05th Jan2018

‘The Adventurers’ Review

by Phil Wheat

Stars: Jean Reno, Qi Shu, Andy Lau, Tony Yang, Jingchu Zhang, Eric Tsang, Karel Dobry, Gen Seto, David Bowles, Yi Sha, Tianyi You | Written by Chi Kwong Cheung, Stephen Fung, Steve Ha, Andy Lo | Directed by Stephen Fung


Infamous and charismatic thief Cheung Tan (Andy Lau) has recently been released from prison. Cheung immediately plots a heist with his former partner in crime, Po (Tony Yang), and beautiful chameleon Red (Qi Shu), in order to pull off the heist of a lifetime – and steal precious jewels in Europe. Meanwhile, French detective Pierre (Jean Reno) has been hot on Cheung’s trails for many years. This time, he decides to capture Cheung and his gang of thieves for good… which means Cheung and co. will have to take their game to the next level.

Who doesn’t love a good heist movie? When the genre is done right you get fantastic and intriguing films like Flypaper, Foolproof, Rififi, and The Italian Job… So where does The Adventurers stand?

Something of a spirtual successor to John Woo’s Once a Thief (though I have read that it is supposedly a “remake” of that movie) The Adventurers feels very much like an more “Hollywood-ised” version of the globe-spanning adventrure romps of Jackie Chan’s Armour of God and Operation Condor, though with a dash of Brian DePalma’s original Mission: Impossible film thrown in for good measure – spanning continents, featuring an international cast and enough espionage, high-tech gadgets and action to satisy even jaded genre fans.

Speaking of the cast, The Adventurers core cast of three are perfect foils. Andy Lau is the stoic old-school thief, who lives my his own code and his own ethos, leading the team with a strong, charismatic, affectation. Lau’s character Zhang is made more human, and more friendly, by his relationship with the fun, yet savvy Po (Tony Yang). Yang’s character is something of a novie compared to Lau’s and the dichotomy between the two is more of a father and son relationship: Zhang has taken the untrained Po under his wing; and Po has opened Zhang emotionally (to an extent). The trio of thieves is rounded out by Red, an outspoken, mysterious, cocky heroine who’s played with aplomb by Qi Shu – who brings a youthful vitality to the theiving trio and the film as a whole. But then that’s Qi Shu for you; in a LOT of her roles she’s exudes charm, vitality and humour, as she does here. In fact I’d love to see her character in a film of her own – a female take of Armour of God perhaps? Mixing laughs, fun, action and adventure…

When the action is not in full swing, The Adventurers spends it time moving the story and the characters forward. And when there’s a lull in the action mid-way through the film-  as the twists and turns are laid out for the films conclusion – you realise The Adventurers is much more than a flashy heist movie. There’s character development and deep-seated motivations expanded upon and explained in the films quieter moments that ultimately give the film a much more satisying and well-rounded story.

It will be interesting to see if, and when, The Adventurers gets a direct, or indirect sequel. There’s plenty of scope for more adventures of this trio of thieves, even if Lau takes more of a backseat, a father-figure role perhaps? And I, for one, would love to see it.

**** 4/5

The Adventurers is available (in the US) on Digital HD and Blu-ray now.


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