The Viral Factor (2012)
A fun movie but it suffers from way too many plots going on.
The Viral Factor is not your typical action movie; it is layered, complicated and has a heart at the center of the flying bullets and crazy stunts. When I think on it, there are so many side stories going on at various parts of the movie that it becomes very easy to miss the main point of it all.
Action and gun fighting start the movie, but it seemed as if it was merely shot to show off the directing talents of Dante Lam (who eventually loses you with the mosaic pacing). There were a fancy variety of guns and the stunts were truly top notch but in my opinion The Viral Factor was desperately in need of a few more cuts in the editing room.
Spanning over 2 hrs, tone thing that bothered me the most about The Viral Factor is the fact that they had the wrong actor hogging the camera time. Jay Chou may have been the name and draw to the picture but his wooden acting and lack of facial emotion made for him to be an unlikable protagonist who was never missed whenever he was off camera.
The man that will grab your attention however is the sensational Nicholas Tse as Man Yeung. Tse was lovable bad boy, falling from 6 story buildings and shaking it off (this actually happened), getting into gun fights, and all while showing realistic emotion and essentially carrying the drama portion of the film himself. The acting was bad, but Nicholas Tse was not.
The cinematography, wardrobe, and location filming was fresh and beautiful – I especially loved the dream sequences that Jon (Jay Chou) had throughout but the movie fails due to unnecessarily long scenes dragging things out a lot longer than they need to be. 15 minutes of character development was at one point dedicated to a character who was only mentioned once throughout the entire movie and the gunfights were long stand-offs that employed a rather amateurish display of strategy unlike the military-grade face-offs that we’re used to.
The one difficulty in reviewing international movies is the obvious cultural disconnect with a few things but The Viral Factor was very straight-forward and enjoyable to watch. The one shining factor in the entire film is in the moral to the story itself and the way it ended. In fact the end was so beautifully scripted that I wished the movie and bypassed the need for action in order to flesh out the drama elements some more.
The Viral Effect is available subtitled (this is the way I watched it) but surprisingly there are many scenes within It where the actors speak English. If you are a fan of action then you will definitely want to check this out, just be aware that it has its flaws and can feel extremely bloated in certain scenes.