Ringo Lam (director)
19 July 2021 (released)
18 July 2021
This hard-hitting action romance stars Hong Kong superstar Chow Yun-fat as a widowed police officer whose investigations into a ruthless gang of gun-runners brings him into mortal danger but there is compensation of the possibility of a new romance on the horizon…
This admittedly very loose re-imagining of Peter Weir’s 1985 thriller WITNESS sees Hong Kong Detective Lau (Chow Yun-fat) and his colleague Nam (Kwong Leung Wong) on a mission to catch some gun runners/buyers including Bullet (Roy Chung) purchasing some weapons from arms dealer Elaine Lee (Elaine Jin). Unfortunately the undercover operation goes pear-shaped and leaves Elaine dead, though later on it transpires that she had been shot by Bullet to ensure she wouldn’t co-operate with the police if arrested. Worse still, the buyers manage to escape, leaving Lau (who also goes by the rather silly name of Meow Meow) with the now orphaned little daughter of Elaine, a feisty four-year old called Ka Ka (Cheuk Yan Chan) and the wrath of his superior. Because Ka Ka survived and has seen Bullet in her mother’s flat she is now a potential ‘witness’ and is therefore in serious danger – cue for Lau to find her relatives double-quick!
An address brings him to a rural country farm inhabited by seriously grumpy Grandpa Lee (Feng Ku) and Cher (Cherie Chung) - who happens to be the deceased woman’s sister who now feels obliged to look after little Ka Ka, much to the chagrin of Grandpa who doesn’t want to know about the girl because she is the daughter of Elaine… a woman whose name he doesn’t wish to hear as she has tainted the family reputation. Cher, on the other hand, is ‘drafted’ in by Lau to help him find the little girl’s physical father – a wealthy businessman by the name of Mr. Hung (Paul Chun) though Lau soon figures out that the permanently coked-up Hung is the ringleader of the crime gang he’s after. With initial investigations very much on the rocky side and Lau and Cher seemingly not getting on too well either, the progress of the investigation is constantly hampered but during an incident at one of Mr. Hung’s receptions (which first leads to a battle of words between host and Lau before an almighty fight in a garage) Cher begins to display feelings for Lau which are reciprocated by the detective.
Meanwhile, Hung orders Bullet and his gang to trace Lau, Cherie and the little girl and get rid of them. Lau, aware of the looming danger, takes Ka Ka away from the village and lets her stay in his flat where she receives a surprise visit from Grandpa who – obviously feeling bad that he treated his granddaughter unfairly – brings her a present… which she promptly chucks on the floor. The pair make up eventually and just as Lau and Cher get closer too, her no-good ex-husband Leong (Kong Lau) returns from mainland China and starts to make fresh claims on her – soon this volatile situation turns into an explosive finale when Bullet and his men arrive at the village for a blazing showdown in a burning barn…Both Lau and Leong survive the flaming inferno but for whom will Cher’s heart beat in the end?
Chow Yun-fat is at his best and the film – despite the violent overtones – manages to pack a hefty dose of romance and even the occasional slapstick humour into it. The on-screen chemistry between Yun-fat and Chung is utterly believable and little Chan Cheuk-yan (who’s well in her thirties by now) is an utter delight to watch. Ringo Lam’s 1989 film brings a fresh breeze to the genre by combining these various elements and it’s all brilliantly photographed by Andrew Lau.
Eureka presents WILD SEARCH on Blu-ray for the first time in the UK with different audio options, audio commentary and archive interviews. In addition, the First Print Run Limited Edition (2000 copies only) furthermore includes collector’s booklet and new artwork by Grégory Sacré.