2000 AD (2000)
By: CJ on May 15, 2006  |  Comments  |  Bookmark and Share
Hong Kong Legends (UK). Region 2, PAL. 1.85:1 (16:9 enhanced). Cantonese DD 5.1, English DD 5.1. English, Dutch Subtitles. 104 minutes
The Movie
Director: Gordon Chan
Starring: Aaron Kwok, Phyllis Quek, James Lye, Daniel Wu
Screenplay: Gordon Chan
Music: Shigeru Umebayashi
Country: Hong Kong
AKA: Gongyuan 2000 nian

2000 AD is basically an espionage/computer thriller that centres around a young lad Peter Li, played by Aaron Kwok, whose brother, Greg, is a top computer expert who works for a company that supplies software and programs to the US military. Greg has discovered that someone is stealing their programs. In particular, a program that can shut down banks, hospitals etc with the touch of a button. Greg is framed for the plot and is summarily assassinated by the true criminals before he can give the police any pertinent information about them. Enraged, Peter sets out independently to uncover the truth and bring those responsible to justice.

This is a pretty basic computer thriller played against the backdrop of the world-wide fear of the Y2K bug. Unfortunately it never quite hits the mark. Director Gordon Chan's fluid camerawork gives the film a very slick MTV look but cannot hide the fact that there is a lame script at work here. Chan tries to make the film appear more complex than it really is and ends up making the whole thing rather more muddled and incomprehensible than it was to begin with. The cast do the best they can, with Aaron Kwok turning in an enthusiastic and high-energy performance. Unfortunately, this is not enough to save the film.

Having said all that, it is more than enjoyable to watch and the gunplay sequences are outstanding and will leave you breathless. Chan certainly excels in this area of movie making but, sadly, the film as a whole tends to drag and director Chan never seems to quite hit his stride. The film can never quite decide whether it's a thriller or an actioner – and so kind of wobbles between the two, which makes it a bit of an incomprehensible mess.

This was never going to be cult classic or even a reference film for fans of the HK action genre, but it's not without its good moments. It's also rather outdated now and hasn't weathered the passage of time very well. Nevertheless, the action sequences are finely executed and worth seeing.
This is a stunningly faultless transfer. The colours are natural, the blacks deep and solid, no artifacting and a crisp, sharp image throughout. HKL have done a top job of mastering this movie onto DVD and is easily as good as any new release from the major Hollywood studios.
The audio on this film is tremendous. Presented in DD 5.1 it makes full use of the soundstage. There is plenty of audio movement and not just in the action sequences. The gunplay set pieces are astounding in the audio arena with bullets whizzing round and ricocheting past your ear. Incredibly involving and enhances the film a hundred-fold. Audio tracks don't come much better than this.
Extra Features
As per usual HKL provide the disc with plenty of extras giving the buyer value for money. With fascinating interviews, an informative commentary with director Chan and martial artist and HK cinema fanatic Bey Logan, a music promo and trailer this disc is not short on extras. Fans of this film and HK cinema in general will not be disappointed.
The Verdict
I was in something of a quandary as to what rating to give this disc having not been too impressed with the film itself but utterly knocked out by the quality of the disc. So, it was eventually awarded 4, but that is mainly because of the standard of the presentation than for the film.

This is a marvellous DVD that puts many major releases to shame. A faultless transfer, plenty of extras and nicely packaged. What more could you ask for? A better film perhaps...
Movie Score
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