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The Adventurers - Movie Poster
Original Title:
Xia Dao Leng Meng

China 2017

Action, Crime

Stephen Fung

Andy Lau
Shu Qi
Zhang Jingchu
Jean Reno
Tony Yo-ning Yang
Eric Tsang
Sha Yi

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The Adventurers

The Adventurers - Film Screenshot 1

Story: Dan Cheung (Andy Lau) is released from prison after having been betrayed by one of his partners five years ago. Detective Pierre (Jean Reno) is instantly hot on his trail, though. In fact, Cheung is always on the make, shakes off Pierre and is off to steal a valuable jewel which is part of a three-piece set with the name "Gaia". His team consists of long-time partner Po Chen (Tony Yang) and new addition Ye (Shu Qi). He brings the jewel to his boss Kong (Eric Tsang) who hands him the check for the retirement he wishes for. However, Cheung wants to do one last job. The last piece of the "Gaia"-Set is in possession of a rich guy who has equipped his castle with the best security system available. But Cheung's team has a solution for this problem as well. Ye is supposed to approach the rich entrepreneur and inspect the castle from within. Meanwhile, detective Pierre asks Cheung's ex-girlfriend Amber Li (Zhang Jingchu) to help him arrest the thief. And she is actually willing to put a stop to her ex-boyfriend's game for good...

Filmroll The Adventurers - Film Screenshot 2 The Adventurers - Film Screenshot 3 Filmroll
The Adventurers - Film Screenshot 4

Review: With a movie like "The Adventurers" you know exactly what you are getting into. An ensemble piece about a group of thieves that travels the world and gives the police the runaround. With a big budget at hand and shot in France and the Czech Republic the pictures manage to deliver everything you could ask for. Furthermore, the action seldomly leaves you any time for a breather. Just as natural when it comes to a movie like this is the fact that you will forget everything you've seen the next day. The high-caliber cast can't change this either. As is often the case the major culprits here are a generic screenplay and characters that barely pique our interest. Moreover, there is this constant feeling that we have just seen all of this before. Those who aren't bothered by this will be passably entertained by "The Adventurers".

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The introduction already gives us an impression what we have to expect of the rest of the movie's running time. Evidently "cleverly" planned heists, breathtaking chasing scenes, fast editing and a score that time and again underlines more than clearly how thrilling everything is supposed to be. Yes, there is is something happening continuously, but what's happening is simply not original. The movie's whole style is just a derivative of the well-known story around a group of thieves who are doing the right thing in the end. Because the villains can't seriously remain villains when the real villain is revealed eventually. Why no one has confidence in the audience being able to deal with more complex drawn characters is also one of those questions that you won't just ask yourself with flicks from China. But here censorship shouldn't be ignored as the major reason.

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The only reason why the movie is called "The Adventurers" is probably because the title "The Thieves" has already been taken by a Korean movie with the same theme. Seriously, who can remember the story details of such flicks anyway? At some point there is a heist which is planned at the drawing board while we see the plan put into action in parallel. That's exactly the reason why we have to yawn during the movie despite the action being high-octane. Ultimately, the 107 minutes running time feel unusually long, too. This probably could also be the fault of the script's lack of direction. As always the only thing standing in the director's center of attention seems to be presenting international locations and to transition from one action scene to the next.

The Adventurers - Film Screenshot 7

Still, director Stephen Fung ("Tai Chi Zero") knows how to showcase creativity on screen as well. For example the first-person camera shot when Pierre is saved from a burning car. Next to that his action scenes are solely composed of fast cuts, though. Movies like this are just idling along. Every now and then the action is loosened up by a little bit of humor. However, it's those less ridiculously written scenes that turn out to be not that bad like the one when Jean Reno's character tells the inscrutable Amber Li, the ex-love interest of the protagonist played by Zhang Jingchu ("The Beast Stalker"), of his father. It's those quieter scenes "The Adventurers" can score with. Who would have thought?

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There isn't a lot to score with in general, though. Andy Lau ("Shock Wave") may be the story's hero, but he doesn't stand in the movie's focus completely. That's good, but also a less smart decision since the picture doesn't have anything to offer really and surely would have benefitted from Lau's charisma. At least, there is Shu Qi ("The Assassin") who brings more color into the film. Her character is more complex than the rest, even if the movie still remains predictable concerning her character, too. So there are only the gadgets used during the heists we can clutch at. They may not be that believable and seem to be taken right out of a sci-fi-movie, but at least the special effects are respectable. But then there are predictable twists and implausible coincidences which are supposed to bring things to a elegant conclusion, but which only once again underscore the flaws of "The Adventurers". An entertaining flick to kill time, but nothing more.

(Author: Manfred Selzer)
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