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REVIEW

All right, let's check the list: Gadgets? Yes! Martial art? Yes! Cool heists scenes? Oh, yeah! Hot chicks? Hell yes! Well, I guess it's official then: This is a boys film!

Coming off as a near perfect mix of Hollywood secret agent stuff, and Hong Kong high tech action "Skyline Cruisers" is a fast paced compact movie that doesn't waste a second on unnecessary character build-up. The perfect example of this is a scene where a character reveals his feelings to the others. The scene is played for laughs, because in the middle of everything the sound of a plane landing, drowns out his voice so the others can't hear! In short: The film has no deeper message, and doesn't pretend to have one either. Some people will find that soulless, I must admit I find it hugely enjoyable!

Director Wilson Yip conjures up some inventive action and martial art scenes, good enough to match any Jackie Chan movie, and the film is perfectly shot and edited. Fast and inventive, while it's always clear what's going on.

Leon Lai is cool as a cucumber, maybe even a bit too cool. His face reveals nothing, no matter what odds he's up against. Michelle Saram looks hot in short pants, sporting a screaming red hairdo. Watch her do an "Indiana Jones" by sliding under a speeding car, and shooting the driver from below! Even Sam Lee manages to look cool when he puts on sunglasses (well, almost) and Jordan Chan does another one of his solid support turns as Bird.

As for Shu Qi, her part is not very big. Leon Lai runs into her briefly as the team researches the building in which the secret lab is located. Later when the team escapes from the building after the heist she appears on the balcony and she throws him a matchbox with her hotel number on. Later the two meet, and she stays close to him - and the action - for the remainder of the film

Shu Qi plays the part as if she was a little girl, with too many secrets to keep. That works well, because it's conceivable that Mac should trust her, even though they've only met briefly before. In a beautiful and shocking scene the other team members arrive just as Shu Qi (I never caught her character name) is about to explain her part in all this to Mac. Naturally Michelle is the one who believes her the least, so she simply shoots Shu Qi in the arm! There's a nice scene later when Shu Qi removes the bullet from her arm. Watch the expression on her face as she digs the bullet out. Quite believable.

All in all the film is pretty straight faced but does have the occasional spark of inspired humour, usually in the hands of Sam Lee (poor guy, will he ever play anything serious?).

One odd thing though: The film has an extreme focus on soft drinks. No, I mean EXTREME! Every other shot of Jordan Chan, he holds a soft drink can. He opens it, drinks it, looks content and sometimes even holds it up, within the frame! If I should venture a guess, I would say that half the budget was financed with product placement money. Either that or Chan is a really thirsty guy!

The film ends on a nice note with a montage of clips from the film, intercut with captions that matches the action. "Wake up your friends", "leave the cinema orderly" and "keep your seats clean" (the last one followed by a clip of Shu Qi with a bloody cotton ball in her hand, cleaning her wound!).

This is a good place to start if you're interested in watching a modern Hong Kong action film. And if you already love this kind of film, you'll find plenty to enjoy here.

David Bjerre