Posted: 09/18/2003


The New Option: The Revenge


by Del Harvey

This DVD is available for purchase at

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During a gunfight between two criminals and the SDU, Bonnie is shot dead but Clyde escapes unharmed. Once recovered, he vows revenge for Bonnie’s death. Clyde decides that before he kills Stone, he will kill the woman Stone loves most so that Stone can know the pain of losing his dearest love just like Clyde has. Clyde mistakes the woman in Stone’s home to be his beloved Ann and shoots the unfortunate girl, Kim. He then kidnaps Ann and tells Stone to come and save her, threatening to kill her if he does not.

Handsome but often wooden actor Michael Wong (Beast Cops, The Blood Rules) has made over a dozen in the Option series now, beginning with The Final Option in 1994. That film was a pretty good little action flick which tried to show the personal side of the lives of the men and women of Hong Kong’s elite police team, SDU, which is similar to America’s S.W.A.T. teams. Over the years these films have faltered in varying degrees. The latest entry in the series, The Revenge, takes the series to new lows.

Shooting entirely on video gives The Revenge the look of a student film. Camera angles further that impression, and the sound is at times so poor you can barely hear the actors. The lighting is obviously done by an amateur and there is overuse of a variety of colored filters, which seem intent on altering the mood of a scene, but end up just being annoying. The scenes are either too long or unedited, as though the filmmakers were catering to a single video camera instead of at least two-shot coverage, which is the bare minimum in any film. The result of all of this is a film, which looks amateurish, and without a strong plot, that alone will lose an audience.

As to plot, it appears that the original storyline centered on Stone’s (Michael Wong) ability to maintain a loving relationship with Ann (Suki Kwan). But another young lady is interested in Stone, and Ann only supports the woman’s actions out of boredom or confusion or both. The sad thing is that this story takes precedence over the so-called “revenge” story of characters Bonnie and Clyde. The rest of the plot is thin and vacuous, and the characters little more than one dimensional.

Michael Wong has done some decent work, but if he continues to pump out dreck like The New Option: The Revenge, he is only going to damage his reputation further. Watch at your own risk.

Del Harvey is a writer and the founder of Film Monthly, is a devout Chicago Bears fan, loves Grant Park in any season, and recently taught screenwriting at Columbia College Chicago.

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