Hong Kong Cinema

Purple Storm

Purple Storm
  • Made: 1999
  • Format: DVD (R2)
  • Release Date: 21/05/01
  • Company: Hong Kong Legends
  • Length: 108
  • Picture: Widescreen
  • Language: Dubbed or Subtitles
  • Extras: Biography, Trailers, Making Of, Audio Commentary by Bey Logan
  • Classification: 15


Cast: Daniel Wu, Joan Chen, Kwok-Leung Gan, Chow Wah-Kin, Josie Ho

Producer: Jackie Chan


Purple Storm took HK $10,112,000 during its seven week run in the latter part of 1999. This will be looked upon by many as one of Daniel Wu's early classics and one of Chow Wah-Kin's best roles outside his support work in late 90's Jackie movies (e.g. Rumble, Mr Nice Guy, Gorgeous).

If I had to use one word to sum up this film it would be: 'Slick'

To firstly consider the plot, Todd (Daniel Wu) is an international terrorist who is attempting to cause a massive 'cleansing' of the population in Cambodia so the Khmer Rouge may be reestablished using biological weapons to create a 'Purple Storm'. However, (without spoiling the plot!!) he loses his memory and gets caught by the Hong Kong Anti-Terrorist Squad. They try to reconstruct his memory, using a Therapist (Joan Chen), to make him think he was an undercover cop. The Counter Terrorist Team Leader (Chow Wah-Kin) lets him return to infiltrate the terrorist group during the process of which, he starts to have flash backs of his time in Cambodia and riding a bike with his adopted Dad, Soong (Kwok-Leung Gan) who also happens to be the leader of the terrorist group.



Chow Wah-Kin looks reflective


Caught in rush hour traffic


The next half hour involves Daniel Wu trying to deal with his muddled identity and attempts to reconstruct his tattered past. This may sound like something out of 'Freud meets Springer' but it actually draws an admirable performance from a 'tormented' Daniel Wu. He is continually torn between the good guys and the bad guys, then he realises he is a bad guy, and then becomes a good guy just at the end, and fortunately saves civilisation...



SWAT Team moving in

The other two things that spring to mind is that the Hong Kong Counter Terrorist group gives exclusive membership to good looking people, not a duffer in sight! Although it is only a minor side-issue, the special effects at the end are pretty weak, which is a small shame as everything else clearly matches Hollywood in terms of production values.

Unlike its predecessors in the bloody and excessive world of Hong Kong action cinema. This film differs from many in that it adopts an attitude of quality over quantity for its action. When the action comes in this film it is electric and tense rather than chaotic and graphic. Both Wu and Chow Wah-Kin give great steely performances and the Bad Guy is played with a genuine conviction for Cambodian cleansing by Kwok-Leung Gan. There are a few plot issues here and there, but on the whole it is a remarkably strong plot that more than capably supports the slick, if infrequent action.Teddy Chan (and Jackie) must be commended for not falling into the 'Not Very Good Heroic Bloodshed' category and the imagination and potentially genre defining style of this movie is highly recommended.

The Disc is another superb offering from HKL with the high presentation value and the full compliment of extras.



Very slick action sequences

Mediocre end special effects