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The Adventurers 2017

The Adventurers 2017

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Much like the classic 1989 triad movie, Casino Raiders, 2017’s The Adventurers opens with Andy Lau being released from prison after serving his time. However The Adventurers is not a remake of Casino Raiders, nor is it a remake of Ringo Lam’s 1995 production of the same name, which also starred Lau. Instead, director Stephen Fung’s latest production is a re-imagining of John Woo’s Once a Thief. The same scorn that comes with any news of a John Woo title being re-made was largely spared for The Adventurers, most likely due to the fact that for many, Once a Thief was a surprisingly light and breezy effort from the master of heroic bloodshed. Made in-between Bullet in the Head and Hard Boiled, even today many fans dismiss it as an anomaly in Woo’s filmography, despite its many strengths.

With The Adventurers, director Fung doesn’t so much opt for a straight up remake, but rather takes many of those strengths from the original, and uses them to craft a thematically similar tale for a modern audience. Replacing the trio of thieves which consisted of Chow Yun Fat, Leslie Cheung, and Cherie Chung, is Andy Lau, Yo Yang, and Shu Qi. Notably, The Adventurers was the last movie that Lau completed before suffering a serious pelvic injury, when he was thrown off a horse while shooting a commercial in Thailand during January 2017. It also marks the first time for Stephen Fung and Shu Qi to work together since tying the knot in September 2016. Despite being billed as a remake of Once a Thief though, the influence which looms largest over The Adventurers is Tom Cruise’s latter day entries in the Mission: Impossible series, with Lau’s suave thief armed with an array of gadgets and devices to assist him in pulling off a heist.

Indeed for those familiar with Hong Kong cinema, just like Lau spent most of the late 80’s and early 90’s as a triad youth, so in recent years he seems to be constantly cast in roles which see him as a kind of Chinese 007. From Switch, to Mission Milano, and now The Adventurers, his character is one that’s been seen many times before, and brings nothing new to the table in his latest outing. The same could be applied to Shu Qi, who’s sassy thief feels equal parts the identical character she played in 2005’s Seoul Raiders, mixed with Jeon Ji-hyeon’s cat burglar from Korea’s The Thieves. However what can’t be argued is that both Lau and Qi have charisma to spare, and Fung seems to know it, sometimes allowing proceedings to coast along based solely on the fact they’re onscreen together. As a result, Taiwanese actor Yo Yang often seems to fade into the background, as he struggles to bring the same level of screen presence that his older co-stars effortlessly pull off.