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Year of release: 2004
Based on a popular 1980's TV series called Police Cadet, Moving Targets tells the story of two friends, Kit (Nicholas Tse) and Fit (Edison Chen), who are two of Hong Kong's top young cops. After foiling a robbery attempt, they are promoted to a crack team led by a hard-nosed commander named Cheung (played by the venerable Simon Yam). Cheung is actually Kit's dad, who left him and his mother (Michelle Mai) after shooting her, so of course Kit doesn't exactly like the new arrangement.
Kit puts in for a transfer to the internal affairs department, but decides to participate in one last operation where the team tries to take down a major drug dealer known as Big Bryan (Ken Tong). During the arrest attempt, Fit is seen letting Bryan go, which costs him his job. Now seemingly on opposite sides of the law, Kit and Fit must try and keep their friendship together.
Woah! Stop the presses! Not only is Moving Targets Wong Jing's second film of this year (after the excellent Colour of the Truth) that doesn't have an over-abundance of ultra-violence, bare breasts or foul language, it's a movie that I actually liked Edison Chen in -- and for someone I once considered to be the worst actor in Hong Kong, that's a pretty big deal. Not only that, it marks Canto-pop mega-star Nicholas Tse's first really solid performance in a film since his much-ballyhooed run-in with the law for "perverting public justice" after a traffic accident back in 2002.
Moving Targets was a huge flop in Hong Kong, especially considering the stars involved, which also includes Gillian Chung (one half of the ultra-popular musical duo Twins) who plays the mandatory love interest in the movie. It also has garnered some fairly nasty reviews, as most see Wong Jing as trying to cash in on a classic TV show which featured some of Hong Kong's top talent like Tony Leung Chiu-Wai and Maggie Cheung. I will concede that this is one of Wong Jing's usual attempts to make a quick buck by "updating" (some would say "stealing") a popular film or TV series by taking the basic plot and cramming it with hot young stars. However, even though Moving Targets isn't anything that original, this particular reviewer feels the end result is pretty satisfying.
There's nothing that deep here, but everything works. Edison Chen thankfully drops the gangsta-wannabe shtick which stunk up his earlier roles, and Nic Tse once again shows why he is one of Hong Kong's most promising young actors. The supporting cast also does well. Gillian Chung, even in a very small role, displays much more acting talent than her "twin" Charlene Choi could ever hope to have. Lam Suet (as Fit's stepfather) once again turns in the cowardly/nebbishy but strangely likeable performance which has become his trademark. And, as might be expected, Simon Yam delivers the goods.
The action is also done well under the direction of Lee Tat Chiu. Again, it's nothing mind-blowing, but it is solid stuff, especially the bits with Nic Tse. After seeing his work here, I'm really hyped to check him out in the upcoming Jackie Chan movie New Police Story. Overall, even if you're not normally a fan of Wong Jing's work, I would still recommend Moving Targets. It's not the greatest movie ever made, but it's much better than the dismal box office take would lead you to believe.