Extraordinary Mission


Action / Crime

Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Upright 88%
IMDb Rating 6.2 10 573


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Movie Reviews

Reviewed by andrewmakatsaria 10 / 10

The Heroic Bloodshed genre is still alive and kicking

Extraordinary Mission centers on an Undercover cop who attempts to bring down a major crime syndicate operating within the Golden Triangle(basically a narcotics ring between China and Thailand), as he is tested again and again due to the gang's suspicions of him being a cop, he becomes a drug addict himself and has to battle the addiction while also staying true to the badge. To say this is all the film is about would be criminal, no pun intended, as the narrative is filled with a lot of great arcs for nearly all of its characters that are interestingly and logically connected to one another, you feel like there's a reason why characters are the way they are, and the script by Felix Chong allows for some witty dialogue, and clever twists and turns that make sense and never come off forced. The story has a lot in common with Infernal Affairs, having basically the same plot but a grander scale as that masterpiece, but so are most Chinese/Hong Kong action crime dramas. There's plenty of effective drama here too, the lead actor Huan Xuang who plays Lin Kai, does a superb job portraying a police officer, slowly losing his grip on his sanity, as he navigates a dark and treacherous path of drug trafficking, but you can see him also trying desperately to hold on to his better side and remember the side he's on, it's this mixture of internal and external conflict that is not nearly as explored in films of this premise that adds a greater layer to an otherwise redundant plot that is also skillfully executed here. The supporting cast lends the film a lot of background and credibility too, from Kai's captain who first assigned the mission to this poor fella, to Eagle, the leader of the crime syndicate. The bonds formed between the characters are engaging and quite full of depth, as you discover that the Captain and Kai are more alike than their professions suggest and that there's an even greater connection between the three of them and another late-introduced character that really gives the plot and the relationships a great boost of both emotional and narrative resonance, rest assured, the Chong delivers a fascinating little examination of the classic Heroic Bloodshed plot line.

Now the other trait of the Heroic Bloodshed genre, is the extremely ballistic gunfights, meticulously choreographed fight sequences, car chases and beautiful cinematography, that as so popularized by HK legends: John Woo, Ringo Lam and Tsui Hark back in the day. Here Director Alan Mak and his favorite Director of Photography Anthony Pun, deliver a blistering action picture, with numerous set-pieces involving all of the above-mentioned goodies. From daring escapes featuring cool tricks with hiding under police cars, to some really unique ways pistols are gripped, twisted and shot, to the more obvious gunfights where concrete, vegetable carts, cars and literally everything in the environment is destroyed as easily and gorgeously as a child scoring his first Pinata strike. There's this really muscular and coherent way that the film's editor combined the long-takes and shots by Anthony Pun, that is a cross between sleek, wide and kinetic takes of the classic HK action era, to the more tightly-knit combinations of angles and frames, that gives the film a sense of urgency and speed rarely seen nowadays in Militaristic action films. Extraordinary Mission also has one of THE BEST motorcycle chase sequences and possibly one of the coolest "Hanging on top of a moving car" scenes in film, I also really enjoyed the theme rock song that perfectly describes through its lyrics what Kai is going through and here his mind and heart lie, the soundtrack by Kwong Wing Chan and Taq Sakakibara is energetic and fitting, especially during the last 20 minutes where all hell breaks loose. Fortunately though all that hell breaks loose for a reason, a good reason at that too, as the filmmakers ensure that the only way the characters are resolving their grudges held against one-another for over 10 years, is a massive Michael Bay-esque ever-escalating shootout that delivers what fans of the genre expect.

Extraordinary Mission is a return to form for Alan Mak and Felix Chong after a somewhat lackluster Overheard Trilogy and The Silent War, delivering a fast-paced, intriguing and character-rich action thriller that acts both as a tribute to the police's efforts to combat drugs and criminals, and just as an overall entertaining blockbuster with exemplary finale.

Reviewed by kirbylee70-599-526179 9 / 10


Most viewers in the US will think of little more than the Kung Fu Theater films of the past when they think about action films from China. While those films were entertaining they can't begin to compare to the product coming out of China now. Led by director John Woo in the eighties the country has followed his lead by making some of the best action films out there. Consider EXTRAORDINARY MISSION among them.

Lin Kai (Xuan Huang) is an undercover officer with a past providing him a reason for wanting to take on the drug lords. His mother killed herself using the heroin they ship in large quantities now. Lin infiltrates the gang at a slow and steady pace, first ingratiating himself with the local dealer. But he's working his way up the ladder for the top man.

