Getting a screening at this year’s Fantasia International Film Festival in Montreal, Jonathan Li’s Martial Arts actioner The Brink comes on the heels of an Autumn 2017 release in the Far East.
Li’s pedigree before his debut as director here makes him an ideal choice. Not only has he been a long-established Assistant Director on a number of Hong Kong action classics, he is also backed up by a veteran of the business in the form of Nicky Li, who worked on a number of Jackie Chan’s blockbuster hits and who has been nominated for a Best Action Choreography award for this.
Illicit gold smuggling amidst a fishing ban in local waters is the backdrop for this thriller, which tells of a rebellious police inspector’s desire to take down a local gangster, Jiang, with his eyes on the water-bound prize. Jiang makes his presence felt early having been betrayed by a greedy boss, by gutting his son and leaving his quarry on the edge of death.
The cop isn’t having the best of times in the world, having been wrongly incarcerated and released without charge, but is determined to make amends (and is also the guardian to the daughter of a man he killed) by going after Jiang. Inevitably, his superiors are none-too-pleased with his methods, and a retiring partner is roped into the mix for one last case.
Before long, though, his actions are creating all manner of complications, but the cop is convinced that his instincts will prevail, and justice will be served to right the wrongs…
While the plot-line and premise is pretty standard for the genre, and you can sense how and when people are going to do their worst, the film is elevated thanks to some well-choreographed action fights and sequences which progress towards a climax that wouldn’t look out of place in The Perfect Storm.
Fans who haven’t really got into Far East cinema yet may get something out of this too, particularly fans of James Bond films such as Licence to Kill and Thunderball, as there is a suspenseful mid-point underwater fight that exudes energy and purpose in a way that the latter movie was often criticised for back in 1965 and beyond.
There are moments where the pace drags, particularly when the cop is wanting to show his more emotional side. This can be the death knell for these types of thrillers, as audiences genuinely want to concentrate on the action, which admittedly this has in abundance from the early minutes.
We’re hoping that Fantasia will help raise The Brink‘s profile and secure it a wide release internationally soon.
THE BRINK / DIRECTOR: JONATHAN LI / SCREENPLAY: PACO WONG / STARRING: KA TUNG LAM, JANICE MAN, CECILLIA SO, TAI-BO / RELEASE DATE: TBC