Movie reviews: L Storm, Along With The Gods: The Last 49 Days
L STORM (NC16)
Following the successful Z Storm (2014) and S Storm (2016), director David Lam is back with the third instalment of the Hong Kong crime thriller franchise.
This time, anti-corruption investigator William Luk (Louis Koo) battles enemies both external and internal as he works to clear himself of corruption suspicions cast on him by money laundering prodigy Thomson Yau (Adam Pak), delightful in his role as an irreverent rogue bank manager.
But the plot lacks suspense, and Luk, despite his apparent predicament, fails to gain our sympathy. Franchise staple Lau Po-Keung (Julian Cheung) is also under-utilised.
The result is mediocrity: Triumphs never seem hard-earned and failures are too temporary to cause discomfort.
Perhaps L Storm's most critical mistake is not allowing its female characters greater personality.
Eva Ng (Stephy Tang), a naive model easily manipulated by a witless gang boss, and Tammy Tam (Janelle Sing), a billionaire's mistress who is facilitating the money laundering transaction, are never given lines beyond their perfunctory roles to spark the movie to life. - CLEMENT YONG - 2 Ticks
ALONG WITH THE GODS: THE LAST 49 DAYS (PG13)
The sequel to last year's hit Korean action fantasy Along With The Gods: The Two Worlds does not disappoint.
The three guardians Gang-rim (Ha Jung Woo), Haewonmak (Ju Ji Hoon) and Lee Deok Choon (Kim Hyang Gi) take Kim Soo Hong (Kim Dong Wook), their crucial 49th soul, through the seven trials in order for them to be reincarnated. Along the way, they come face to face with household god Seongju (Ma Dong Seok).
This time, the plot goes deeper as the guardians seek to regain their forgotten memories. They also face plenty of challenges and obstacles along the way, from an epic dinosaur attack to emotional ones that will tug at heartstrings.
Despite the thrill of it all, director Kim Yong Hwa - who returns for this follow-up - injects more humour, with snarky remarks between Soo Hong and Seongju.
Like its predecessor, The Last 49 Days also offers a visual feast, with the infamous Wheel of Indolence and towering fire soldiers.
However, the 141-minute movie, with its complex storyline, can be draggy at times, and the constant scene-changing can be confusing. - ADELINE TAN - 3.5 Ticks