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Movie Reviews

Unbeatable – A Hong Kong-Chinese film Review

They played Simon and Garfunkel’s The Sound of Silence during the training montages. You’d think they’d play some upbeat song during training montage, something like the Rocky movies, y’know? But no.

That’s why I’m listening to The Sound of Silence while I’m dictating this review to the Friend. I’ve relatively nimble paws for a rat, but jumping up and down on a keyboard gets tiring. Besides, the Friend has banned me from going near his Macbook after the Incident.

I don’t blame him. But a rat’s gotta do what a rat’s gotta do.

Oh yeah before I forget. My name’s Bentley and I’m a pet rat. A hooded rat to be exact. A grey coloured hooded rat. The Friend told me that I was snake food until he rescued me and my litter brother from our doom. Also, I weight about – huh?

OK, the Friend is yelling at me to get to the point. I think his fingers are getting tired. I talk fast.

Chinese Theatres License  Some rights reserved by NightRStar

Chinese Theatres License
Some rights reserved by NightRStar

So I saw this Hong Kong-Chinese film called Unbeatable. Actually, the Friend went to watch, I just hitched a ride. He wasn’t very happy when I popped out of his bag. After warning me about making any noise (the Friend’s note: and spot peeing), I settled down on his shoulder and waited for the movie. This is gonna be one of the best times with my best Friend.

I think he flipped me off.

So, okay, Unbeatable is a film about two men involved in a MMA competition. Y’know the movies Rocky and Real Steel? Yeah, it’s like that! Nick Cheung plays a down-and-out two-time boxing champion who runs away from Hong Kong to Macau because of loan sharks. Eddie Pang plays a former rich man’s son because papa lost billions in the real estate crash. Somehow he finds his newly alcoholic father in Macau and has the brilliant idea to take part in the Golden Rumble competition to win the prize money.

And yep, the MMA competition’s in Macau.

That’s the gist of the story.

So now, both characters cross paths in a boxing gym. Pang begs Cheung to teach him boxing cause he only has one year of training in Taekwondo and the MMA competition is two months away. So yeah he’s screwed and he knows it. Cheung agrees as long as he gets some of the prize money, cause y’know, loan sharks and all.

And then we get the training montages with the Sound of Silence playing in the background.

I asked why they chose the Sound of Silence. The Friend told me to shut the f^%& up (the Friend’s note: I just told him not to disturb the other patrons).
Reminds me of that time Will Ferrell got shot with a tranquilizer in Old School.

Anyway there was a training scene with Pang’s ripped body on the big screen. A woman in the theatre was so excited that she shouted “WAH HIS BOOOODDDYYYY”. She must’ve had an orgasm on the spot when it was Cheung’s turn to go shirtless. The training montages were quite cool because some of it was different, like Pang flipping big tires, lifting big, metal chains, and dragging a wheelbarrow full of concrete blocks.

I’m just wondering where Pang get the money to eat all the protein? I don’t think he earns much as a construction worker in Macau. And papa’s broke, remember?

As for the fight scenes, they were okay. I mean it was exciting and all, but there is a heavy reliance on close-up shots, and fast cuts, but nothing as bad as a Michael Bay’s summer blockbuster. You can still tell who’s beating the shit out of whom. I think some of the moves would be illegal in real-life though. But this reel-life, hahaha get it?

The Friend told me to shut the fuck up again.

Okay, so what makes Unbeatable different from the usual fighting action movies is that it’s more about the dramatic development of the characters than about the fight scenes. Most of the cast gave great performances and there were great on-screen chemistry. That, and the comedic moments by the comedy veteran Cheung make it more than just another fighting movie.

But what I liked most about the relationship between Cheung and Pang is that no one is the Master or the Student. The roles are fluid because both are Master and Student at different points in their life. Both learn about finding their calling in life instead of just wandering around aimlessly. Both learn about persistence, determination and the will to achieve their dreams. At the end of the film, Cheung and Pang have a friendly match, not as master or student, but as equals.

And if you’re wondering if there’s a romantic subplot, there isn’t. I mean, there is, but it’s not a big part of the movie. It’s more of a character development subplot for Cheung, I think. But I still don’t understand why there was a Big Bad Wolf subplot and as a prey animal, I was terrified by it.

Overall, Unbeatable is an enjoyable action flick that delivers exactly what the audience wants and more. It’s quite a well-developed and well-told movie despite its two hours runtime. This film is a recommendation for fans of Nicky Cheung, MMA, and people who like to ogle at hard-bodies on the big screen.

Rating 3.5 whiskers out of 5 on my chinny chin chin

By Zareth Lim, Singapore Correspondent, His Master’s Review


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