(This is the Project Gutenberg film review, which is 2018 Hong Kong action drama that stars Chow Yun-fat and Aaron Kwok in a money printing business)
This film stars two of the most famous stars from Hong Kong, and just Chow Yun-fat and Aaron Kwok alone could make this film seem like a must-watch film for their presence. Furthermore, it is directed by Felix Chong, an award-winning and veteran screenwriter for Infernal Affairs series and has also directed a few other films. The premise, though, seems like a cliché one as it involves the usual HK style money printing business and lots of gunfight from the trailer. However, could this film actually prove us wrong and actually contains more than what we expected of it? Read on the Project Gutenberg film review below to see for yourself!
Aaron Kwok plays the role of a failed artist, Lee Man, who is recruited by the Painter, played by Chow Yun-fat, to copy and print the new version of the US Dollars as part of the latter’s business. With his failing prospect as an artist, and seeing his girlfriend having a better chance of success when her works are recognised by an investor, he decides to join it. However, things start to turn sour as he witnesses many deaths that happened alongside the printing business. With his ex-gf being involved as well, could the failed painter escape from his current job and restart life anew?
Project Gutenberg Film Review
Man, as I have seen from the trailer, I truly do not expect much as it seems very cliché, and most of the trailers follow the exact same HK movie formula where they seem to just make use of the fame of the actors to make you watch it. Never have I been more wrong as the film starts to play. The premise itself is actually really good and quite original in execution, and nothing I have seen from recent HK movies of a similar genre before. It does make use of some general formula where a failing main character takes up crime to earn his keep and honour, but then it introduces some pretty good twists to the formula itself. Furthermore, it will show different perspectives that then come together at the end to reveal the whole truth, making use of the flashback format. It feels really fresh to see a film that maintains characterisation as well as being carefully directed to make us feel for the characters and learning each character’s nuisance. The pacing too is really well-paced, and you will not get bored at any moments, as the actions keep going and the twists hide in unexpected corners just when you think nothing new is going to happen.
The two central characters have many moments to shine, especially Aaron Kwok’s character Lee Man, where he is showed to be a man who hates violence and also still in love with his ex-gf. He acts so well that I actually feel for him and his circumstances as things start to happen around him that make him hate his money printing job. Together with the interaction with the Painter, Chow Yun-fat’s character is actually pretty well defined with his own peculiarities. He portrays a man who knows what he is doing, and loves doing things in a cool way, but then will turn to rage at some prominent moments that shows that he is not perfect. This is one of the first time I have seen him play such a deep role that I am really impressed with it by the end of the film, especially after the big twist. However, these are all at the expense of other characters, mainly the goons though. The police side has some great characters with backstories that link to the premise in some non-significant ways but still compelling nonetheless. Music wise is pretty okay, though they definitely suit the atmosphere and mood, and is better than some other soundtrack in other HK movies of the same genre.