Each step of the way finds Lin in more danger than a secure position. When his immediate boss is killed before his eyes and he is targeted next only his skills allow him to survive and reverse the position. But rather than kill those sent to kill him he instead pledges his allegiance and discusses wanting to take over the old boss' territory.

Moving up in the ranks Lin is eventually brought before the man at the top known as The Eagle (Duan Yihong). It is a journey spent mostly with a bag over his head that transports him from his home location into Thailand and beyond. The Eagle's home base is a city that he runs, complete with a school to take care of children as the factory he's built refines and packages drugs. But being his city it also allows his private army to control the town and his safety.

As greed prevails The Eagle tries to direct the council he heads into taking on the methamphetamine trade. Thinking they already have a lock on heroin and not wanting to step on the toes of the South American cartels they decline. When the most vocal of them is shot and killed, their tone changes.

With information in hand, Lin passes it on to his handler, Li Jianguo (Zu Feng). An incorruptible officer determined to take down the drug lords Li is stunned to learn that the man in charge is The Eagle. Li has a history with The Eagle, an association with his past where he thought the man was dead. When Lin passes the name on to him he recognizes there is more at stake than just drug trafficking.

The last 30-40 minutes of the movie finds Li required to go to the city owned by the Eagle to confront him for past sins. The end result is a fast paced and frenetic exhibition of stunts, pyrotechnics, gunplay, hand to hand combat and more that fill that full 30-40 minute period. It is one of the longest onscreen battles that I can recall seeing put on film. Best of all it works, moving along at such breakneck speed that you don't consider the logistics or unending supply of ammunition to the guns on hand, instead getting caught up in what's transpiring.

The movie is one of the best action films I've seen in some time. It provides enough story to draw you in but before those moments take up too much screen time someone is shooting, being shot of fighting to propel the story forward. It was a fun movie to watch and one that I know I'll revisit.

Director Alan Mak directed the film INFERNAL AFFAIRS which was highly praised. I missed seeing that one but it's now on my personal radar and one I'll be seeking. I can only hope that he follows in the footsteps of Woo and makes his way here to the US to work with English speaking actors and brining his sense of style and action to films here.

Not only does the film provide story and action it looks amazing. The grainy films of those old kung fu flicks is nowhere to be seen here. Instead the crisp, clean images are amazing to behold. You feel as if you've been placed in the jungles here, feeling the sweat drip down your spine from the humidity. That the images can convey that speaks volumes.

Too often US movie fans will bypass foreign films, many like this with no English dialogue and subtitles only. That's sad because if they'd bother to take the chance and watch movies like this they'd be delighted with the end results. So set aside those prejudices about language and make a point of seeking this movie out. If you love action flicks you'll be stunned and have the time of your life. And it might make you decide to expose yourself to

Reviewed by bobcobb-84371 5 / 10

Unconvincing, uninteresting undercover blues

Another user here called this flick 'heroic bloodshed'. I find that qualification a bit misleading. I'm of the opinion (not shared by everyone) that 'heroic bloodshed' should be reserved for a particular wave of Hong Kong action flicks of the late eighties and early nineties. For my taste, EXTRAORDINARY MISSION is too far removed from the meticulously choreographed, highly stylized gun violence that was so typical of those flicks. (The same user review that equates this flick with heroic bloodshed also mentions Bay as a reference point, which is more on the nose, I think.)

If we have to stick with Eastern action flicks for references I would call this a cross between INFERNAL AFFAIRS (written by the same guy) and last year's OPERATION MEKONG. Sadly, this flick borrows the convoluted plot from the first flick and the overall ridiculousness (and not to mention nationalistic attitude) from the second.

I have nothing against ridiculous action flicks, far from it, but EXTRAORDINARY MISSION tries to be a serious undercover cop drama while serving up nothing but clich├ęs. It fails to be believable. Neither was MEKONG, but what that flick at least delivered was a barrage of hard violence and insane action sequences (with the shoot out in a mall half way through as the real high light). To see anything similar in EXTRAORDINARY MISSION you will have to wait until the last 20 minutes or so. The action is spectacular, but for me, it wasn't worth plowing through ninety minutes of unconvincing, uninteresting undercover blues.

If you're an action fan and haven't already seen OPERATION MEKONG I suggest you put this flick aside and watch that one instead.

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