Bullet Points: 2000 AD
It is hard to believe that it has been 16 years since the whole Y2K craze had everyone wondering what would happen to the world’s computers when the clock struck midnight on New Year’s Eve and we jumped from 1999 to the year 2000.
One movie that capitalized on the fact that the Y2K hysteria was still fresh on everyone’s mind was the Gordon Chan directed, 2000 AD (or as it was originally known Gong yuan 2000 AD). The Hong Kong produced film was released on February 3rd, 2000 to coincide with the Chinese New Year celebration.
- The Reluctant Hero: The movie stars Aaron Kwok as Peter Li. Peter is a young guy who hasn’t quite got it all together just yet. He spends most of his time gaming with his buddy Benny (Daniel Wu) and while he has a job, he’s not wise with his money and his financial situation leaves a lot to be desired. I think we all know a Peter Li, some of you may even be a Peter Li and anytime you can get a character that can connect with the audience you are off to a good start. Peter’s carefree lifestyle is in sharp contrast to that of his older brother Greg’s. Greg Li has got it together. Greg is also a computer programmer, but he works for the Central Intelligence Agency. Greg’s main job with the CIA is to kill computer bugs and keep the United States safe from cyber attacks. Unfortunately for Greg, he becomes a pawn in a game of espionage, a game that eventually gets him killed and forces Peter Li to grow up fast if he wants to avoid the same fate as his brother, clear his brother’s name and prevent a full scale cyber attack that could destroy the world as we know it. I really enjoyed Kwok’s work in 2000 AD, he really exuded the underdog spirit that was essential for the part. The character of Peter Li was nothing like Kwok’s super cop persona in the fantastic China Strike Force, the movie that first introduced me to Kwok. His ability to play vastly different characters is why Kwok is considered one of “The Four Heavenly Kings” in Hong Kong entertainment. The man is a star!
- The Players: If you are going to play a game, whether it is football, basketball or even espionage, you need players and 2000 AD has its share. First up, there’s the lovely Salina (Phyllis Quek), she claims she was Greg’s girlfriend but the police are concerned because they have no records on her, as far as they can tell Salina has no past. Speaking of the cops, there is Officer Ng (Francis Ng) he is leading the Greg Li investigation. He’s doing his best to get to the bottom of things, but he was also the man responsible for Greg’s well being when he was killed during a sniper attack. Then there’s rougue CIA agent Kelvin Wong (Andrew Lin). The audience learns very early on that Kelvin is dirty and that he enjoys wearing western style clothing. There’s also a special agent out of Singapore named Eric Ong who pulls Peter’s butt out of the proverbial fire on more than one occasion. The big problem for Peter is he doesn’t know who he should or shouldn’t trust other than his best friend Benny and his girlfriend Janet.
- The Action: Nobody is going to question the Hong Kong film industry’s ability to produce action and 2000 AD is not an exception to the rule. The first scene that really grabs you by the throat is when Greg is murdered on his way to being transported to the U.S. Embassy. The scene is so raw and gritty and graphic. It is the turning point of the entire film and leads to another pretty awesome scene where instinct and adrenaline kick in and Peter chases the sniper who shot his brother on foot and the two end up getting in a street fight before the sniper manages to escape. There’s also an intense shootout in a parking garage. We get some car chase action and if that’s not enough, there’s even a showdown on the rooftop of a high rise that will make an acrophobiacs feet tingle!
After watching 2000 AD, I may have to see if there’s an Ohio chapter of the Aaron Kwok Fan Club I can join. While I don’t think it approached China Strike Force levels, 2000 AD was still a good piece of business and a movie I would not mind watching again.
Now before I wrap up my final post of 2015, here are few bonus 2000 AD Bullet Points…
- Good Idea: While watching 2000 AD, see if you can spot a classic move that Frank Costanza used while driving with the ladies.
- Bad Idea: If you are looking to make good dinner conversation and you have a past in the world’s oldest profession, you probably shouldn’t mention your past as a prostitute like Salina did at the dinner. It is almost guaranteed to make things uncomfortable.
- One and Done: If you were a fan of Gigi Choi’s work as Janet, Peter’s girlfriend and Benny’s sister, I’m afraid I have some bad news for you… that was Gigi’s one and only acting role.
- Look! Up in the sky! It is VR Man!: James Lye, the guy who played Eric Ong, played a superhero known as VR Man on Singapore television. Lye left show business and now works for Citibank in Singapore.