2000 A.D. [Gongyuan 2000 nian]
by Del Harvey
This DVD is available for purchase at HKFlix.com.
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2000 A.D. is an exciting thriller about all-too-silly computer nerd Aaron Kwok embarking on a path of revenge as he attempts to find out just what and who is behind the murder of his successful brother Greg, who was also a CIA agent. What makes this film work best is Kwok’s performance and believability. We shrug off his characterization as the geeky, spend-thrift computer company owner who is in debt up to his eyeballs and is constantly bailed out by older brother Greg. When his brother is dramatically killed right before his very eyes, the impact is translated to us quite graphically, as we see it happen from both the sniper’s point of view and Peter’s. His next actions are really reactions to the events which he has witnessed and the deep-felt need to avenge his brother’s death. All those years of game-playing with best friend Benny will pay off in spades as he launches himself headlong into danger without any self-concern. But the transition is handled so well by actor and director that we accept it easily, and thus accept the rest of the story. We are sucked into the action before we know what has happened, and can appreciate Peter’s need for retribution all that much more.
Kwok’s Peter is aided by best friend Benny (Daniel Wu) as he follows a mysterious trail of secret plans, computer code and viruses across the Far East in order to stop a shadowy organization from destroying South East Asia’s banking systems in order to become rich. Of particular note among the numerous secondary characters are Ken Lo (former Jackie Chan bodyguard and a villain in Drunken Master 2) as the rapid-fire sniper with a pretty nasty rifle that seriously blows hell out of cars and people. His character is firmly established in what is one of the best ambush scenes on film as he takes out a police car with so much icy cool and control that he clearly upstages the film’s main villain.
Starring Aaron Kwok (The Storm Riders, China Strike Force) as Peter, Phyllis Quek (The Makeover, Born Wild) as Salina, his brother’s fiancée, Daniel Wu (Devil Face/Angel Heart, Born Wild, Gen-X Cops) as Peter’s best friend Benny, Ray Lui (To Be Number 1, The Suspect) as the brother, and Francis Ng (Hong Kong Triad, Bullets Over Summer, Gen-X Cops) as police Captain Ronald Ng.
Directed by veteran actioner Gordon Chan (Fist of Legend, The Final Option), this gripping, edge-of-your-seat thriller was co-written by Chan and Stu Zicherman, who is scripting the upcoming Elektra film starring Jennifer Garner. 2000 A.D. is a nicely scripted action film that sucks you in from the opening five minutes and just builds to ever more increasing suspense against impossible odds until the quite satisfying climax.
Full of top-notch special effects and the highest production values, and with a relatively new cast supported by several recognizable Hong Kong actors, 2000 A.D. delivers as one of the best suspense films of the past few years. This is a film that everyone can enjoy.
Del Harvey is a writer and the founder of FM, a devout Chicago Bears fan, loves Grant Park in any season, and recently taught screenwriting at Columbia College Chicago.
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