Hong Kong Cinema Festival 2011 – City Under Siege Review and Trailer

City Under Siege is a badass name, like something Steven Segal would star in.  It evokes a terrified city, chaos engulfing the people, shit BLOWING UP.  As I finished reading the description for Chun sing gai bei‘s new action flick, I was floored.  A circus troupe is exposed to a toxin left behind from World War II and the side effects impart superhuman powers upon the victims.  These people then use their new found superpowers to wreak all sorts of havoc across the city – all except one – Sunny (Aaron Kwok), the ever-shunned clown of the troupe.  Yes, it’s a pretty basic plot to give some people crazy powers and an excuse to use a lot of wire-work, but in theory, it should make a great movie.  In theory.

Out of the four other people exposed to the WWII toxin, Sunny is somehow not affected in the same way as the rest.  Each of them gain superpowers, but they don’t really gain differentiating powers to set one apart from the other.  They all just fight well, move fast, and defy gravity while fighting.  Their bodies atrophy as a side effect from the toxin and this is where Sunny is antithetic – his body is not withering away and he has the same powers, if not better, as the rest of The Affected (my personal nickname for the “bad guys.”)  Sunny tries to do good with his powers while The Affected are corrupted by their power and use it to instil fear within the denizens of the city.  Good guy, bad guy(s).

A love interest gets introduced about halfway through and this is where the movie capsizes.  What little action there was in the first place takes a back seat when Angel (Qi Shu) commandeers the heart of Sunny.  We are forced to watch goofy interactions between them whilst music from a Disney movie plays in the background.  Not only does Angel win the heart of Sunny, but of the leader of The Affected.  The movies shifts into a love triangle battle between an overly dopey Sunny, his now roided out ex-circus brother, and Angel.

From there, every facet of the movie is just off.  There are a few fights, nothing really blows up, and there are way too many drawn out shots of everyone looking at each other.  I really wanted City Under Siege to be a wonderfully terrible B-movie, but I think by it trying to make a serious relationship out of a ridiculous premise ruined the cheesiness we crave in B-movies.

Showtimes for City Under Siege:

Saturday, September 24th – 1:30pm (SFFS/New People Cinema – 1746 Post Street)

Sunday, September 25th – 9:15pm (SFFS/New People Cinema – 1746 Post Street)

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