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Original Title:
Saan cheung sau yu chi do sing

Hong Kong 2007


Keung Kwok-Man

Anthony Wong
Francis Ng
Tiffany Tang Yan
Alex Fong
Eric Tsang
Andrew Wu Qingjie
Liu Yang
Liu Yuanyuan
Ma Shu

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Bullet and Brain

Story: Underground boss "The Principal" gets betrayed by his subordinate Winston (Andrew Wu). However, before his inevitable demise "The Principal" manages to give his daughter Rain (Tiffany Tang) the password to his bank account. Even more important, he tells her the adress of two killers, who still owe him a favor. If she is in danger, she would just need to contact Bullet (Francis Ng) and Brain (Anthony Wong).
Soon thereafter, Winston is hot on the trails of Rain, of course, as he needs a big amount of money to seal an important deal with boss Simon Chung (Eric Tsang). Meanwhile, Rain has the unfortunate pleasure of being watched after by rookie cop Fei (Alex Fong), who has just joined the force a few weeks before. Having no other choice, she brings Bullet and Brain into action. Not a second too soon, as things get quite messy around Rain. But apart from having to deal with Winston, Bullet and Brain also have to overcome their own personal demons from the past...

Review: Expectations towards "Bullet and Brain" weren't that high, despite the popular names gracing the credits. The reason: Wong Jing is responsible for the screenplay and the production. If this name doesn't ring a bell then you are very lucky. In fact, it's pretty impossible to watch Hong Kong movies and never to stumble across him sooner or later. He is a warranter for bad entertainment. And this even though his reputation wasn't that bad back in the days of his works "God of Gamblers" or "Tricky Brains". It's simply that Wong has an off-beat taste for cinema, and not really in a positive sense. Therefore, when he hits the right notes - maybe I should say "if" - it's most likely in slapstick comedies.
Anyway, when you have recovered from the awful script and moments that defy any logic, than you might get out some fun of this messed up action film full of unintentional humor. Still, you have to be willing to do so and must want to live with some compromises.

The story really is your standard stuff and brought on screen in such a bumpy fashion that it becomes a pain in the neck. In fast edited pictures we are presented the wrapped up story of Fei becoming Rain's new bodyguard, which Fei simply takes notice of with a seemingly unconcerned shrug that feels awfully artificial. Rain on the other hand is very playful in a way that will soon give you some headache, and which makes the obligative love story between her and Fei even more painful to watch unfold.
Let's jump to some really stupid mistakes in the script. First, there are your gangsters, who are to intercept the letter with which Rain calls the killers for help, and they are doing it by blowing up the mailbox with a rocket launcher. Fei and Rain are standing right next to this scene, but the gangsters leave them be, even though Winston is always slating them for being incompetent and incapable of catching those two. Well, they are. Then, there is Bullet who is fully aware of walking into a trap, yet doesn't care for any precautions. And how are the killers taking care of their opponent Winston? They just move into the house next to him and become neighbors!

As you can see, no one in "Bullet and Brain" acts the way any normal human being would. So, after smacking one's forehead a dozen of times, we are just too exhausted to get worked up about anything anymore, and that's when the movie actually starts to become more fun. After a long and somewhat effective subtle introduction of the two killers we finally get to see Francis Ng and Anthony Wong. There is no need for me introducing these two HK-veterans I think, and they actually succeed in making the movie a bit more worthwhile. The scenes that are supposed to look cool only do so on paper, but it's the moments the two can work freely with the stuff they are offered by the script writer in which they can shine. And that "stuff" being the two or three thoughts that Wong Jing squeezed out of his brain about the characters. Strangely, the two aren't focused at all. Sometimes we are almost forced to believe that the two are on a holiday trip and every now and then remember the fact that they have to protect Rain from getting into Winston's hands.

So, what are Bullet and Brain doing most of their time? They recall their past and mourn about their mistakes, trying to overcome them - of course, they have to do that now of all times. Bullet is doing so by sitting in a bar, and having an eye on a dancer with whom he tries to make friends, since she looks exactly like his former girlfriend who happened the get killed in a shootout. However, this kind of background doesn't serve any real purpose and simply could have been left out. No one would have noticed or cared.
In the supporting roles, there is only Eric Tsang who deserves to be mentioned, yet there is only little for him to do anyway. Of course, there are also lots of actresses who simply serve as eye candy. "Sex sells" always has been one of Wong Jing's mottos, as one pretty long dancing scene in this movie is proof of. At this point, though, "Bullet and Brain" is so unintentionally funny, that we might ask ourselves if it isn't intentional in fact, and the cute supporting actresses also don't seem to be thrown into the film too forced when looked at them in this new light. The male audience appreaciates it, anyway.

At least, there are some action scenes, and oftentimes the movie can also be quite dark in tone, which of course stands in stark contrast to the rest. The action itself is presented in an overstyled fashion, that can become annoying, including superfluous freeze-frames and garnished by cheap CGI special effects of explosions, so that it's not really convincing all the time. Moreover, "Bullet and Brain" tries to work in some revelations, that also don't serve any purpose, and even if funny, only make more logical gaps appear.
However, director Keung Kwok-Man can show us at some points, that he actually has talent, if he would have gotton better material to work with, since his experience as a cinematographer clearly shows towards the end in the church with all the neon crosses, which can be called a nice hommage to other HK-movies.
Bottom line is this: If you are willing to check your brain at the door, then "Bullet and Brain" will be able to entertain you as it is without a doubt a HK-film and at least has Anthony Wong and Francis Ng in the main leads.

(Author: Manfred Selzer)
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