New to Blu: Trivisa (2016) - Reviewed

yesasia, hong kong crime thriller
Now on Blu-ray
Produced by the well known and respected director Johnny To comes the new crime thriller Trivisa, available on Blu-ray at YesAsia and apparently instantly from Amazon if streaming from a connected Android device. It takes place in 1997, right before the transfer of sovereignty of Hong Kong back over to China and is about a trio of famous criminals who are reportedly trying to score one large job before things change.

It is a unique take on the Hong Kong crime genre, in that each gangster’s story is written by different screenwriters and filmed by three first time directors. It is a slow burn drama that examines each of these characters lives who are all somewhat past their glory days. One is trying to run a business, one kidnaps and ransoms people, and the other is hiding under secret identities. It really takes the first two acts in order to establish all three and provide them with motivations to seek the one final large-scale crime. For some, they are going to find this to be too slow and boring. But the third act is the ultimate payout and totally delivers, making it all worth it and providing a unique spin on the genre.

All three main actors give very good performances. If you are familiar with Hong Kong cinema, then you should recognize all of them. Richard Jen (Breaking News) plays a man who liked the spectacle of daylight robberies and high-powered firearms, now trying to run a business and constantly dealing with appeasing greedy government officials. Gordon Lam’s (Yip Man) character prefers secrecy and small robberies and is willing to do anything in order to keep his identity secret. Jordan Chan (Yip Man: The Final Fight) is by far the most interesting of the three, as the colorful and flamboyant gangster that lives big and is obsessed with engaging in even grander crimes.

Each director does a superb job and their portions are seamless, you wouldn’t realize that there were actually multiple directors filming this. The story is very much like a modern western. It could be compared in some ways to The Wild Bunch and Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, in that they are aging criminals harkening back to their glory days and seeking that rush and freedom that they once had. Just like how the Wild West eventually fell to modernization, it is the end of an era for Hong Kong and these three individuals.

yesasia, hong kong crime thriller
Hey, this Bud's for you!
While not the best in the canon of Hong Kong crime cinema, it’s worthy of a look.

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-Raul Vantassle