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Double Tap

A trigger-happy actioner that recalls myriad classic Hong Kong "bullet ballets" but falls short in the requisite stylistic-bravado department, "Double Tap" is too routinely handled by writer-director Law Chi Leung ("Viva Erotica") to maximize intrigue of seeing Leslie Cheung as an icy psychotic killer. Star power should pull OK B.O. on Chinese-language circuits, though undistinguished pic is likely to be hampered by tepid word-of-mouth response.

With:
With: Leslie Cheung, Alex Fong, Ruby Wong, Monica Chan, Vincent Kok.

A trigger-happy actioner that recalls myriad classic Hong Kong “bullet ballets” but falls short in the requisite stylistic-bravado department, “Double Tap” is too routinely handled by writer-director Law Chi Leung (“Viva Erotica”) to maximize intrigue of seeing Leslie Cheung as an icy psychotic killer. Star power should pull OK B.O. on Chinese-language circuits, though undistinguished pic is likely to be hampered by tepid word-of-mouth response.

Dreary, long first section has shooting-range instructor Nick (Cheung), a former champ sidelined by injury, returning to the competitive target field at urging of g.f. Colleen (Ruby Wong). His ablest challenger is straight-arrow cop Miu (Alex Fong), but latter freezes when contest is disrupted by a suicidal wacko, whose mayhem Nick halts with a bullet to the brain.

Three years later, when a trial witness and four police guards are found slaughtered, suspicion builds that Nick’s gone psycho since that one prior switch from paper to fleshly “targets.” On the lam, vowing to kill a cop per day until loyal Colleen is released from custody, tether-snapped antihero lays waste to dozens before his final faceoff with Miu.

After assuming a dull quiet-cool pose in initial scenes, Cheung has some fun chewing scenery as Nick grows increasingly demented and sarcastic.

But pic itself builds little sense of lunatic danger; motivation is rote, dialogue and narrative development more so, while potentially gonzo set pieces range from mediocre (a perilous escape from jail on foot, climaxing in a crowded shopping mall) to silly (Miu’s own brief nervous breakdown).

Despite staccato editing and slo-mo bits, direction never ignites, its serial shoot-outs lacking an expansive staging feel, kinetic energy or striking camerawork.

Tech aspects are pro but undistinguished.

Double Tap

Hong Kong

Production: A Golden Harvest release of a GH Pictures China presentation of a Film Unlimited production. Produced by Derek Yee, Tung-Sing. Executive producers, Stephen Lau, David Chan.

Crew: Directed, written by Law Chi Leung. Camera (color), Venus Keung; editor, Leung; music, Peter Kam. Reviewed at San Francisco Asian Film Festival, Aug. 14, 2000. Running time: 89 MIN.

With: With: Leslie Cheung, Alex Fong, Ruby Wong, Monica Chan, Vincent Kok.

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