The Viral Factor Review

Jay Chou, Nicholas Tse

Directed by Dante Lam.

Jay Chou (singer/actor, The Green Hornet to the Hollywood-centric) and Nicholas Tse star in a movie that’s unapologetic about things that go boom or thud. Factor also doesn’t shy away from melodrama. Chou and Tse are a duo stopping bio-terrorists from spreading a deadly hybrid virus. The two notable female actors (Lin Peng, Bai Bing), unfortunately, add little to the movie. It’s not their fault; the plot demands that the focus is on Jay and Nicholas’ fighting and shooting. Some of the showier scenes, like the helicopter chase, could’ve been trimmed.

Detailed discussion follows

Chou and Tse play long-lost brothers, the reveal of which is done in the most soap opera-style way possible. Chou’s Jon Man suffers from brain trauma while having a bullet in his head. Tse’s Man Yeung is a force of nature, an ex-convict who puts his father and daughter at risk. The many thrilling, polished, action sequences sometimes become so kinetic that some of the quick cuts border on frustrating to watch. The dramatic themes of vulnerability and loss are at odds with the heroes sometimes shrugging off critical wounds.

The acting highlights come from Jon and Yeung’s parents. Liu Kai-chi’s Man Tin, an ex-cop turned gambler content with his fate and Elaine Jin’s Fung Ling, whose sadness manages to keep the drama somewhat respectable. Factor’s syrupy drama doesn’t spoil, but you’ll likely pay far more attention to the dangerous stunts and explosions. The Netflix presentation has subtitles through the entire movie, even for English dialogue. According to Hong Kong Cinemagic, the movie is originally spoken in Cantonese and Thai. Overall, the movie gets a little tiring by the end but the action and drama, while not ideal, succeeds.

Topper image comes from (Thai language?) poster found at Enjoyjam.net

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Author: Clarence

Webmaster, editor, writer of Red-Headed Mule. RHM was founded in 2011. Currently is liking British TV better than U.S. TV, mayhaps.