“Triangle” is one of those films where the concept is more promising than the final product. Told in three 30-minute segments — with each one helmed by a different director — the movie stars Simon Yam, Louis Koo and Sun Hong Lei as a trio of drinking buddies who are down on their luck. But when a mysterious man approaches them one night with information about an ancient treasure buried underneath a government building, the three friends attempt to pull off the perfect heist. Unfortunately, just about everything that can go wrong does, and while that certainly makes for an engaging crime thriller, it’s also the film’s biggest problem. There are simply too many people with their hands in the pot, from the three directors (Tsui Hark, Ringo Lam and Johnnie To) to the six writers credited for the script. As such, the story is confusing as hell at first, testing the audience’s patience with very little background info and numerous subplots. By the time Lam’s second third has run its course, however, the pieces are all in place for a tension-packed final act that To masterfully directs with equal parts action, comedy and drama. “Triangle” isn’t one of their finest films, but fans of the directors will no doubt enjoy watching how it evolves in the hands of some of Hong Kong’s greatest filmmakers.
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Hong Kong has one of the most prolific movie industries in the world, but while they have no problem cranking out films by the hundreds, a vast majority of them are rarely ever good. Consider “Protégé” an exception to the rule, because even though it’s just another undercover cop thriller, stars Daniel Wu and Andy Lau help elevate the material beyond the typical fare. Wu stars as Nick, a young cop who, after spending seven years undercover as part of a drug ring, is finally seeing results. When his boss (Lau) names him as the next in line to take over the business, however, Nick is forced to choose between bringing down the empire and running it. A subplot involving a drug-addicted neighbor (Jingchu Zhang) and her deadbeat husband (an underused Louis Koo) would usually feel like dead weight in a movie like this, but director Tung-Shing Yee does a great job of making it feel relevant to the bigger picture. And though there’s not as much action as you’d expect (save for a particularly memorable sequence involving a drug bust), “Protégé” is still one of the best titles that Dragon Dynasty has released. Then again, that’s to be expected from any movie featuring a star like Andy Lau. The veteran actor’s award-winning performance is the best part about “Protégé,” and though it doesn’t hold a candle to some of his other films, it’s worth seeing for that alone.
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