Cast: Joyce Wenjuan Feng, Baoguo Chen, Xudong Wu, Ganesh Acharya, and Carl Ng
Director: Dante Lam
124 minutes (15) 2016
Widescreen ratio 2.35:1
Review by Rob Marshall
Based upon a true story about a massacre of Chinese fishermen by river pirates, action blockbuster adventure Elite Force: Operation Mekong (aka: Operation Mekong), from director Dante Lam, combines dizzyingly-fast chases, hectic bouts of martial arts, some mind-boggling stunts, and well orchestrated explosive shoot-outs galore. Focusing on the ‘Golden Triangle’ drug trade along the Mekong river, depicted here as a gateway from hell with the bitter irony that such beautifully verdant landscapes are a major source of global miseries, like addiction and violent crime, and Naw Khar is a kingpin who’s Tony Montana-style crazy enough to join in a gun-battle with his gold-plated Kalashnikov.
This is a slickly polished production with high shooting ratio and its brisk pacing, for an international and multi-lingual action thriller, that’s colourful and vivid with high impact visuals, compares favourably with
’s best. The movie’s police heroes
include undercover agents who must appeal to gangsters’ vanity and glossy over-ambition
to insinuate themselves and their spying efforts into an criminal world ruled
by egotistical paranoia. The feature excels when it comes to a smooth
integration of hi-tech gadgets into a traditional narrative of dogged cops and sinister
crooks in the business-as-usual facade of creating and maintaining a monopoly. Hollywood
Somewhat amusingly, even in the busiest moments of all this blistering mayhem, there's a directorial / auteurial concern expressed for the relative safety of babies (endangered in a shopping centre) and dogs (pathfinder across a minefield) put in jeopardy, but its characters are generally closer to eastern stoicism than the more familiar blubbering sentimentality that bedevils many Asian pictures. And yet, for every small victory over chaos and inhumanity, there’s a heavy price to be paid in blood, such as lethal terrorist bombings as reprisals for arrests. The final raid on a jungle camp delivers on a promise of fantastic action with selfless sacrifice and practical heroics in a high-stakes display of helicopters, pyrotechnics and gun-play.