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Original Title:
Fai seung dat yin

Hong Kong 1998

Thriller, Drama, Action

Patrick Yau

Simon Yam
Lau Ching-Wan
Yo Yo Mung
Ruby Wong
Hiu Siu-Hung
Lam Suet
Raymond Wong
Keiji Sato

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Expect the Unexpected

Story: Amateur Collins (Lam Suet) and two accomplices try to rob a jeweler's shop. It doesn't work out as planned and so the three flee the scene. Collins hides in an apartment house which is now inspected by the police room by room. As chance would have it, the building is also the hideout of a group of killers who are armed to the teeth. They clear their escape route by shooting anyone in their way which results in several dead policemen.
Collins is arrested and the search for his two friends is put on hold. The new case has a higher priority for headquarters. Ken (Simon Yam) works on the case with his team which his brother Sam (Lau Ching-wan) is also part of. The chase after the criminals proves to be more difficult than expected, however, Ken and his team were able to solve any case until now.
In addition, the teammates also have their individual share of problems. Mandy (Yo Yo Mung) has fallen in love with Ken, yet Ken is too focused on his job and to busy to notice. Although Sam has feelings for Mandy himself he tries to give a helping hand to couple Ken and Mandy. Nevertheless, his job always gets in his way and he also has to focus on what's going on in the streets...

Review: It's really a shame that Patrick Yau ("The Longest Nite") has only made a few movies thus far. His works always impress with great quality and inventiveness. "Expect the Unexpected" is no exception and the odd title of the film gives us a clue what we have to expect of it.
At first glance we have a typical cop-story and a love triangle accompanied by a little bit of subtle drama. However, first impression is deceitful. As time goes by there unfolds a complex story, which delivers lots of twists, offers well-elaborated characters and creates tension and thrill at its best. We also get a good amount of humor and there are even some action scenes to please the audience. Still, what's making this movie so different from many other HK-flicks is its unpredictability. Here, anything might happen anytime and even though we are prepared for it by the movie's title the ending nevertheless will completely catch you off-guard.

"Expect the Unexpected" is presented a lot worse than it actually is. Maybe that's also one of those numerous tricks of the director to surprise the audience with unpredictable high quality. That is because the film appears to be a bit of a low-budget product as the pictures look a bit simple, the story as it is the case with some of the characters at first seem a bit stereotypical and the love stories almost remind us of a soap opera. Yet, as already mentioned, this is just a means to an end to lead us astray, as we have to find out during the course of the movie that everything is different and a lot better than what we might have expected. Only the soundtrack remains inappropriate and annoying until the very end.
The rest of the movie delivers entertainment at its finest. Especially the motivation of some of the characters is always different than what we initially might have thought. This is also apparent during the trivial love stories. In this movie nothing is as its seems and that's what's making "Expect the Unexpected" so special.

Director Patrick Yau gathered the best of their profession for his film. Simon Yam does a good job as the serious and liable teamleader, even if his more human side only shines through on little occassions.
As not to be expected otherwise Lau Ching-wan once again overshadows anyone else on screen. Playing the good-hearted cop, who is one of the best in his job, he still doesn't take things too serious and even sells confiscated cigarettes to his colleagues. His more playful nature can be quite amusing for the viewer and so he is responsible for some very nice comical moments, which don't make him look like your typical funny sidecharacter moron, though.
In general, the tense and serious undertone of the film at times is counterbalanced by a good amount of subtle humor, which is mainly thanks to the police team, that almost looks like a family.

It's easy for the viewer to dive deep into to world of "Expect the Unexpected" as the individual characters are all very likeable and three-dimensional. For example, there is Macy, played by Ruby Wong, who seemingly has fallen in love with her boss, Hui Siu-hung who in addition to his wife also has a mistress and Jimmy, portrayed by Raymond Wong, who has a dozen of girlfriends going at him. Every single one of them has his own little story to tell and it never ends or proves to be the way we might have expected.
The only one who seems to have little to do is Yo Yo Mung, who plays Mandy. She seems to be a part of the movie solely as a kind of plot-device and for the love triangle to work out. Moreover, the villian remains shallow and insignificant, only Lam Suet can shine in his little supporting role.

Streets full of people, constant rain falling from the sky, congested traffic - that is the image Yau paints of a gloomy and grey Hong Kong. As the city is presented very tense we always have the feeling that our heroes are right at the root of crime, ready to rip it out of their beloved city.
Naturally, there are also some car chasing scenes and a few shoot-outs, which are all done very solidly, but don't stand out in any way. Some of the tailing-scenes might cause the pacing to drag a bit at times, but thanks to the well inserted humor we never really care about it.
The action sequences only serve as a small extra, because it is the unpredictable clever story, that makes the film so extraordinary. We get one twist after another until we arrive at a showdown that will knock your socks off. Most likely, you won't have expected in the least what we get to see here. In a way there is a complete u-turn storywise, which is almost impossible to predict, which might also cause some viewers to feel deceived. Still, this was absolutely the intention of the director and for this unyieldingness in his filmmaking he deserves a big thumbs up!

Patrick Yau created a little masterpiece, which perfectly plays with the audience's expectations. However, if you don't actually expect the unexpected at the end, you might feel somewhat cheated.
"Expect the Unexpected" is a very entertaining cop-thriller with a good amount of humor and above all else great characters and an excellent story. Watch it!

(Author: Manfred Selzer)
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