A few great action sequences alone do not make for a good movie. But when a film has good action, it becomes easier to dismiss minor flaws within the narrative. The Brink isn’t a film full of flaws so much as one that feels generic and forgettable save one or two carefully constructed action set pieces that impress. The action is good, but never so impressive that it is able to make the movie memorable. It doesn’t help that the simple premise is presented in a convoluted manner and the leading man seems to employ slight variations on a single emotion for the full run-time.
The film begins with an introduction to our protagonist, Police Inspector Tung (Jin Zhang; listed as Max Zhang on the back of the Blu-ray), a man whose explosive temper gets the better of him on the job, resulting in a dead criminal and a period of suspension. Despite being cleared of the death, Tung supports the daughter of his victim, showing us a softer side that rarely comes out the rest of film. Most of the movie is spent hunting down a criminal named Shing (Shawn Yue) who has been smuggling gold with the Triad. When a Triad boss named Blackie (Yasuaki Kurata) betrays Shing, he sets out for revenge on the open sea, with Inspector Tung close on his tail.
This three-way conflict is often narratively messy, though it does provide plenty of opportunities for action sequences, which can be as generic as a fish-market chase scene and as innovative as an underwater brawl. The derivative is never enough to take away from the original qualities in the narrative, but the end result is still one easily forgotten. Even though the action was sufficient, I simply did not care enough about the characters (whether that is the fault of screenwriter or actor is hard to tell), and that made it difficult to care about the narrative.
The Blu-ray release comes with a basic making-of featurette and some trailers. It isn’t much (basically just promotional material), but is still somehow more than I expected for a film like this. Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem as though the action films coming from
Hong Kong have the
same punch that they once did. The Blu-ray presentation of the film (however
forgettable it is) is sufficient, especially in some of the intense water
sequences which make full use of the surround sound. Even the CGI is fairly
seamless; of course none of this matters when the narrative doesn’t have a
lasting effect on the audience.
Entertainment Value: 6/10
Quality of Filmmaking: 5/10
Historical Significance: 2.5/10
Special Features: 2/10