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Bounty Hunters
Bounty Hunters

Wallace Chung and Lee Min-Ho scrounge up some bounties in Bounty Hunters.
Chinese: 賞金獵人  
Year: 2016
Director: Shinterra

Raymond Wong Bak-Ming


Edmond Wong, Kim Kyu-Won, Shinterra


Lee Min-Ho, Wallace Chung, Tiffany Tang Yan, Karena Ng, Louis Fan Siu-Wong, Jones Xu, Kim Yu-Mi

  The Skinny: High-concept action comedy from a Hong Kong-China-Korea coalition of filmmakers is a vapid and annoying mess. Completely illogical and consistently crappy, but Bounty Hunters should appeal to those who like pretty people. If nothing else, the locations are nice.
by Kozo:
Korean film meets Chinese film and the result is a cinematic fifty-car pile-up of tragedy and despair. Okay, maybe action-comedy Bounty Hunters is not as bad as that, but it's certainly far from good. Produced by Hong Kong's Raymond Wong, Bounty Hunters is directed by Korean filmmaker Shinterra (a.k.a. Shin Tae-Ra), whose filmography of high-concept comedies is an obvious precursor to this vapid fluff. Lee San (Lee Min-Ho of Gangnam Blues) and Wong Yo (Wallace Chung) are former Interpol agents who now work as slacker bodyguards. After botching their latest assignment, the two head to Korea to protect an informant who's got info on a terrorist ring. However, like the crappy bodyguards they are, San and Yo lose the informant to the terrorists, and then run afoul of some bounty hunters led by heiress Cat (Tiffany Tang). Along with hacker Swan (Karena Ng) and manservant Bobo (Fan Siu-Wong), Cat is intent on catching the terrorists who've taken the informant, not to mention bombed a few hotels in Asia.

Unfortunately, the terrorists have framed San, Yo, Cat, Swan and Bobo for their latest bombing, so the five must team up to catch the terrorists and clear their names. One group they never run into is actual law enforcement, which is odd since terrorist bombings usually put government types on alert. But not in the fashionable fantasy land of Bounty Hunters! In this four-color cinema universe our heroes wear swank fashion and can travel anywhere and do anything without worrying about a siren. I'd rail on this plot hole harder but it's frankly one of the smaller problems in Bounty Hunters. The bigger problems are legion, starting with the comedy, which is frequently labored or lousy though Wallace Chung should be given credit because he's the butt of many jokes and isn't as annoying as he could have been. Still, the constant pauses for audience laughs test patience. Had Shinterra inserted a laugh track into his sound mix it might have made sense. It certainly couldn't have made the film any worse.

The story is inane; plot holes of the narrative, geographic and temporal kind crop up consistently. Acting is not-so-hot, especially from lead actress Tiffany Tang, who's supposed to be intense and professional but instead comes off as frigid. Her chemistry with Lee Min-Ho is nonexistent, as is any development of their characters' romance. The two share an instant attraction but when they're finally alone together it's like watching two plastic action figures try to communicate. Maybe the actors are better in other languages (the film's Hong Kong release is Cantonese-dubbed) but I'll go out on a limb and say that I doubt it. The villain also stinks: Tommy (Jeremy Jones Xu) is an orange-haired, guyliner-wearing trust fund kid who's apparently watched The Dark Knight too many times. Tommy has bitter daddy issues and grand anarchic plans but is constantly undone by his habit of waiting for the good guys to show up to thwart his schemes. He also monologues. Scooby Doo had better bad guys than this.

Bounty Hunters has some superficial things going for it. The budget is decent and the film's locations Tokyo, Incheon, Hong Kong, Bangkok, Jeju Island are great. The action choreography is generally fine if you ignore the shaky cam and consider that the stars are not martial artists. Still, it's disappointing that the film features Fan Siu-Wong, teases his ability to fight and then doesn't deliver. Wong's character is actually one of the more promising ones, but the few decent jokes he's given are outnumbered by a zillion bad ones. All told, Bounty Hunters stinks but at least it raises questions like: "Why the hell did they cast Fan Siu-Wong?", "Is Tiffany Tang this bad in her hit TV dramas?" and "How does Jones Jeremy Izz Tsui Xu keep getting work?" If you see Bounty Hunters it helps if you care about these things. Otherwise, only catch it if you're a Lee Min-Ho super fan or a masochistic movie critic. If you're the latter I'll see you at Bounty Hunters 2. (Kozo, 10/2016)

Availability: DVD (Hong Kong)
Region 3 NTSC
Kam & Ronson Enterprises Co. Ltd.
2-DVD Special Edition
16x9 Anamorphic Widescreen
Cantonese and Mandarin Language Tracks
Dolby Digital EX / DTS 6.1
Removable English and Chinese Subtitles
*Also Available on Blu-ray Disc
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