, except for Ho, shortlisted for her low-key performance. Wu - whose extraordinary portrayal of a tortured victim of circumstances constitutes the heart and soul of the entire movie - went home with nothing, not even a nomination.

NB. During the aforementioned commentary, Wu concurs with Logan's assertion that PURPLE STORM marked the actor's first starring role, though both seem to have forgotten his shared lead with Stephen Fung Tak-lun in Yonfan's BISHONEN (1998), a brave but dramatically awkward entry in HK cinema's tentative exploration of the former colony's gay sub-culture.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars One of the best HK film to date, 14 Jun. 2001
This review is from: Purple Storm [DVD] (DVD)
This review is for the HK Legend DVD Region 2 Version for Purple Storm.
Teddy Chan directs this relatively large budget HK movie with emphasis on Human emotions and action thriller. Mixing and matching, audiences are given a roller coaster ride of emotions, which works very well with Western Audiences such as heightening sadness immediately after an adrenaline pumping action sequence. This trick has always been a trademark amongst Hong Kong movies and has only been recently introduced to the West by the likes of John Woo and Hark Sui.
Daniel Wu, an American born actor, is the main focus of the film as he juggles his emotions between loyalty and righteousness. Like with the rest of the cast, Daniel does not try to overplay his role with typical HK theatrical acting techniques. This is refreshing and also adds a little realism to the film. My only disappointment was with Joan Chen, who I admire as a first rate actress, but cannot speak Cantonese (Mandarin speaker), so throughout the film she has been horribly dubbed over with very noticeable speech non-synchronisation.
The plot itself is interesting but was not clearly explained throughout the film (toward the end there were moments that I did not know what was happening and what to watch out for, namely the airport sequence). Furthermore, I would have rather preferred if the film eliminated some of its plot holes (e.g. Motivation from Todd and what happened to his son?) as character building was such an integral part of the film. Instead, the movie chooses to be driven by action sequences rendering the audiences of any plot anticipation. The action sequences is divided into 2 categories, gun shooting and hand to hand combat. The gun shooting sequences are not as good as what the big budget Hollywood offers which I thought was disappointing, however the highly praised hand to hand combat compensates the action sequences with realistic and very hard hitting moves. At this point, I would like to emphasise that this film is very violent (not for HK standard though) even for an UK 15 rating and some Western Viewers will be shocked when viewing this film.
This film was clearly made with more effort and thought than the usual HK production. It has been highly praised by viewers in the Far East and rightly so. Western viewers will enjoy it very much as this style of filmmaking and plot is still relatively novel in the West. I would highly recommend this film to anyone in the world that loves thriller and action in its movie.
The DVD is presented with a good selection of special features from a 20mins making featurette to an interview with the co-star Josie Ho. There is even a terrific film commentary with the writer of the script and Danny Wu, the lead actor. This DVD will not disappoint fans of the film.
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2 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Nothing like I expected, 12 Jun. 2001
This review is from: Purple Storm [DVD] (DVD)
Hongkong Legends, a good company who bring martial art enthusiasts like myself, kung fu classics. I was expecting another classic and with the comments on the box, 'the most sucessful hongkong film in the history of cinema', I thought i'd purchase this title. Big mistake. Not only is this film extremly poor, but it has absolutely NO MARTIAL ARTS in it at all. Why would a terrorist loosing his memory and crying when he has flashbacks, be a good plot for a film? Ok, its a good looking film and a good idea, but it doesn't work. The worst part of the film was when 'the purple storm' biological virus was released, and caused purple flames to appear out of the water! Don't buy this film ...
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Purple Storm [DVD]
Purple Storm [DVD] by Teddy Chan (DVD - 2001)
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