Like I repeat over and over, its no big secret Hong Kong films have been on a steady decline lately. The Beast Stalker, however, breaks out in a big way with a movie that has all the best elements of a great Hong Kong action film. The Beast Stalker is a long, slow, grimly humorless crime drama of a hot-shot young police captain (Nicholas Tse) who drops out of the force after one of his cases ends in tragedy and then goes rogue to save the kidnapped daughter of a prosecuting attorney.
I walked into the movie with a bit of the plot in mind; just from what I read in HK Magazine, never seen the trailer and only knew that Nicholas Tse was staring in the movie. I was mesmerized right from the start and the movie gripped me all the way through until I got up from my sofa. Actors always say that playing villains is more interesting than playing heroes, and this film proves that they’re likewise more intriguing for audiences. Veteran Nick Cheung delivers a memorable performance that earned him the coveted Best Actor award granted by the Hong Kong Film Critics Society (2009). The film also boasts spectacular action scenes choreographed by legendary stuntman Bruce Law.
First off, I loved the pitch black and gritty tone that Lam set up with this film. The Beast Stalker is so gritty that you just might feel the need to take a bath by the films end. Which, since I love dark crime films is a compliment. Unlike many past movies made in Hong Kong, every dialogue has a purpose and lends to complete the pieces of the story, each sub-plot begins at different points in the movie but closes off nicely at the end.
Even though Beast Stalker doesn’t include anything groundbreaking, it contains just enough thrills and character development to make us care about what happens to all the parties involved. It has been a long time since I was able to give any movie such high praises, let a lone a Hong Kong made movie. I just hope this latest movie is a sign of the caliber of work to come from Hong Kong film makers. Dante Lam’s The Beast Stalker does not break new ground, but it will surely appeal to those of you looking for a solid action thriller with enough style.