After nearly two years in production, Andrew Lau and Wong
Jing's Dr. Wesley movie finally hits the screens. For most
Hollywood productions, two years of production time is normal,
but for a Hong Kong flick it's rather unusual. Either it means
they worked really hard on the post-production (i.e. The
Storm Riders), or they simply were taking their time trying
to find the film's voice (i.e. most Wong Kar-Wai movies).
I'm not sure exactly what took
so long with The Wesley's Mysterious File, but it doesn't
seem to be either of the above reasons. Perhaps they simply
didn't know what they were doing, and the result is a mishmash
of poor plotting, atrocious acting and special effects that
would look great on Sony Playstation, but are ill-fitting
to the big screen. Yes, this movie is just not good.
Andy Lau stars as pulp hero Dr. Wesley,
who works for a United Nations extraterrestrial investigation
unit located in San Francisco. Wesley's adventure begins when he
meets Fong (Rosamund Kwan), who's interested in purchasing
a skeleton hand that supposedly belongs to an alien. Also, Wesley runs afoul of Sue (Shu
Qi) and Pak (Roy Cheung), agents for Double-X, the US extraterrestrial
agency. Double-X is searching the Blue Bloods, a race of aliens possessing nifty powers, and Wesley is enlisted to help.
Fong is actually a Blue Blood too.
Her race hails from the "Dark Blue," and are after
the "Blue Blood Bible." She and her brother Tan
(Samuel Pang) were separated when they arrived on Earth 600
years ago. She thinks he's dead, and wants to find the rest
of his skeleton along with the hand she recently acquired.
Wesley vows to help her, but he has his work cut out for him. The government actually has shady plans
for the Blue Bloods, and there are even alien baddies (played
by Mark Cheng and Almen Wong) who show up to cause mayhem.
It'd be great if all of this combined to
make a nifty science fiction flick, but this movie hardly
qualifies. It seems that producer-director Wong Jing thinks
sci-fi consists only of aliens, unintelligible scientific
concepts and lots of people wearing black suits. This movie
provides those things in spades, but it neglects to add everything
else, like story, plot, direction or acting.
Wesley fails on pretty much
every level. The plot develops in bizarre, unseen ways that
probably confused even the script supervisor. The actors
can't give life to what isn't there, and seem to be acting
in a vacuum. Also, the English acting by both Chinese and Caucasian
actors is simply atrocious. That they're spouting pseudo-scientific
crap makes everything even worse. Every scene features umpteen
number of plot devices that only further the inanity. Nothing
follows a logical course, and even the character motivations
All this might be somewhat tolerable
if director Andrew Lau managed to jazz things up with a humor or style. Sadly, neither happens. Lau seems
content to let things run their inane, boring course until
he can throw in a CG special effect to make things look prettier.
Then producer Wong Jing appears onscreen in a smarmy cameo
that serves absolutely no discernible purpose. Someone should
let these guys know: this isn't filmmaking.
Not that we could expect more from
Wong Jing. We can forgive the fact that Hong Kong's tackiest
auteur panders exclusively to audiences, but is this really
the crap that audiences want to see? Do they want to see beloved
popstars (Andy Lau and Rosamund Kwan are a long-missed screen
couple) in nonsensical, uneven pieces of crap? If they do,
then congratulations guys, The Wesley's Mysterious File
is a winner. It also furthers the decline of cinema as
an art form, and reduces it to a series of marketing devices
that would pacify only the most undemanding. It's almost like
Hollywood. (Kozo 2002)