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Triple Tap
Triple Tap     Triple Tap

(left) Daniel Wu solves crimes, and (right) Chapman To and Louis Ko commit them in Triple Tap.
Chinese: 鎗王之王  
Year: 2010  
Director: Derek Yee Tung-Sing
  Producer: Henry Fong Ping
  Writer: Derek Yee Tung-Sing, Chun Tin-Lam, Lau Ho-Leung
  Action: Chin Kar-Lok

Louis Koo Tin-Lok, Daniel Wu, Charlene Choi Cheuk-Yin, Li Bingbing, Alex Fong Chung-Sun, Chapman To Man-Chat, Lam Suet, Andrew Lin Hoi, Geoffrey Wong Chi-Hung, Michael Wong Mun-Tak

The Skinny: Derek Yee stumbles mightily with Triple Tap. Yee's would-be psychological thriller/actioner is so underwhelming that it's difficult to articulate the disappointment. Seeing the original Double Tap would be a much smarter move.
by Kozo:

As we learned in the same-titled 2000 thriller, a Double Tap is when a shooter fires two shots rapidly at the same spot, thereby increasing the chance of a kill. Logically, a "triple tap" is even deadlier, because that's not just two shots in quick succession, but three. The implication: that in Derek Yee's ten-years-later sequel Triple Tap, the stakes are higher, the danger greater and the sharpshooter much, much deadlier. Triple Tap should be one of those films that expands on its predecessor's premise, making it bigger, badder and more bombastic. Doing so is practically a requirement of sequel moviemaking. Just ask Michael Bay.

Derek Yee doesn't make Triple Tap bigger or more bombastic, though "badder" may apply. Correction, it does apply, because Triple Tap is a snoozer that lacks the solid commercial thrills of director Law Chi-Leung's original. Triple Tap contains thematic similarities to previous Derek Yee films, and possesses two solid leading men in Louis Koo and Daniel Wu. However, Yee can't deliver an entertaining experience, with a plodding story, uninteresting characters, and a noticeable lack of thrills combining to make this one of the most disappointing releases in recent memory. Given Triple Tap's status as one of Hong Kong's bigger summer pictures, audience discontent should be doubled. Hell, let's triple that disappointment.

Louis Koo stars as Ken Kwan, a tanned executive at an investment firm who specializes in buying and selling foreign currencies. He's a tense individual, as can be evidenced by his coiled demeanor and perpetual frown. We first meet Ken when he beats cop Jerry Chong (Daniel Wu) in a shooting competition, showing supreme skill while also employing the super-deadly triple tap to win it all. However, on the drive home, Ken chances into an armed robbery by a contingent of thieves trying to nab some bearer bonds from an armored car and their sweaty carrier (Lam Suet). One thief (Chapman To) gets away, but the others are put down expertly by Ken's competition pistol. Presto, you have a media hero and also a criminal case, because Ken's use of deadly force was not approved by authorities.

In the initial going, Derek Yee seems to be aiming for a combination of his grey-shaded crime thrillers and his detailed, socially-conscious dramas. The exploration of necessary versus society-approved justice is a worthy one, as is the idea that murder could seduce an otherwise normal person into becoming a sociopath. Derek Yee provides solid, if occasionally didactic drama to bring out his themes, with Louis Koo's tortured stiffness and Daniel Wu's genial professionalism fitting their characters. However, the film can't compensate with its female characters. Li Bing-Bing shows presence as Ken's controlling lover/boss, but Charlene Choi is wasted as Ken's suffering girlfriend. Despite being very attractive, none of the actors are able to make their love triangle more than perfunctory. Ken eventually chooses one of the girls, but by the time it happens it's questionable if the audience will care.

But all should be forgiven if the film delivers action plus a homoerotic duel between its stunningly attractive male leads, right? Too bad, the film doesn't do either. The action is confined to only the beginning and the end of the film, with the middle a droning slog that's curiously devoid of tension. Plot twists end up pitting Ken versus Jerry, but their battle pretty much consists of Jerry pursuing while Ken slowly goes bonkers. In an odd choice, Yee shows Ken's slow burn insanity via screen distortions that make it look like part of the screen is ready to burn. The distortions are distracting, but do help because Louis Koo can't convey more than intense unhappiness as the increasingly loopy Ken. Triple Tap is basically Koo's show, and the actor can't summon the range to pull it off. He does intense well, but unhinged madness? Not so much. Daniel Wu fares much better, as he's not burdened with a strong character arc or emotions.

Helping matters is Alex Fong Chung-Sun as Officer Miu, the same guy he played in both Double Tap and One Night in Mongkok. The performance is not a standout one for the perpetually underrated actor, but he brings a charismatic and smart presence to the proceedings. That is, until he starts to act loopy too. At one point, Miu seems to possess Jedi-like precognitive ability not unlike Simon Yam's hilarious "feeling" in Black Ransom - and later he takes part in some bizarre psychic role play to figure out just what Ken is up to. Also getting involved in the inadvertently hilarious role play is Andrew Lin as a SDU sharpshooter who dresses up as his own comatose twin brother in order to annoy Ken into admitting his guilt. Or something. Actually, Ken pretty much admits his guilt to Jerry anyway he just does it in the hypothetical second person like any smart criminal would. The smartest criminal in the film? It's Michael Wong, as a slimy bastard who arranges meetings on his yacht to exchange bearer bonds for cash. Yee's casting of Wong isn't the masterstroke that it was in Overheard but it's a fun surprise in this otherwise leaden crime thriller.

Sadly, if we're reaching so far as to highlight a two-minute Michael Wong performance, then you know that Triple Tap isn't delivering the goods. Given the pedigree of those involved, Triple Tap should be a winner a smart crime thriller with engaging exposition and fully realized characters. At least, that's what one would expect from a Derek Yee film, but Yee curiously botches this one. His characters are uninteresting and the tension is remarkably absent. However, Yee's biggest failure may be that he abandons his own themes, essentially hoodwinking the audience in service of a plot twist. Yee uses a narrative cheat, showing one key scene twice without ever indicating that he was withholding information in the first place. The technique isn't unforgivable, but it feels disingenuous for Derek Yee to employ it, as his work has been remarkably honest in its approach to character, theme and even action. Perhaps Triple Tap is simply not Yee's type of movie. Honestly, it may not be anyone's. (Kozo 2010)

Availability: DVD (Hong Kong)
Region 0 NTSC
Vicol Entertainment Ltd.
16x9 Anamorphic Widescreen
Cantonese and Mandarin Language Tracks
Dolby Digital 5.1 / DTS 5.1
Removable English and Chinese Subtitles
*Also Available on Blu-ray Disc

images courtesy of EEG Copyright 2002-2017 Ross Chen