The Brink (2017)

Directed by
Lazy writing but gorgeous visuals
Reviewed by Simon on 2022-08-12

An cop's over-eager takedown of a drug den leads to another cop's death and a spell in prison. When he gets out he returns to the force, but he hasn't softened his hardline attitude towards crime at all and nobody wants to partner with him.

With Max Zhang, Wu Yue and Gordon Lam on screen, Nicky Li choreographing the action and a producer's credit for Soi Cheang I think we might as well say THE BRINK is the fourth SPL film - it fits with the series' themes, and has better action than Paradox (which was officially SPL 3 in Chinese), if perhaps not quite up to the high standards of SPL 2: A Time of Consequences.

The film has striking visuals, a gritty grimy atmosphere and some impressively fast and furious fights - it's just a shame the script feels like it was assembled from scenes cut from other crime films. I'm as down for a hard boiled cop whose desk jockey boss doesn't understand why he won't follow the rules as the next man, but Max Zhang doesn't have the charisma to overcome the lazy writing here. That haircut, too... no, Max, no.

Still, with its gorgeous colours and kinetic action choreography, THE BRINK is the kind of film that Hong Kong doesn't make many of these days. For a first time director it's not a bad effort - though it doesn't appear to have inspired anybody to give Jonathan Li another chance yet, maybe with a better script.