Tokyo Raiders
THE STORY

Tokyo. Capital of the high-tech world. The tall buildings graze the sky and the streets are filled with people hurrying back and forth, oblivious to the world around them. Through this anthill of a modern metropolis walks a man in an impeccable suit. He is being followed. And he knows it.

The man heads down a small alley, so he can confront his followers undisturbed. They turn out to be a bunch of gangsters who immediately try to grab him. But the man is lightning quick. He disables them with equal amounts of force and style, using only his umbrella.

Upon returning home to his office the man notices that someone else has been in the room, and sure enough, moments later he is once again attacked by a group of men, lying in wait. And once again he must apply his elegant moves to get out of a tough spot. Why is this man the target of such vicious attacks? To answers this, we must go to the city of lights, Las Vegas.

Here we find a beautiful girl Macy (Kelly Chen), who anxiously awaits her future husband, Takahashi. Everything is set: The church is booked, she’s wearing a gorgeous wedding dress, and a few of her friends are standing by her side. Only the groom is missing, but as the seconds relentlessly tick away, one thing becomes painfully obvious: He’s not coming, and Macy is forced to cancel the wedding.

Furious she returns to her apartment in Hong Kong, where she runs into the proverbial fly in the ointment, in the shape of Yung (Eking Cheng) the interior decorator who refurbished the couple’s apartment. The last check he received bounced like a rubber ball, so he’s here to get his money in cash, and he won’t leave until he gets it.

But Macy has no time for such banalities. She decides to go to Japan to track down her boyfriend. Yung is not about to be brushed off that easily, so against her wishes he tags along. This mismatched couple has hardly landed in Japan, before they too are attacked. Yung, a highly skilled martial artist, expertly manages to fend off the foes. But then a cute little leather clad babe arrives in a sports car to take Yung and Macy to safety. She takes them to meet her boss, whom we know as the elegant fighter from the opening scene. After some proper introductions the man - whose name is Lin - explains that he’s a private investigator. He was originally hired to trail the wife of Ito, leader of the deadly Kobe gang, who suspects she’s cheating on him.

And now comes the shocker: Macy’s would-be husband is the man with whom Ito’s wife has an affair. Now Macy has to face the fact that she never really knew her fiancé. But alas, more surprises await. As the plot thickens it becomes clear that no one it this little mix is actually telling the truth...

THE FILM

I’ve said this before, but I relish the chance to say it again: I love Hong Kong movies where you can spot the bad guy because he’s unshaved and Japanese!

I hope you love those too, because this film is one of them. This is also the kind of film where a bunch of little Asian chicks in black leather show up, beats the crap out of everybody and saves the day! In other words, we’re in the shallow end of the pool here.

The cover has this pegged as an ensemble piece with equal contributions from the three lead players, but Kelly Chen’s cute face and Ekin Cheng’s charm are no match for Tony Leung, who owns every inch of this film. This guy is fantastic. From the early days of “Hard Boiled” and “Bullet In the Head”, to the more recent “Infernal Affairs”, Leung has proven that he indeed is a force to be reckoned with. He’s equally fascinating, whether he plays comedy or drama, and he throws himself into the part of Lin with unmitigated glee, obviously relishing the opportunity to play something light. He also gets to do the big actionscenes, the high point being a chase on skateboards, which continues on a car transport truck.

The director behind “Tokyo Raiders” is Jingle Ma. Having served as director of photography for a number of years, he turned his attention to directing, with the action movie “Hot War”. Later came his finest hour, the fantastic “Goodbye Mr. Cool”. Ma keeps his camera light on its feet, with plenty of handheld loose shots. He zooms in and out, and cuts quickly between the various angles, giving the whole film af breezy elegant look that suits the story well. Throw in a catchy score, comprised of fresh latino inspired rhythms, and a cool cameo from Cecilia Cheung, and you’ve got an irresistible mix that should suit the seasoned Hong Kong film fan as well as newcomers to the genre. Okay, so “Tokyo Raiders” may have faded a tad in the last couple of years, but it’s still got the sparkle in the eye and a spring in its steps that money just can’t buy. For that reason alone it’s worth the price of admission.

It remains to be seen how Tony Leung's character will hold up in the upcoming sequel, but the cards are certainly in his favor. This time around he’s getting help from a certain little Ms. Thang called Shu Qi.
David Bjerre
February 12, 2005
GALLERY



Original Title
Dung Ging Gung Leuk
Country
Hong Kong
Year
2000
Director
Jingle Ma
- Goodbye Mr. Coool (2001)
- Tokyo Raiders (2000)
- Fly Me to Polaris (1999)
Cast
Tony Leung (Chi Wai)
-
Hard-Boiled (1992)
- In the Mood for Love (2000)
- Hero (2002)
Kelly Chen
- Anna Magdalena (1999)
- Tokyo Raiders (2000)
- Infernal Affairs III (2003)
Ekin Cheng
- Young and Dangerous 1-5 (1996-1998)
- Man Called Hero, A (1999)
- For Bad Boys Only (2000)
- Goodbye Mr. Cool (2001)
- Running Out of Time 2 (2001)
- Twins Effect, The (2003)
DVD Availability
Available on DVD from YesAsia: