I see movies like So Close and I wonder aloud, "What's wrong with Hollywood?" Why do they bother with sweaty, unshaven male action heroes when there are tons of super-cute Asian chicks with great martial arts moves and fabulous fashion sense? With cute, smart, well-dressed ladies fronting an action film everybody wins!!! So Close is about a group of the aforementioned butt-kicking cute Asian chicks. The Heroic Trio they're not, but they could still beat the crap out of Charlie's Angels.
Lynn and Sue are sisters and high-tech assassins for hire. Lynn is the pretty one who is perpetually walking through a slight breeze. Her trademark skills are the slow-motion stare-down, gun handling, and wearing very high heels. Sue, the younger sister, is strong-willed and sprightly, never taking "no" for an answer. Sue's skills: gadgets, wire work, and pouting. Using World Panorama, a video surveillance system built by their deceased father, Lynn and Sue take out Chairman Chow, the head of an evil technology firm. Brilliant and determined policewoman Hong Yat Hong is assigned to investigate the case and Lynn and Sue watch with delight as Hong deduces "the killer wore four inch heels, the latest style from Paris."
With Hong hot on their trail, Lynn decides to quit the assassin business and pursue a life of love and romance. Younger sister Sue won't hear of it and takes a risky job on her own. When the dust settles, everything has changed.
There are several moments in So Close where the story line is laughably absurd, but were you really watching a Hong Kong action movie for its plot? I know I wasn't. The filmmakers give the audience what they want: action and eye candy (without the girly silliness inherent in the Angels franchise).
Director Corey Yuen worked with the highly artistic French filmmaker Luc Besson and studied at the Chinese Opera Academy (which also boasts graduates Jackie Chan and Sammo Hung). This combination of surreal artistry and action makes for some exciting filmmaking. In one scene: shards of glass fall like snowflakes while Lynn completes a back-flip and holsters two revolvers. The straightforward action scenes are also well-directed and easy to follow, (although, I could have done without the absurd clothes ripping). Even the obligatory car chase scene is somewhat refreshed by the combination of special "satellite graphics" and traditional filming.
With any luck, Hollywood will start taking a cue from movies like So Close, Hero and Crouching Tiger and start making action films which are as exciting to watch as they are, easy on the eyes.
-Megan A. Denny