“The Brink” is directed by newcomer director Jonathan Li, and is starring some known faces such as Jin Zhang, Gordon Lam and Shawn Lue among others, and co-starring Ka Tung Lam, Tai-Bo, Janice Man, Yue Wu and Yasuaki Kurata.
The movie introduces us to Sai Gau, played by Jin Zhang, who is a purely dedicated cop chasing this gold trafficking gang that has recently stepped on the coast. This gang owns a big casino boat filled with goods in order to be delivered, but it happens that the ones in charge of this specific operation are suffering from an inner conflict of leadership, mainly caused by Shing, played by Shawn Lue. The methods brought by this decided cop Sai Gau is not well liked by his superiors, especially for his direct boss played by Gordon Lam, who is always lecturing him and blaming him of losing fellow colleagues. But the thing is that, in spite of his boss’s orders, Sau Gai decides to go balls to the wall in action to defeat the bad guys.
The plot is plain and simple, nothing new, especially for an action film lover; but the thing that makes the difference from the others is the way the film is forged. Jonathan Li really directs the hell out of this movie, alongside with his Director of Photography Kenny Tse, who frames really beautiful shots and creates a gorgeous cinematography that is really nice to look at. The action itself, which is one of the most (if not the most) important aspects of “The Brink,” is crystal clear watchable and appreciated. This may seem an obligatory rule, but often on the action genre sometimes the camera seems to be moving and shaking all around, alongside with fast-paced cuts which makes it difficult to follow the action, and it makes you wonder what the hell are you watching. This is not the case in “The Brink.” The action choreography and setpieces are well-framed and composed.
Also, throughout the film, you can see how it rains around the environment where the characters are. It happens very often in the film, especially in its second half. This resource is very effective when it comes to giving life to film images, which makes what is already a very beautiful cinematography, in a really beautiful and captivating one. Also, the music by Chung Chi-wing and Ben Cheung puts you in the mood for action. Reminds you of the classic Ringo Lam’s films like “The Adventurers” with all those rock electrifying guitar sounds.
On the other hand, one of the most characterizable things about action heroes is their presence. And something more than its presence, it’s their personality: Courage and heroism. Sai Gau has both of those qualities; but something that may not sound important enough is the character design: the look and the wardrobe. When you watch at Zhang Jin characterized as Sai Gau, you can clearly see a unique character, differentiating it from other film characters even. Something that a hero must fulfill is the fact of being recognized just at watching at his silhouette. Sai Gau’s blonde hair, brown jacket and red pants are an awesome selection for our hero, and that is something that makes him stand out from the other characters.
All the actors do a very professional job on “The Brink,” being quite good. The principal excellent performances are from Zhang Jin, Wu Yue and Gordon Lam. If something bad can be said about “The Brink,” that may be Shawn Lue’s performance. Although he does very good at his action scenes and stunts, his overall performance seems a bit wooden as if he is always bored. He seems like the common bad boy who doesn’t ever speak and who is always serious without a smile to be shown. It is somehow known that his character is a crazy, soft-spoken person, but even with those facts, a little bit of emotion could be shown.
Overall, “The Brink” is an action film that could easily be an 80’s or 90’s released film, due to the nostalgic and the classic aura inside it, and watching “The Brink” reminds you why you love this kind of films so much. The Brink is an absolutely-stylized action-packed film with interesting characters and really gorgeous cinematography.