Triple Tap 2010: Daniel Wu, Louis Koo and Li Bingbing in Derek Yee’s Action Movie

Hong Kong fans get exactly one chance to guess to which movie this is a sequel. Of course it’s “Double Tap”! It also shouldn’t be surprising if there should be another sequel in the future called “Quadruple Tap”. Although the movie’s title does come with a certain kind of unintentional laughter the rest of Derek Yee’s thriller is quite respectable as commercial Hong Kong cinema!

Derek Yee belongs to the elite of Hong Kong directors, his “One Night in Mongkok” or “Protegé” are clear proof of that, a few critics, whose opinions are normally very important to me even tore this film to pieces and called it a boring and uninspired attempt of a sequel, though. Apparently those individuals have seen a different movie than I have. Triple Tap (Xa Thu) is no milestone of the genre, surely it even isn’t one of Yee’s best movies. But nonetheless this is still a well written thriller that manages to be captivating at any time.

Still, it has to be admitted that Daniel Wu and Louis Koo can’t reach the level of screen presence Leslie Cheung and Alex Fong had in the prequel. Nevertheless, the two succeed in portraying two convincing personalities of their own and the rivalry between the two is implemented into the film more subtle than in the first part.

Overall this is no simple rehash of the prequel’s original story. But instead we are presented with a more subtle psychological thriller. It might not work out as extraordinarily well as it might have been intended by the screenplay. But concerning the story the movie remains more sophisticated than most thrillers out there. On a positive note it also has to be pointed out that “Triple Tap” doesn’t offer more action than the first part but even less! Instead the movie heads more into the direction of stock trading and scamming which also reminds us of “Overheard”. Adding to that is that the two lead actors already bumped into each other in that movie as well.

The movie’s appeal once again comes with its characters. Unfortunately, they seem a bit more shallow than in the first part. Louis Koo has something mysterious about him, however, which fits very well to his role. He is the always serious businessman who has to handle two women at the same time in his private life.

Apparently, he is about to choose one of them, played by Charlene Choi in a very unspectacular role of a nurse and Li Bingbing as a tough business woman with tenure on Kwan, but first he has quite some different problems to solve. For the audience there is actually no reason to see Louis Koo as the villian but since the first part we know that this can change in an instant and so we are eagerly waiting to get to know more about Kwan and his motives. That is because we already know that not everything is the way it seems at first glance – when everything is still moving smoothly.

As already stated there could have been done some more work on the psychological games between Kwan and Chong. The way it is there has clearly been potential gone unused and especially when Kwan is standing at the brink of madness we get aware of Louis Koo’s acting limits. Then again maybe it’s not fair to compare him to Leslie Cheung. Nevertheless, it’s Daniel Wu who would have deserved some more character elaboration. Therefore, the best scenes he has are with his teacher Miu. The same cop who took down Leslie Cheung in the first part. A nice extra, as well as is Michael Wong’s little cameo appearance.
The story unfolds slowly, in the beginning it almost gets stuck in a discussion about moral and socially fixed justice but the court scene is soon concluded and then other twists emerge that drive the story towards the showdown.

Granted, the ending is somewhat anticlimactic. But would it really have been fitting to work in a shootout by hook or by crook? Considering the movie’s title – maybe. But in my opinion it wasn’t a bad decision. The film’s strength lies somewhere else – in the well written story, revealments given in an appropriately well scattered fashion and most of all Derek Yee’s fine directing that gets the maximum out of the movie.

Louis Koo seems a bit overburdened as the actual protagonist carrying the movie as he simple looks as if his nerves are all on edge – as always. Being one step close to madness or even a step farther looks different, that’s for sure. To be exactly that also would be the movie’s most serious and only true critical flaw. A few nicely inserted shootouts wouldn’t have been bad. But to implement them into the movie with some far-fetched reasoning is something that should be left to Hollywood to do. “Triple Tap” most likely has chosen the wiser option. At the bottom line Derek Yee once again delivers a solid and entertaining thriller.

Movie Summary

Ken Kwan (Louis Koo) works for an investment company that is specialized in the foreign exchange trade market. His determination and perseverance isn’t something he only brings to perfection in his job. He also participates in sport-shooting contests. In one of them he even beats the cop Jerry Chong (Daniel Wu) and also sets a new record. Shortly after the contest a transporter with stocks and bonds is robbed, though. By accident Kwan becomes a witness of the robbing and since all police units have their hands full with a serious car accident only one single cop has to face the robbers. After initial hesitation Kwan decides to save the policeman’s life with his sport gun and takes down the robbers. Only one of them (Chapman To) manages to escape.

Kwan is subsequently arrested and Chong. The lead investigator in the case, is puzzled to meet his rival under these circumstances. The policeman at the scene has been hurt potentially lethal and is now in a coma. Kwan is the only witness and also has to face charges of illegal use of a gun and murder. Even though morally he might have made the right choice. However, for Chong the hunt for the escaped robber continues. But for some unknown reasons that person has it in for Kwan…

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