"So Close" represents a return to those roots, specifically '80s hits like "Yes, Madam!" and "Blonde Fury." The story centers on a pair of assassin sisters--trigger-woman Lynn (Shu Qi) and tech expert Sue (Zhao Wei)--whose takedown of a powerful crime kingpin places them on a collision course with an equally fierce policewoman named Kong Yat-hung (Karen Mok). Hong Kong films have always been adept at plots involving the delicate dance between righteous detectives and noble assassins, with John Woo's "The Killer" the most revered touchstone. "So Close" doesn't live up to the highest standards of the genre--early, exposition-heavy sections sag terribly--but once in gear, its plot twists and action sequences are infectious.
Yuen clearly relishes the chance to "cut loose" once again--unchained from the manacles of the Hollywood system, his camerawork, choreography and imagination seem re-energized. The increasing use of CGI, now commonplace in Hong Kong movies, is sometimes distracting, but with two of Hong Kong's most beloved actresses--Shu Qi and Karen Mok--alongside one of the industry's hottest newcomers--Zhao Wei--it's unlikely anyone will be overly focusing on the visual effects.
Reportedly inspired by the success of "Charlie's Angels," the picture's pedigree is nonetheless pure Hong Kong, drawing from the best of such classic all-female action ensembles as "Peking Opera Blues," "The Heroic Trio," "Naked Killer" and Yuen's own aforementioned "Yes, Madam!" It's high-octane estrogen designed for unisex consumption, addictive action-film eye candy for boys and girls. And in a summer as dismal as 2003's, that's a welcome tonic. Starring Shu Qi, Zhao Wei, Karen Mok, Seoung-heon Song and Michael Wei. Directed by Corey Yuen. Written by Jeff Lau. Produced by Chui Po Chu. A Strand release. Action. Cantonese- and Mandarin-language; subtitled. Rated R for pervasive violence and a sexual conversation. Running time: 110 min