"Ringo Lam + Chow Yun-Fat = A Movie Worth Watching"
Typical of Hollywood's cluelessness when it comes to anything foreign is the case of director Ringo Lam. Like many young filmmakers, Lam made a name for himself in his native Hong Kong...and eventually Hollywood came calling. And what did Ringo Lam produce during his time spent away from his native soil? Three Jean Claude Van Damme movies so atrocious they defy description. (They're called "Maximum Risk", "Replicant" and "In Hell" - if you're looking for a triple feature of agony.)Gone was the stylish violence and manly swagger of Lam's Chinese productions; these flicks also had big gooey gobs of Van Damme. How such a highly-regarded young foreigner got devoured by the Hollywood Movie Machine is beyond me, but luckily we still have several of Ringo's earlier flicks to enjoy.
Full Contact is most likely one of his best, although (like Q. Tarantino) my favorite Lam flick is still City on Fire. In this one, we have Chow Yun-Fat (another amazingly talented guy Hollywood has no real use for) as "Jeff", a bouncer in a Thailand night club. Jeff's best buddy is in deep trouble with some local loansharks, so he generously agrees to help the sleazebags with their latest weapons heist.
You know where this is headed already: heist gets all messed up, the head baddie (the hilariously effeminate "Judge") betrays Jeff and leaves him for dead, but wait...Jeff survives and comes back looking for sweet bone-crackin' revenge.
As far as "guy flicks" go, you really don't need much more of a plot then that. The gravy comes in the form of Lam's kinetic action style. "Bullet cam" seqeunces (long before they became the newest toy) punctuate the flick's best action scenes, there's high-end butt-stompin' all around, and clearly this is a movie made in a world where the "MPAA" holds no sway; the violence is intensely brutal. In a good way, though.
Chow Yun-Fat is as good as ever, here delivering a character decidedly darker and less charming than his normal persona; he carries the admittedly threadbare narrative on his shoulders and makes even the most familiar of genre conventions worth watching.Worth seeing for the action scenes alone.