I managed to catch this at the preview screening last week. As the title (竊聽風雲) suggests, this movie revolves around high tech surveillance and monitoring, just like the previous two instalments. But despite the same mechanics, the premise of all three movies are worlds apart. I thought it’s quite novel that the film makers would everyone off, then reset the next movie with the same actors but with a different plot. So you don’t need to watch any of the previous movies to enjoy the next one.
The plot for this third instalment revolves around purchasing land in New Territories, Hong Kong. While it certainly rings a bell with locals, it might be a little too esoteric for audiences who are not too familiar with the history behind land ownership in that part of the world. After watching the previous two instalments, the narrative is now a little too predictable with frankly, unimaginative
The story felt like it had fillers thrown in to make up for what the movie lacked – a real sense of purpose. Is it about greed and the downfall of being greedy? The first two movies covered that. Is it about the dangers and perils of surveillance? Done that in the first two. Is it about friendship and betrayal? Guess what, we’ve done that in the first two. Instead, we are introduced to half-developed characters and half-baked side plots which further convolutes the plot.
That said, I have to give credit for the direction and cinematography, and the actors were mostly convincing in movie. I’m beginning to feel like Louis Koo (古天樂）is the Nicholas Cage of Hong Kong cinema for having the ability to play every role in his career with the same brooding frown. The standout for me was Zhou Xun (周迅) who is appearing in this franchise for the first time. Despite having a relatively minor role, she steals every scene she’s in with a subtle yet assertive elegance only someone with such talent can deliver. I think she’s one of contemporary Chinese cinema’s best actress and it’s a missed opportunity to relegate her to an inconsequential supporting character.
Overall, it’s not a bad movie by any standards but it felt a little too formulaic, repetitive and predictable. Watchable, but you might leave feeling a little underwhelmed when the credits roll.