Review: So Close (2002)


Starring Shu Qui, Karen Mok, Zhao Wei, Yasuaki Kurata, Derek Wan

Fight Choreography by Corey Yuen

Directed by Corey Yuen

Corey Yuen, fight choreographer legend, who has directed films like No Retreat, No Surrender, and Above the Law (the Yuen Biao film) jumps again behind the camera to team up Hong Kong beauties Shu Qui, Karen Mok and Zhao Wei in a Chinese action film in the vein of Charlie’s Angels.

The film revolves around sisters Lin (Qui) and Quan (Wei) who are having issues within their given professions…as hired killers. Their jobs are already complicated as they don’t just kill anyone; they are looking for the men who killed their parents, and their father who had created a computer program that would have aided the police greatly. Lin does the killing while younger sister Quan is the computer wiz who holds down the fort at home and runs their complex satellite mainframe computer, but yearns to get out of her sisters’ shadow and take assassination jobs of her own. The only thing wrong with this? Quan’s never killed anyone. Things get complicated when Lin meets with an old flame and decides to get out of the business, while at the same time a super-smart police woman Kong Yay Hung (Mok) starts to put everything together and attempts to bring both women to justice, and the brother of Lin’s most recent assassination victims Chow Nunn, a drug and gun runner who fronted a corporation for his crimes, plans to take his revenge on Lin and her sister. All parties slam into each other, and tragedy strikes, and a final confrontation within the corporation itself between the women and Chow Nunn and his army of thugs…and one Japanese sword master…

This is a really entertaining film, very much in the vein of Charlie’s Angels, and while not so “out there” Yuen makes sure you know just how beautiful all three main leads are. The story is entertaining as both Lin and Quan have a good backstory for why they do what they do, and Zhao Wei is pitch perfect as the immature, yet capable Quan. Shu Qi, not known for action films, does a capable job as a tough-as-nails character, and Karen Mok is great in her fight scenes. Yasuaki Kurata doesn’t really make his presence truly felt until the end of the film, as he proves to be the real villain of the film, and as always is great. There is a turning point in the film that changes the fantastical tone of the film, but it isn’t as jarring as it could be as things build to this moment, but it was a surprise and doesn’t take anything away from the fun to be had.

Corey Yuen choreographs the fights as he always has, and does a good job, especially for those who didn’t know martial arts. He made them look as if they did (unlike in his American output) and he stages the fights well. Hell, he even hearkens back to his best ‘lethal ladies’ film Yes, Madam, as Karen Mok pulls off a move that came directly from that film, and if you know the scene you’ll smile when it happens. The finale is great display of gun action versus the guards. The final fight with Yasuaki Kurata is excellent, and Zhao Wei really shines here, and holds her own versus the legendary Kurata. She looks fantastic, and Karen Mok does well in this fight too, the most impressive of a film full of great set pieces.

Kiai-Kick’s Grade: 8

A film far more fun than Charlie’s Angels, an explosive gun and kung-fu fight fest wrapped around a Mission Impossible-like story with a great villain in Yasuaki Kurata. 

NEXT: All samurais fear the Geisha Assassin!

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3 Responses to “Review: So Close (2002)”

  1. I also enjoyed this film Michael, especially Corey Yuen’s choreography.

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  2. Probably one of the glossiest martial arts/action movies out there. I have a penchant for fights within elevators, and this movie has a doozy when Karen Mok finds herself in a lift with two crooks (liked the way we see her mind working). The car chase sequence is pretty thrilling too.

    Mike, looking forward to see what you make of Geisha Assassin – I wasn’t impressed with it at first but it really grew on me as it went on.

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  3. Yeah I agree. As far as fighting-game-movie-adaptations go, I’d rank them like this:Street Fighter < DOA < Mortal KombatSF would have been hiehgr if Jean-Claude Van Damme weren't involved

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